North West cancer patients ‘can’t afford life’ under current cost-of-living crisis, warns charity

A leading cancer support charity has warned the cost-of-living crisis is having a “devastating” impact on patients – with a third wearing coats inside to save money.

Macmillan Cancer Support say people living with cancer are being forced to make difficult decisions that are putting their health at risk. 

New data from the charity revealed almost a third of cancer patients in the North West feel as if they ‘can’t afford life at the moment’.

Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Macmillan National Clinical Advisor for Primary Care, said: “At a time when people living with cancer need their health to be their priority, it’s devastating to hear the toll the cost of living crisis is taking on the wellbeing of so many people.  

“For people living with cancer, taking care of themselves can be an essential part of their recovery.”

Yet, according to Macmillan’s research, one in four cancer patients in the North West have been buying less food and cooking fewer hot meals in an effort to save money.

And in light of rising energy prices, 33% of people with cancer in the area have resorted to wearing coats indoors – and 14% of people have been washing their clothes and bedding less to try reduce costs.

Dr Cunliffe said: “Nutrition, warmth and hygiene are all vital in keeping people with cancer well enough for treatment and aiding their recovery, and to hear that people are being forced to deprive themselves of these essentials is hugely concerning.”

In addition to this, a cancer diagnosis can often already come with a significant financial hit, and often unexpected costs. For example, higher energy bills during treatment, travel costs of getting to and from appointments, as well as possible drop in income if a person becomes less able to work.

According to Macmillan, 87% of people with cancer in the North West experience some kind of financial impact from their diagnosis, an estimated £865 a month on top of their usual expenditure.

In response to the cost-of-living crisis, Macmillan has pledged an extra £3.5m in funding into its Financial Grants scheme, to help meet the increasing need. 

Christopher Jones, Energy Team Leader on the Support Line at Macmillian Cancer Support, said: “Every day we are hearing from more and more people living with cancer who are feeling the enormous pressure of the rising cost of living, on top of the extra costs a diagnosis can already bring. We used to hear about people choosing between eating and heating, but now we are hearing from people who can’t afford either.

“People with cancer need to live, not just survive and we are urging anyone worried about money to access the support available from Macmillan. We are here to make sure people get the help they need and deserve.”

The charity is urging people worried about money to make use of the support available from Macmillan. 

For details about financial support available at, call the free Support Line on 0808 808 0000, or access peer-to-peer support via Macmillan’s Online Community.

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