Charity tells of supporting nurses struggling financially after cancer diagnosis

More than one in 10 people who sought support from a nurse hardship charity in the past year are struggling financially after a cancer diagnosis.

More than one in 10 people who sought support from a nurse hardship charity in the past year are struggling financially after a cancer diagnosis.

Michelle turned to the Cavell Nurses' Trust 
for support over the past year.

The Cavell Nurses' Trust, which offers financial support to nurses facing financial hardship often due to illness, disability or domestic abuse, said 14% of the people it has helped in the past year are facing money problems after being diagnosed with cancer.

It comes as a new report from Macmillan Cancer Support revealed thousands of middle-age people with cancer are forced to borrow money from their parents to cover their living costs during treatment.

Making ends meet

More than 30,000 people with cancer in their 40s and 50s have taken out loans from family and about 2,000 moved back in with their parents or in-laws to make ends meet, according to the charity's No Small Change report.

The Macmillan report found that expenses such as hospital transport and loss of earnings typically amount to around £570 a month.

Cavell Nurses' Trust welfare services manager Alison Parsons said: 'It’s trying to find extra money for new clothing due to weight-loss from cancer treatment, higher heating bills as patients feel the cold more and spend more time at home and increased travel costs for attending regular hospital consultations.

'It all adds up and is compounded by nurses reducing their hours or stopping work altogether if they are too ill to work.'


Among the nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who have turned to the Cavell Nurses’ Trust for help in the past year is Michelle, who was unable to work after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

'It felt like I was in a battle with the cancer, fighting with it, I was so scared of both the treatment and the side effects.' she said.

Financial risk

Macmillan estimates that around 700,000 people with cancer of all ages may be at risk financially because they have no savings to fall back on.

Chief executive Lynda Thomas said: 'It is heart-breaking that people with cancer might have to go cap-in-hand to their parents to ask for money simply to keep a roof over their head or put food on the table.

'The cost of cancer is robbing people of their independence and leaving them embarrassed, ashamed and dependent.'

'Must do more'

She called on the government, healthcare professionals, banks and insurance companies to do more to support people with the disease.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: 'Cancer can affect all areas of a person's life and we have worked closely with cancer charities to ensure patients get all the support they need, including through our benefits system.

'Last year we announced that by 2020 everyone diagnosed with cancer in England will benefit from an individually tailored recovery package developed by Macmillan Cancer Support, which helps ensure patients get rehabilitation, work and financial support services.'

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