As a new report from Macmillan warns that cancer is costing patients hundreds of pounds a month in the UK, experts are advising people to consider income protection insurance to safeguard their salary against illness or injury.
Cancer costs patients hundreds of pounds a month
The University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre carried out a postal survey on 1,600 cancer patients on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support to find out how their illness had affected their finances.
They found that 83 per cent spent an average of £270 a month on expenses relating to cancer. 71 per cent said it was the cost of travel to and from hospital that affected them most, with just over a third spending additional money on parking charges.
In addition, respondents said that their fuel bills rose from more time at home.
And despite cancer patients being exempt from prescription charges in the UK, one in five (22 per cent) said that medicine costs were a factor.
Whilst fewer patients lose their income- around a third- the average loss for these people was around £830 a month. People who were working and those who had children were more likely to fall into this group.
The charity wants the government, businesses and the NHS to offer more financial support to people with cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciaran Devane said: "This new research shows that cancer comes with a whopping price tag for many patients.
"Combined with the current recession and with welfare cuts, the cost of the disease is hitting the most vulnerable hardest."
"With the number of people living with cancer in the UK doubling from two to four million by 2030, this is a growing problem which cannot be ignored."
Whilst patients who need long term financial support are eligible to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from the government, the amount of money paid out is small.
Richard Theo, of ActiveQuote.com, said: “Income protection will pay you a fixed sum of money if you are unable to work because of long term illness or incapacity, and you could cover up to 70 per cent of your income.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We recently launched a new initiative to improve quality of life for the 1.8 million people living with and surviving cancer, including a support checklist for doctors and nurses to make.”
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