Cancer's Hidden Price Tag - Macmillan campaign

Cancer's Hidden Price Tag - Macmillan campaign

"Four in five cancer patients are hit with an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness. The gruelling physical and emotional impact of cancer is hard enough without the additional burden of money worries. Help our campaign to cut the cost of cancer.


Mario was running an Italian restaurant when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He became too ill to run his business and that’s when the financial impact of cancer hit him.

'I lost my income. The insurance company said that because cancer was an illness not an accident, I wasn’t covered, so basically I lost everything.

‘I couldn’t carry on paying the rent so I ended up losing my home.

'It’s very scary, especially when going through chemotherapy. It’s the fear of the unknown – you don’t know what’s going to happen. I was falling from a great height and there was no bottom.’


For the very first time, Macmillan has commissioned research* to calculate the financial impacts of cancer, revealing just how hard the costs are hitting people.

Our findings show financial support is not always easy to access or good enough for cancer patients. The benefits system can be complex and difficult to understand. People are not always aware of the financial help available to them, such as free prescriptions**. And not getting the right support from employers means it can be hard to remain in or return to work.

Read the full report [PDF]

CANCERS HIDDEN PRICE TAG - Revealing the costs behind the illness


England report:

Scotland report:

Northern Ireland report:

Wales report:


Macmillan believes no one should face financial worries alone. We’re calling on governments, businesses and the NHS to act urgently to ensure the right support is offered at the right time to people like Mario.

Sign up as a Macmillan e-campaigner and we'll keep you updated on this and our other campaigns. If you're worried about money following a cancer diagnosis, find out how Macmillan can help in our financial support section. "

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5 Replies

  • Thank you Nick, for highlighting this problem / information and bringing it to the attention of this forum.

    sparkler x

  • Do NHS hospitals not make parking provision in terms of free parking for people receiving chemotherapy? I know my local hospital do and I wondered if it's standard policy. It certainly should be.

    At first I questioned these additional expenses but there are many hidden costs such as the inflated cost of travel insurance for example and transport costs. And whilst the condition can result in severe fatigue and inability to carry out household tasks, its unlikely many would qualify for DLA (in the UK) until a very advanced stage. And I agree some people are not aware of the availability of free prescriptions. I'm thankful for the fellow sufferers who made me aware of this.

    The main concern has to be financial job security which must be an immense strain on main breadwinners. Mario's sad example certain illustrates this point.

    I'm glad to see this issue being highlighted so publicly by Macmillan for whom I'm gaining tremendous respect for the work they do.

    Regrettably welfare benefit advice isn't automatically offered but is available through Macmillan.


  • a person I know applied for a grant from Macmillan for new clothes after having lost weight because of cancer treatment. He gave it to his daughter to pay for car seats for the twins she was expecting. I am sure there are many needy cases and I applaud the work Macmillan do but it can be misused.

  • I honestly didn't know Macmillan gave grants redden but it's dreadful to see it misused.


  • Thanks redden for mentioning Macmillan grant support. There are a several different schemes in place here are a few examples.

    Macmillan financial support information:

    Macmillan grants

    PDF download Guidance notes:

    "A Macmillan grant is a one-off payment for adults, young people or children with cancer, to cover a wide range of practical needs. This can include things such as heating bills, extra clothing, or a much needed break. Every week over 600 people receive a grant from Macmillan Cancer Support."

    "You can apply for a Macmillan grant if you have cancer or are still affected by your illness or treatment and:

    your savings amount to no more than £6,000 if you are single, or £8,000 as a couple or family

    your household disposable income (this means the total amount left once you have paid your mortgage, rent or council tax) is under:

    - £170 a week for a single person

    - £289 per couple

    - £85 for each child

    - £119 for each additional adult (only when their income is relevant to

    the request"

    You need to apply through a health or social care professional, such as a social worker, district nurse, or a Macmillan nurse if you have one. Please read our guidance notes .

    Macmillan information; Payments, grants and schemes to help with energy and housing costs:

    Macmillan Grants for groups:

    Supporting you to help others grant guidance notes:

    Macmillan Learning and development opportunities and grants:

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