Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Today! Live discussion on the financial cost of cancer

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Join today’s live Guardian discussion on the financial cost of cancer.


Today from 12 Noon until 2 pm the Guardian are hosting a live online discussion with a panel of experts in the field and cancer survivors to discuss how patients can manage with what is sometimes a reduced income and higher expenses.

Cancer leaves in its wake not only a host of physical side-effects, but also potentially crippling financial costs.

Four in five cancer patients are hit with an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness, according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Why is cancer so expensive? People living with cancer often have reduced earnings and need to find money to cover extra costs such as hospital travel costs and increased fuel bills, amid a gloomy economic climate.

One in three lose on average £860 a month in earnings because they are unable to work or have cut down their hours. Six in seven cancer patients see monthly expenses shoot up by £270 on average.

The financial burden of cancer is not the same for everyone. Those in work, and those with children, are more likely to bear the cost of their illness. The impact for those on low incomes is twice that for those on the highest incomes. And those with a rarer cancer are hit with a bill twice the size as that of someone with colorectal or prostate cancer.

How can employers help? What benefits are available? How can patients deal with the financial cost of cancer?

The panel so far …

Jo Salter, researcher, Demos
Neil Shadbolt, customer diversity manager, HSBC
Sarah Preston, welfare rights adviser, Macmillan Cancer Support
Richard Exell, senior labour market expert, TUC
Neal Southwick, financial support programme lead, Macmillan Cancer Support
Paul Elkins was diagnosed with stage 3 Lymphoma in November 2010. He lost his job, had issues with benefits and incurred direct and indirect costs as a result of his diagnosis
Cynthia Allan was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2008. She has been unable to return to work after experiencing extreme fatigue and she struggles to pay her bills
Linda Isted, communications manager, Debt Advice Foundation


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