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The cost of cancer

Allan Cowie, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland, has revealed that after fear of pain, money worry is patients’ greatest cause of stress. And demeaning work assessments ruling people are fit to work are also causing unnecessary suffering.


Many Scots, according to the charity boss, have been left with the fear of being labelled scroungers, meaning vital benefits go unclaimed. Cowie said:

“ We worry the stigmatisation of those on benefits may mean patients with cancer are too ashamed to claim. We have encountered cases of terrible poverty. We have heard of instances where people only worry about benefits when they face losing their home. Up until that point, they are more concerned with the dreadful worry of if they will live or die. We have also heard of cases where people have no food in their homes because they have channelled all their money into keeping a roof over their heads. This is not acceptable in this day and age.”

Cancer sufferers face additional costs of a staggering £470 a month – the same as many mortgage payments.

He said: “This is the average cost associated with a cancer diagnosis in Scotland. It accounts not only for heating bills and travel costs for appointments, and dietary needs, but also the reduction in their income. People often can’t work during treatment or rehabilitation. Cancer mounts a two-pronged attack on people’s finances.”

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