Macmillan Cancer Support and Virgin Money are urging people to access support as tens of thousands of young adults with cancer face the devastating impact of the spiralling cost of living.
Younger people with cancer (18-39-year olds) are being hit hard by the cost of living crisis, according to new data from Macmillan Cancer Support and Virgin Money.
Findings from the new research shows that tens of thousands of people with cancer aged between 18-39 are struggling to pay their basic living costs (40%), and almost three quarters of younger people with cancer (74%) - representing at least 50,000 people across the UK - are worried about the cost of food over the next 12 months.
One in four young people with cancer (27%) are also getting further into debt or have fallen behind paying a major bill such as rent, mortgage, water or gas and electric, because of increased living costs.
The research, carried out by Macmillan Link opens in a new window and Virgin Money as part of a three-year partnership to help the charity reach its goal of being there for everyone from day one of their diagnosis, highlights the especially difficult financial strain young people with cancer are currently facing.
More than half of young people with cancer (55%) say that they need more financial support with managing the rising cost of living and 43% are struggling on their present income. Just over two in five younger people with cancer (41%) say the current cost of living crisis is the number one most concerning issue to them, apart from their cancer diagnosis.
On top of the increasing cost of living, many people with cancer already face a significant financial impact following a diagnosis as a result of extra and often unexpected costs. Data from Macmillan shows that 83% of people with cancer in the UK experience some kind of financial impact from their diagnosis, and for those affected, this reaches an average of £891 a month, on top of their usual expenditure.
Julian Fiano, 34, from London was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in 2016 when he was just 28. Julian was forced to turn down his dream job when he was diagnosed, sending him into debt. He now must postpone planning a wedding with his partner due to the cost of living crisis and is forced to choose daily between buying food or the petrol he needs to get to his appointments.
Julian said: “Within days of being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour I was forced to turn down the dream job I’d just been offered. The lack of income meant I faced financial struggles and almost lost my home. While I should have been focusing on living what life I had left to the fullest, I was spending my days panicking about cash and how to pay my bills.
“I’m now so worried about the added stress of the rising cost of living. My partner and I are literally living week by week, faced with so much anxiety about how we’re going to pay the bills and buy food. It doesn’t make sense. I’m having to make daily choices between buying food or petrol, which is stopping me from travelling to my physiotherapy appointments.
“I can’t praise Macmillan enough for what they’ve done for me. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would still be alive. I really would urge anyone in a similar boat to me who is worried about money to get in touch with them.”
Christopher Jones, Welfare Rights & Energy Advice Team Leader on Macmillan’s Support Line, said:
“This is an incredibly difficult time for many people with cancer as they face the double threat of the spiralling cost of living, on top of the overwhelming financial impact a cancer diagnosis can bring.
“We know that hundreds of thousands of people with cancer just simply can’t afford life at the moment, and for young adults with cancer this can be devastating, with many struggling to pay their bills and falling into debt. I’d urge anyone affected by cancer who is worried about money to access the support available through Macmillan and Virgin Money. We’re here to make sure you get the help you need.”
Fergus Murphy, Group Chief Customer Experience Officer at Virgin Money, said:
“Many young adults living with cancer are facing a significant financial impact from their diagnosis and having to worry a huge amount about managing their money. This is particularly worrying given the added pressure the rising cost of living is placing on many households, which will only worsen later in the year when the colder weather arrives, and energy bills increase. It’s important that young people are aware that there is support available to help manage their finances through a number of avenues including the Virgin Money Macmillan Guides.”
Virgin Money recently became the first bank in the UK to launch bespoke financial support for people living with or affected by cancer through the Virgin Money Macmillan Guides – customer-facing Virgin Money colleagues who have voluntarily received bespoke training from Macmillan to help support people affected by or living with cancer.
Macmillan and Virgin Money are urging anyone worried about money to access the support available. You can contact Macmillan’s Support Line (0808 808 00 00), seven days a week, 8am-8pm, or you can get in touch with a Virgin Money Macmillan Guide today in store, over the phone or via webchat.
For more information about the Virgin Money Macmillan Guides and how to access support and information from Macmillan, Virgin Money and beyond, please visit: https://uk.virginmoney.com/service/our-partnership-with-macmillan-cancer-support Link opens in a new window