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People living with cancer are being urged to reach out for support, after new research shows hundreds of thousands are worried about the financial impact of a diagnosis but are not speaking to their bank or building society about their concerns or the support available to them.

The new figures, from Macmillan Cancer Support and Virgin Money, show that an estimated 630,000 people with cancer in the UK (21%) currently have serious concerns about increased costs, a loss of income or their ability to pay their bills, rent or mortgage, because of their diagnosis.

Banks and building societies are on hand to help customers facing financial difficulty and actively encourage people with money worries to come forward, so that together they can work to resolve any issues customers may be facing.

Despite this, just one in 20 (5%) of those who have these serious financial concerns related to their diagnosis have accessed support from their bank or building society, and only one in five (22%) of those who have not yet accessed this support would consider telling their bank or building society about their diagnosis.

Previous research from Macmillan shows that four in five people with cancer experience a financial impact following their diagnosis. In addition to loss of income, this is often due to extra and often unexpected costs, such as travelling to and from their hospital appointments or being forced to spend more on energy as they try to stay warm at home during treatment. For those affected, they could be up to £891 a month worse off because of their cancer.

To help more people get the support they need, Macmillan Cancer Support Link opens in a new window and Virgin Money Link opens in a new window are working to encourage more people living with or impacted by a cancer diagnosis to access support and advice via the charity or by getting in touch with their bank for support.

People can also access help via the Virgin Money Macmillan Guides support offering. The Guides have been specially trained by Macmillan to provide the best possible help to people affected by cancer. This could include helping people navigate the financial support available at Virgin Money or their own bank, offering guidance about the variety of support available from Macmillan and other organisations, including access to essential benefits and grant support, signposting to local community groups and services or simply being there to listen.

James Peirson, General Counsel & Purpose Officer at Virgin Money, said: “The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis can be significant for many, so it’s extremely important that we make people aware of the various levels of support available to them. Ideally, your bank should be one of the first organisations that you turn to about money worries, however these findings show that far too few people living with cancer are making the most of the help we can offer. Whatever the reason, we know it can be nerve-wracking talking to a bank about money worries, but we are here to help and opening up can make a real difference.”

Richard Manson, a Service Knowledge Specialist on the Macmillan Support Line says: “We’re constantly hearing from people about how challenging it can be to manage financially following a cancer diagnosis. With the impact of the rising cost of living on top of the additional costs a diagnosis can bring, this is a very tough time for many, and we understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help. It’s crucial that people know Macmillan and Virgin Money are here to offer support and guidance and we urge anyone who is worried about money to have a chat to their bank or building society, or to get in touch with the free Macmillan Support Line where advisors can offer confidential guidance and provide a listening ear. We’re here to do whatever it takes to make sure people with cancer get the vital financial support and advice they need.”

Macmillan and Virgin Money are working together 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. To find out more about the Virgin Money Macmillan Guides, visit: Link opens in a new window