‘Hard-up and cold’ cancer patients

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HUNDREDS of Wigan folk with cancer are unable to celebrate special family events such as Christmas and birthdays due to lack of money.

According to research commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support, one in 10 say they’ve had to miss out on visiting family and friends because they couldn’t afford it. And national research shows a quarter of those with cancer are unable to adequately heat their home in winter.

Regionally, 20,000 people (eight per cent of North West folk with cancer) do not have the means to celebrate the festive season or a birthday.

Macmillan has previously found that four in five people with cancer are on average £570 a month worse off as a result of their diagnosis. This is due to people often having to stop work at the same time as coping with additional costs, such as transport to hospital appointments, new clothes or wigs and spiralling household bills.

Macmillan is urgently calling on the Government to rethink their proposal to take £30 a week away from people with cancer who are too ill to work through its Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

Paul McCavana, Macmillan’s north of England head of services, said: “It’s heartbreaking that people who are going through cancer, which is likely to be one of the most difficult times of their life, are also having to wake up on Christmas day in the cold, alone, without being able to have Christmas dinner or buy presents for their loved ones. People with cancer can lose hundreds of pounds each month because of their diagnosis. To put a stop to this will be difficult but every sector, from the government, to the NHS, businesses and the voluntary sector must play their part. It is incomprehensible that the Government is pressing ahead with proposals to cut the benefits of people with cancer who have been medically assessed as unable to work by around £30 a week.”