Cancer patients forced to rely on clothing handouts

Cancer centreMany cancer patients who lose weight because of the disease are being forced to rely on handouts because they cannot afford the new clothes they need, a charity said.

Macmillan Cancer Support said that 48% of patients who received a grant from the charity in the last year needed it to help pay for new clothing.

A charity spokeswoman said more patients were helped with clothing than with any other cost arising from having cancer, such as the cost of heating bills or travelling to hospital.

Weight loss is a common symptom of cancer.

Jacqueline Gunn, who was diagnosed with cancer of the gullet in January 2010, said she lost seven stone in half a year because of her illness.

The 68-year-old from Blackpool said: "I lost seven stone in six months after my tumour was removed because I struggled to eat and drink.

"Money was so tight, I couldn't afford a new wardrobe, so had to make do by pinning all my clothes back. I was so depressed, I couldn't bear to leave the house.

"The Macmillan grant I was given for clothes was a godsend. Having clothes that fitted me properly, after my body had been through so much, really helped take the stress out of my treatment and gave me the confidence to face the world."

Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciaran Devane said: "Clothing is one of a number of hidden costs cancer patients are burdened with at a time when, on average, their income halves and their outgoings rocket.

"Patients already have to deal with the physical changes to their bodies - they shouldn't have the added stress of not being able to afford new clothes. We urge any cancer patients who are struggling financially to contact our helpline to find what support is available to them."
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