More cancer patients phoning helpline with money worries, charity reveals

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A spike in cancer patients seeking help with money worries has been reported by a charity.

Macmillan Cancer Support said its helpline had 4,546 calls in 2016 from people needing guidance on matters such as banking, mortgages, pensions and insurance.

This was an increase from just over 2,000 calls received by the charity in 2015.

Macmillan suggested cancer patients may be bearing the brunt of rises in living costs.

Added expenses could include the cost of petrol for travelling to and from hospital and extra food costs if patients needed to change their diet. 

The charity has also seen an increase in calls to its helpline, emails and referrals for people needing advice on claiming benefits.

In 2016, there were 42,000 calls. This was a rise of more than a third (36%) compared with 2015.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said: "The spike in calls to our helpline shows that many cancer patients are at their wits' end because of money worries.

"The economic uncertainty and changes to benefits are likely to have heightened these fears.

"Macmillan will continue to offer support, but we need banks to help tackle the problem by offering cancer patients early help to prevent their finances spiralling out of control.

"While some have made strides in solving the problem, there is still much more to be done.

"We want a change in the law so banks are duty-bound to help financially vulnerable cancer patients.

"People with cancer shouldn't be crippled with fear about whether they can pay the bills."