Paying the Price

Cancer is no longer as lethal as it once was. Improvements in diagnosis and treatment mean that the number of people living with or beyond cancer will have doubled by 2030. But these great steps forward in healthcare are only part of the story, as more and more patients find themselves confronted by the financial consequences of cancer. A cancer diagnosis can cost an individual an average of £570 a month, through increased expenditure on things like travel and loss of income from having to give up work.

This places a huge financial burden on patients and their families, and is a growing issue that needs to be addressed. This report builds on prior research undertaken by the University of Bristol and Macmillan Cancer Support – as well as extensive expert and stakeholder engagement – in order to lay out, and begin to address, the financial impact of cancer on individuals and families.

Paying the Price has recommendations for the NHS and central government in order to help ease the pressures, and identifies a key role for civil society, employers and financial service providers. It supports a right to flexible work for those experiencing long-term illness and suggests that the public sector lead the way towards a culture of ‘cancerfriendly’ employers. It recommends that the NHS perform a financial health check at the point of diagnosis. And it advocates training for frontline bank staff in how to support customers with long-term conditions. These measures would help those affected cope with the financial cost of cancer.