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Cancer patients hit by money woes

24th October 2011

According to the results of a survey commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support, some cancer patients are having to forego food in order to pay their bills.

Pound Sign

The charity warned that thousands of patients could lose their benefits if proposed changes to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) went ahead.

The results of a YouGov survey of 1,500 patients are a challenge to the Welfare Reform Bill, which is being debated in the House of Lords this week.

The proposed changes to the bill mean people who receive ESA may have to be means-tested after a year.

More changes include people who have more than £16,000 in savings or whose partner works more than 24 hours a week or brings home a salary of over £149 would lose out.

The survey found 5% of patients had to skip meals to pay bills and 7% were worried about losing their homes.

The data also showed a sixth of patients had to make cuts to their everyday shopping because of bills and two thirds reported an increase in costs because of hospital visits and household spending.

Almost one in 10 (9%) said they had to borrow money and almost a third (29%) had spent all or some of their life savings.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Cancer is an expensive disease to live with, but this research shows just how close to the breadline many cancer patients really are."

"While we understand the benefits system is in need of reform, certain changes in the Welfare Reform Bill could have catastrophic effects on many families who are already struggling. 

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