A report from MacMillan Cancer Support shows money worries can affect people with cancer when they least expect it.
And it warns that the lack of a financial safety net could leave an estimated 65,000 people with cancer in the Scotland – and 700,000 across the UK – vulnerable to hardship.
The charity has highlighted the effect cancer can have on people’s finances, with a significant loss of income from being too unwell to work. It also cited additional travel costs to and from hospital appointments and increased heating bills.
Previous research by the charity has shown that for a majority of people in Scotland, cancer costs an average of £420 a month in lost income or increased expenditure.
Janice Preston, head of Macmillan in Scotland, said: “There is never a good time to hear you have cancer, but if that diagnosis comes when a person is financially vulnerable then money worries can have a hugely detrimental effect on their mental health and long-term well-being. In Scotland we have a network of benefits advisers across the country who are there to help people access the financial benefits and grants they are entitled to because of their illness.”
Georgina Mackie, 54, from Bonnybridge, near Falkirk, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2015. She said: “I stopped working because I thought I didn’t have much time left and wanted to spend the time with my daughters and grandchildren.
“I didn’t have any savings and the money I did have, I had to use to pay the bills and my rent. I had no money at all and had to go to the food bank.
“My family and friends helped me with food and money and then someone told me about Macmillan. They were wonderful. They helped me fill in all the benefits forms and I got a £200 grant for clothes.”