Cancer is an expensive disease and almost 400,000 people living with cancer each year struggle to keep up with household bills and credit and Macmillan research shows four in five cancer patients are hit with an additional average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness, comparable to a monthly mortgage payment.
95% of cancer patients don’t contact their bank when faced with financial difficulty
This is due to having to take time off work for medical appointments or being unable to work due to treatment. Other costs incurred from a cancer diagnosis can include increased heating and water bills and a change in dietary or clothing requirements.
Help with financial situation
Nationwide’s new Specialist Support Service was set up in response to Macmillan’s 2014 Counting on Your Support Report, which set out recommendations to the financial industry to ease the financial burden of cancer.
The report found that 95% of cancer patients don’t contact their bank or building society when faced with financial difficulty for fear of not getting any help or worse, that their diagnosis will have a negative impact on their financial situation. Of those who did make contact over a third (36 per cent) said their provider wasn’t able to offer them support.
The new service provides tailored one-to-one support for customers affected by cancer with the information they need when it comes to making informed decisions about their finances following a cancer diagnosis. This includes immediate requests for support to the longer-term management of financial difficulties – from current accounts to mortgages.
Nationwide member, Mandy Connor, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, said: “My diagnosis earlier in the year meant taking time off work for treatment and recovery, and that brought with it changes to my income I wasn’t prepared for. As a result I was spending as much time worrying about my financial situation as my health.
“As a Nationwide customer, I was put in contact with the new Specialist Support Service to help me manage my money. They were friendly and fully understood my situation, offering to monitor my current account income and outgoings for me to ensure I didn’t fall behind on bills and payments. They cancelled overdraft fees and would keep an eye on payments so I didn’t need to.
“We now speak regularly to check how things are going and it’s a huge help at a difficult time. Rather than worrying about my money, I can focus on getting better and getting back to work.”
Lynda Thomas at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It’s great that Nationwide is addressing the challenges people affected by cancer often experience in accessing the right support from their financial providers. But we still need the whole industry to come together and adopt these solutions so that no one living with cancer faces financial worries alone.”
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