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Finding out you have cancer can trigger a whole range of emotions.

Shock, denial and disbelief and then a host of fears and concerns.

We are really lucky in the UK as the NHS means we will not have enormous medical expenses that can be incurred in other parts of the world.

Living with cancer is likely to cause some financial strain as it can reduce earnings and increases expenses. There are lots of additional things to consider but a systematic approach early on can really help you take the strain.

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Expenses can go up just in terms of trips to the hospital, different food, extra heating bills, additional child care – you might well want to live a little too with holidays and more leisure activity. On Money Savings Expert they estimate we should all have 6-9 months money saved for a rainy day in case of this kind of situation and some people may have insurance from work or privately.
Some of the additional support and therapies can also cost money as they are not covered by the NHS.

Putting a simple budget together listing your regular expenses and income is something good to do early on – it will give you more time to address any problems.

It is also really worthwhile notifying your bank and services providers. Compile a list of your bank, mortgage, cards, loans, gas, water and electricity, landlord, do it early. A standard letter can make this quick and easy and avoid the strain of talking to people. This will mean they have to take your change in circumstances into account if there are any problems with bills.

Talk to your employer – understand what company benefits you could be entitled to.

Talk to your health centre – social services may be able to help with gym membership, extra equipment and event transport.
If you are finding the finances difficult you may want to recommend to your friends and relatives to get some cancer protection insurance.

Financial tips to help a cancer survivor

  • Help them do a budget
  • Help them get a list of all their financial services providers to let them know what is going on, terms on loans, debts, mortgages and rents may be eased
  • Contact the utility providers gas, electricity, rates and water – again there may be special terms for people who are seriously ill or who have lost earnings
  • Gather information from the many charities on how to cope financially – Macmillan, in particular, has some great information and a support phone line
  • You can also help yourself prepare financially against the impact of female cancers – simply have a look at

Useful links…

Getting help with finances
if you get cancer

Coping with a cancer diagnosis is challenging enough without having to worry about finances. These days it is so difficult to have “rainy day” savings to help at these times but there are some affordable insurance policies which will pay you a cash lump sum on diagnosis of cancer to help you stop money worries and let you focus on getting better.

If you have, or have had cancer, you might not be eligible for insurance, but there are still some excellent resources available, Macmillan in particular offer specialised support for cancer patients with money worries.

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Real life stories

I am 67, married for 45 years, with four children, and six Grandchildren. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2007, and went into brief 'shock' then gathered myself to get on with my treatment. The power of positivity is massive.

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