31% of cancer patients lose over £10,000 in income
In new research sponsored by insurance provider Guardian 1821, it’s been found that around one third of cancer patients lost £10,000 or more in income. This is due to having to change their work schedules around treatment and recovery following their diagnosis.
This is a significant amount of people who have faced financial difficulty due to a cancer diagnosis. These figures include both the patients themselves and family members who have needed time off work to support their recovery.
As we all know, the NHS has struggled recently in terms of supporting cancer patients and the extensive waiting times following the pandemic. This has improved slightly within the last year but there is still a lot left to be done to fully support those undergoing cancer treatment.
What were the findings of this study?
This research was carried out by the UK charity Young Lives vs Cancer who surveyed and interviewed 259 people. The people spoken to were:
- Adults 18-26 who have had cancer care/treatment within the last 2 years
- Parents/caregivers of children and young people (under 27 years old) with cancer
The results showed that 70% of people surveyed lost over £6,000 in earnings on average per year. 31% (around one third) of people asked reported having lost £10,000 or more in income due to needing time off work.
UK Cancer statistics
Here are some key statistics about cancer in the UK, provided by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Number of people in the UK living with cancer: 3 million (estimate)
Estimate for people living with cancer in 2025: 3.5 million
Estimate for people living with cancer in 2030: 4 million
Estimate for people living with cancer in 2040: 5.3 million
Cancer cases diagnosed in the UK:
|Northern Ireland (NI)
Cancer support UK: what help is available?
There are various benefits and support schemes available to help support people struggling with money due to a cancer diagnosis. There are also benefits that can be claimed to support carers of people with cancer, as well as the patients themselves.
You could be entitled to benefits and support like:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – your employer will pay you this in place of your usual income if you need time off work
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – this is similar to SSP but works well for self-employed workers who would not be entitled to SSP
- Universal Credit (UC) – this can be claimed by people with less than £16,000 in savings, not in full time education, who are either on a low income or cannot work because of illness or caring responsibilities
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – this can support you in returning to work by providing a weekly income while you search for a new job
- You may also be able to claim disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Adult Disability Payment (Scotland only) or Attendance Allowance (for those over state pension age).
There is a full list of resources on the Macmillan Cancer Support website which can offer further help and resources. This includes a list of helpful contacts and several great worksheets with more detailed information.
How can I protect myself against loss of income?
Many of us worry about how we would cope financially if we became seriously ill with a condition like cancer. Luckily, there are several insurance policies available that can provide financial support in this situation:
- Income protection insurance – these policies typically cover around 60% of your pre-tax income and will pay out a monthly income (if you are signed off work for 4 or more weeks)
- Critical illness cover – this works similarly, but pays out a cash lump sum on diagnosis rather than a monthly income
- Private health insurance – these policies are designed to help cover the cost of private medical care and often lead to faster diagnosis compared to NHS services
Note: Always consider your options carefully before committing to a new insurance policy. We would recommend researching all your options before making any decisions. For more advice and support, you can speak to an insurance expert about any questions you have.
Below are some useful MPO articles and guides that you may find helpful if looking for additional financial support and insurance products: