More than 30,000 middle-aged people are being forced to borrow money from their parents because of the high cost of living with cancer, a new report has found.
According to Macmillan Cancer Support, 8% of people in their 40s and 50s have borrowed money from their elderly parents, while more than 2,000 have moved back in with their parents after having to sell their house.
“The cost of cancer is leaving people embarrassed, ashamed and dependent,” a spokesperson for the charity said.
In response to the “heartbreaking” findings, Macmillan has called on the Government and financial services to offer more support to those living with the disease.
Macmillan’s No Small Change report revealed that thousands of people need to borrow from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to afford travel expenses to and from hospital, as well as loss of income because they are too unwell to work.
An estimated 700,000 people with cancer (28%) of all age groups are vulnerable because they have no savings to fall back on.
The charity warned that cancer, which for the majority of patients costs an average of £570 a month in lost income or increased expenditure, can ‘rob people of their independence’ and leave them feeling ‘ashamed and distressed’.
The report also showed that money worries during cancer can affect people’s physical and emotional health.
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “It is heartbreaking that people in their 40s and 50s with cancer might have to go cap-in-hand to their parents to ask for money simply to keep a roof over their head or put food on the table.
“The cost of cancer is leaving people embarrassed, ashamed and dependent.”
“Borrowing money could cause tension among families at a time when people need support more than ever.
“While Macmillan is here for anyone facing money worries, we also need the Government, healthcare professionals and the banking and insurance sector to play their part to ease this burden.”
Terry White, from Nottinghamshire, was 56 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He said: “Life before cancer had been comfortable. I’d worked hard and saved hard but six months into an eight-month chemo regime our savings had dwindled to nothing and our finances had spiralled out of control.
“I had to claim benefits for the first time in my life, with the threat of our home being repossessed hanging over us. It got so bad that I had to borrow £2,000 from my 78-year old parents. It was deeply embarrassing that at this time in my life I was going cap-in-hand to ask for their support.’
Macmillan has warned that the Government, healthcare professionals and the financial services sector must play a part in alleviating the financial struggles of people affected by cancer.
It has also urged cancer patients with money worries to get in touch.
With more families in general struggling with debt this year and the numbers of people diagnosed with cancer continuing to grow, there must be urgent action, the charity said.