Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: the financial impact of childhood cancer revealed

Cancer in children costs families typically  an extra £600 a month. Thereby  putting huge strain on cashflow and causing many families  to fall into debt.

The cost of childhood cancer
The cost of childhood cancer

Research carried out by children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent has shows that costs can massively increase when a child is diagnosed with cancer.

Families spend extra £600 a month when child is treated for cancer.  That is nearly $1000 in US terms.

Many plunge into debt as a result of extra costs

Travel and food biggest additional spend.  Please note that the UK has more or less socialised medicine which is free at the point of usage.

The charity has launched a new report Cancer costs: The financial impact of treatment on young cancer patients and their families and is trying to persuade the UK  Government, banks and energy suppliers to help ease the financial burden caused by a cancer diagnosis.

CLIC Sargent’s research reveals 3 in 5 parents they asked ended up in debt as a result of a child’s diagnosis of cancer.  In some cases  borrowing more than £5,000. The average extra spend of £600 per month is close to a third of the normal UK monthly income.

Treatment for children and young people’s cancer can be miles from home at specialist treatment hospitals, requiring families to stay away from home for long periods of time, or embark on regular long distance travel.

These travel costs and additional food are the biggest extra expenditure but families also find themselves spending more on clothing, parking and accommodation while having to keep up with regular bills including mortgage, rent and energy.

Many families reported that the benefit system was not fit for purpose for young cancer patients or their needs, often taking too long and still leaving families with a financial shortfall.

But CLIC Sargent say more needs to be done and is calling on the government, banks and energy suppliers to provide more assistance to affected families.

It is calling for:

A review of travel assistance available to parents and young people, with recommendations for reform to be made by the end of 2017

Immediate financial support to be provided from the point of diagnosis to every patient

Financial services and energy companies to review their vulnerable customers policies to ensure they include parents of children with cancer and young cancer patients.

Kate Lee, Chief Executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “The pressure of managing finances causes considerable stress and anxiety during what is an already impossible time for families. This is not right or fair.”

CLIC Sargent has launched a petition to Prime Minister Theresa May to act now to ease the financial burden of childhood cancer. To sign the petition visit