More than £18,000 was given to around 50 people with cancer in Bath and North East Somerset by the Macmillan Cancer Support charity last year, it has been revealed.

As many low-income cancer patients grapple with the financial fallout of a diagnosis, compounded by the current cost of living crisis and Covid-19, Macmillan urges anyone in need to reach out for their support.

Macmillan grants help people pay for essentials such as heating bills and hospital transportation costs after being diagnosed with cancer or undergoing cancer treatment.

A cancer diagnosis often results in increased and unexpected living expenses, such as the need to wear wigs or post-operative clothing, a new bed for someone who can no longer climb the stairs to their room, or new bedding for those who suffer from incontinence and other side effects of treatment.

Macmillan’s research found that in the UK, 83% of people diagnosed with cancer suffered a financial impact.

One of the biggest expenses that people with cancer face is increased energy bills. Many people undergoing cancer treatment need to have the heater on for longer periods of time due to the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

With home energy costs rising earlier this month and further increases expected in October when the energy price cap is raised again, this year could pose a triple threat to people with cancer, who are already grappling with the financial impact of their diagnosis and the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In recognition of the extraordinary challenges facing cancer patients in 2022, Macmillan has made an additional £3.5m of emergency funds available, to help pay rising fuel bills.

In the first six weeks of 2022, Macmillan has awarded over £1.6million in grants to support vulnerable patients across the UK, a 33% increase on the same time of year last.

One of these recipients, Alison, explained how their Macmillan scholarship contributed to the cost of living.

She said: “At best, sickness benefits help claimants in the short term. Most people aren’t sick for very long, so they don’t get into debt. But the longer you’re on it, the more it doesn’t cover your costs.

“My Macmillan social worker helped me get the benefits I’m entitled to.”

Karen Gough, Macmillan benefits adviser at Citizens Advice Bath & North East Somerset, said: “The past few years have been incredibly difficult for people with cancer.

“Covid-19 continues to pose great challenges to clinically vulnerable people and now cancer patients are facing a cost of living crisis which has seen fuel and food prices soar.

“Macmillan is there for anyone who has cancer. But we know there are always more people we could help.

“So if you’re someone who needs our support, we’ll do everything we can to make sure you get the practical advice and help that can make living with cancer not just a matter of survival.”

Across the UK, Macmillan has donated over £12.3million to over 33,000 cancer patients in 2021.

Macmillan Grants are, in most cases, a means-tested one-time payment of £350 to help with the additional costs that living with cancer can entail.

Anyone over the age of 18, who has been diagnosed with cancer or is undergoing treatment can apply.

To find out more about Macmillan grants, including who can apply, call Citizens Advice BANES on 0808 278 7897 or the Macmillan Helpline on 0808 808 00 00.