Counting the costs of cancer report

The financial impact of cancer on children, young people and their families

About the report

CLIC Sargent has published new research which found that many families have to bear significant additional financial costs as a result of supporting their child through their cancer diagnosis. Counting the costs of cancer reflects the experiences of young people aged 16-24, as well as parents, to understand the specific issues faced by children and young people with cancer.

The costs of cancer

CLIC Sargent knows that cancer costs. Counting the costs of cancer highlights the significant additional costs associated with childhood cancer which are often coupled with a loss of income from one or more parent, or a young person having to give up study or work.

Our research found that:

  • On average parents and young people spent £367 and £277 respectively on extra expenses every month as a result of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. This amounts to an additional annual spend of £4,400 for parents and £3,325 for young people
  • The number of parents who said that money was ‘often’ or ‘frequently’ a worry increased eight fold after diagnosis, from 8% to 65%
  • Two in three parents and half of young people built up debt to make ends meet as a result of cancer
  • More than half of parents surveyed told us that they had to take time off as unpaid leave and one in three took unpaid leave for three months or longer when their child was diagnosed

The impact of a cancer diagnosis on the whole family cannot be underestimated. Families involved in the research told us of the effect of the financial impact on their ability to cope, on their emotional resilience and ability to support their child. For young people without family support, already dealing with the illness and its treatment, this situation can be even more challenging.