Cancer costs

Our Cancer costs research, published in 2016, explored the financial impact of cancer treatment on children, young people and their families. It also provided an insight into how financial pressures affect families' emotional health. 

Cancer costs

Cancer costs report

Our Cancer Costs (2016) report brought together evidence around the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis on children, young people and their families. As part of this research, we conducted a survey of 279 parents and 149 young people and carried out in depth interviews with parents, young people and CLIC Sargent Care Professionals. 

Research findings

  • Parents spent an average of £600 a month in additional expenses during their child’s active treatment, with the top expenses being travel, extra food and other extras like toys and treats. Energy bills, car-related costs and parking were their biggest financial concerns.
  • Three in five parents (61%) had accumulated some form of debt as a result of their child’s illness, with one in six (17%) of those having borrowed over £5,000.
  • A fifth (19%) of parents who were employed at the time of diagnosis took over a year of unpaid leave during their child’s treatment. 
  • Four in five (84%) parents and around three-quarters (73%) of young people needed help to complete the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application forms.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of parents and over half (54%) of young people surveyed felt that managing their finances during treatment caused them additional stress and anxiety

Our recommendations

We believe that all young cancer patients and their families should receive the financial and emotional support they need to cope with the impact of cancer, at every stage of their journey. 

Our key recommendations

Our report made a number of recommendations to help support families with the financial cost of cancer. These include: 

1. The government should conduct an urgent review of all travel assistance available to parents and young people with cancer, and make recommendations for reform by the end of 2017. 

2.  All young cancer patients and their parents who visit hospitals in England should be given free or reduced hospital car parking, in line with the other UK nations. The concessions should be publicised so that people are aware of them.

3. The government should review the financial support available for young cancer patients and their parents who are struggling to meet the costs of their energy bills. 

CLIC Sargent will continue to work with government, NHS leaders and other charities to campaign for these changes to happen. We want to give all young cancer patients the best chance from the start - from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond - to ensure that they, and their families, are able to stay as resilient as possible. Together we can ensure no child or young person has to go through cancer alone.