A South Yorkshire MP is backing a new campaign to ease the financial burden of cancer on families.
Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to act, after children and young people’s cancer support charity CLIC Sargent highlighted that parents spend on average an extra £600 when their child needs cancer treatment.
These extra costs - which include paying for fuel to travel to and from hospital, parking charges, and the extra expense of eating away from home - are thought to be putting additional strain on family finances and forcing many into debt.
Every day, ten children and young people in the UK receive a cancer diagnosis. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80 per cent, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
CLIC Sargent is campaigning to make life easier for these cancer victims and their families and Mr Dugher is supporting the charity’s call for action from the Prime Minister.
Mr Dugher said: “The anguish of discovering a family member has cancer puts a huge strain on any family.
“But the cost of coping with extra expenses that come with dealing with cancer can often be a crippling burden on a family’s budget.
“CLIC Sargent is right to highlight the impact of these costs that mean families with a child needing cancer treatment have to find on average an extra £600.
“It’s time the Prime Minister recognised this problem and did far more to help cancer sufferers and their relatives with these costs.”
Kate Lee, chief executive officer of CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families, 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.
“Following the initial shock of diagnosis, treatment often starts immediately and can take place far from home. Suddenly families see their lives transform, as their priorities shift to support their child through their illness.
“That is why we are calling on the Government, banks, energy and transport companies to implement a series of measures that will make a real difference to families coping with childhood cancer.”
CLIC Sargent provides clinical, practical and emotional support. Visit www.clicsargent.org.uk for details.