Cancer ‘is costing South Yorkshire patients same as a second mortgage’

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Hundreds of cancer patients in South Yorkshire could be hit with costs equalling a second mortgage because of their illness, according to a new study.

The research, by Macmillan Cancer Support, found four out of every five patients have to pay out £570 per month – the average monthly cost of a mortgage – on expenses such as travel, prescription medicines and hospital parking.

The charity says it gave more than 900 people in South Yorkshire financial assistance totalling £241,450 last year, to help with the costs.

Julie Lee, aged 56, from Barnsley, said she had been forced to spend her pension – saved for since she was 23 – following a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2009.

She said: “I had to take on two cleaning jobs to make ends meet while I was still receiving treatment. The cancer came back because I returned to work too quickly. I daren’t have my heating on, because I don’t want to run up my bills.

“Now the cancer has returned for a third time and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a result of the financial pressure .”

Ciarán Devane, Macmillan chief executive, said patients were ‘having to foot the bill’ for their illness.

In South Yorkshire, 6,450 people are diagnosed with cancer every year.

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