Homes blow for cancer patients

Hundreds of people diagnosed with cancer in Norfolk face losing their homes as they fail to keep up with rent or mortgage repayments, according to new figures out today .

Hundreds of people diagnosed with cancer in Norfolk face losing their homes as they fail to keep up with rent or mortgage repayments, according to new figures out today .

National research has found that 6pc of patients have to leave their homes and almost one in five have difficulties making repayments.

And the figure was higher for those self employed, with one in ten reporting that they lost their homes.

Now Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on all patients with the disease to be given specialist advice and financial help.

Tina Bullen, a Macmillan Citizens Advice Bureau welfare rights advisor based in Thetford, said: “When you are diagnosed with cancer life doesn't stop. While you are dealing with treatment and hopefully recovery you still have bills to pay and even things like school trips to fund not to mention at this time of year Christmas presents to buy.”

Each year in Norfolk about 4,400 people are diagnosed with cancer which means 6pc or 264 of them could lose their homes.

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“Most of my clients are working and after they are diagnosed many will have to take time off for treatment which can be debilitating.

“Also if it carries on and they have to go on to statutory sick pay it can be a big lifestyle shock. Many people don't ask for help because they feel they should be able to cope with it but, of course, they are used to a certain standard of living and often it is not possible to sustain it.”

“It can be incredibly stressful and have an impact on their treatment and recovery.

“I would like to see people getting help as earlier as possible. I would advise anyone diagnosed with cancer to get in touch with their local CAB if they need help or call the Macmillan benefits line on 0800 500 800.”

The research also found almost a third (28pc) of cancer patients with children under 18 had difficulties keeping up with payments compared with 15pc of those without.

A quarter (25pc) of patients aged 35 to 44 found repayments a problem compared with 6pc of those aged over 65.

Extra costs after diagnosis include prescription charges, hospital parking costs, food for special diets or high fuel bills, the charity said.

It has launched a new Hitting Home campaign to help patients check their insurance policies, talk to their mortgage lender and get advice on claiming benefits.