Loans worry for parents of young cancer victims

Parents of children suffering from cancer are being forced to borrow money to cover costs while their youngster has treatment, new research claims.

Families are increasingly struggling to meet the extra expense of accommodation, child care, food and travel with some 66 per cent of parents surveyed saying they were borrowing money to make ends meet.

The survey, carried out for the charity CLIC Sargent, also found that 76 per cent of parents said extra costs were having a major impact on family finances, with more than two in five borrowing on a credit card and 20 per cent having taken out a loan.

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Cancer-related expenses every month amounted to more than £360 on average.

Lorraine Clifton, chief executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “The extra costs can be significant. It’s shocking to hear that some families felt driven to debt in order to get through financially.

“Unpaid leave from work, travel costs and care for siblings are some of the additional costs that families face once cancer treatment begins.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Parents of cancer victims have a fundamental right to fair and appropriate car parking concessions and it is expected that hospital trusts will deliver them. And there is support available for healthcare travel costs.”

Last week a new financial guidance service to help people affected by cancer was launched in North Yorkshire by Macmillan Cancer Charity and the Royal Bank of Scotland.