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Sussex cancer patients relying on charity
5:10am Tuesday 21st January 2014 in News
Hundreds of cancer patients across Sussex are relying on charity grants as they struggle with the financial impact of their illness.
Macmillan Cancer Support has paid out £160,000 over the last year to cover the cost of clothing, bedding, heating bills and transport, as well as practical household items like washing machines.
The most common request is for money to pay for clothes, with more than £32,000 worth of grants handed out.
Macmillan director said the charity had helped about 500 patients across the county over the year.
She said: “Our latest grants figures are evidence of the financial isolation that can seriously impact people living with cancer.
“To feel unable to buy the clothes you need to keep warm, for example, is an unacceptable reality for thousands of vulnerable cancer patients at a time when, on average, their income halves and their outgoings rocket.”
The Macmillan grants programme gives payments to cancer patients who have limited financial resources and are in need of immediate help.
Applications are made by patients through their doctors or other health professionals.
Clothes are often requested as experts said that patients often experience a change in weight due to the effects of cancer and its treatment or following surgery.
They added certain chemotherapy drugs, steroids and hormonal therapies can make people gain pounds.
Cancer patients may also need different clothes because they have an abdominal swelling, have to adapt to a colostomy bag or need special bras following a mastectomy.
The charity added many people living with cancer have high fuel bills because they spend long periods of time at home during treatment or recovery and feel the cold more because of their condition.
Macmillan has also found that applications for grants to cover travel costs to and from hospital have continued to rise.
This is either because they have to travel further afield to cancer centres such as ones at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton or the Royal Marsden in Surrey and London, or they live in isolated areas with poor transport links.
For more details call 0808 808 0000 or visit www.macmillan. org.uk.
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