This site is intended for health professionals only

Help for cancer patients urged

People who have been diagnosed with cancer should be in receipt of a winter fuel payment in the same way as those over 60 are, according to a charity.

Fuel bills are the biggest worry for 67% of cancer patients who struggle financially, a study for Macmillan Cancer Support found.

Ciaran Devane, the charity's Chief Executive, said: "People undergoing cancer treatment have to spend more time at home as they're often too ill to work.

"They feel the cold more because their immune system is weakened, they put the heating on more and so their fuel bills are higher; all at a time when their household income plummets - they're trapped.

"It's a vicious circle and that's why it's so important to freeze out fuel poverty for cancer patients."

She said nearly 40% of those who received financial aid from the charity this year asked for help with their fuel bills.

"It's time for the government and energy suppliers to step in and help these people most at risk. And we'll continue to campaign until we see cancer patients get the help they need with fuel bills," Ms Devane added.

The winter fuel allowance means that households with pensioners aged between 60 and 79 are entitled to £250, while households with those aged 80 and above are entitled to £400.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Macmillan Cancer Support

Do you agree cancer patients should be helped with winter fuel payments? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Yes, my husband was diagnosed last October with chronic lymphocytic leukemia he is always cold. We started to put our heating on at the beginning of September because he was so cold. I think all cancer patients should be given winter fuel payments." - Kelly Clarke, Norfolk