People living with cancer in Scotland are more worried about the cost of living crisis than their diagnosis, according to a new study.
A majority of those with the condition in the country fear that the crisis is affecting their chances of successful treatment.
Across the UK, 500 people with cancer were polled as part of a survey carried out for support charity Maggie’s.
It found that 80% of those in the UK are worried about the impact the cost of living crisis could have on their ability to travel to hospital appointments.
The study also showed that over half (55%) of those surveyed think they will struggle to pay for food this winter and 67% think that heating bills will be a problem.
Maggie’s Chief Executive Dame Laura Lee warned that people with cancer are hit harder by the crisis, which is only set to worsen.
“It is truly shocking that people living with cancer – which is possibly the hardest, most frightening experience of their lives – are now so worried about money that it is overshadowing the fact they are living with cancer,” she said.
“Many even feel the current crisis will impact their chances of successful treatment.
“The situation is clearly only going to get worse as the cost of fuel, food and heating continue to rise in the autumn.
“We know people with cancer are harder hit by the cost of living crisis. They need to use more heating, they are living on reduced incomes and paying to travel for treatment.”
Dame Laura underlined the importance of people with cancer being able to focus on their treatment.
“We also know people are returning to work too early and even missing appointments because they can’t survive on benefits. This too can have devastating consequences,” she continued.
“This is simply wrong. People with cancer need to be able to focus on treatment.
“At our 24 UK support centres we have experts to help if someone is worried about money as well as professional staff to help with eating well on a budget, stress management and much more. We are here for you.”
Melanie Bunce, a benefits advisor for the charity in Fife, said that people are facing “stark choices” due to the impact of the crisis.
“I have been a benefits Advisor for 25 years and this current situation is the worst I have ever seen,” she said.
“The fact is that even very ordinary situations are now becoming impossible for people with cancer.
“People who could have managed a year ago are now facing stark choices between eating, heating and travel to hospital appointments – and particularly badly hit are those in low income jobs.
“The stories we are hearing in our centres have become so much more desperate in the last six months and it is only going to get worse.”