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Cost of living: Young cancer patients 'in a desperate situation'

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Charities are warning that young cancer patients facing soaring living costs are in a "desperate" situation.

Both Macmillan Cancer Support and Young Lives vs Cancer say they've seen dramatic increases in the number of people asking for emergency grants.

Research suggests tens of thousands of 18 to 39-year-olds with cancer are struggling to pay basic living costs.

Shell Rowe was among those who told BBC Newsbeat they're worried about becoming financially independent.  She was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 20 in 2019, just as she was about to study film in California for her third year of university.

"Prices have skyrocketed. I haven't been able to work and haven't been able to save and get a job," she says. "How am I ever going to be able to be financially independent? It really scares me."

More than half of the 18 to 39-year-olds with cancer surveyed by Macmillan and Virgin Money said they needed more financial support to manage the rising cost of living.

One in four young people are getting further into debt or have fallen behind paying rent and energy bills because of increased living costs, according to the survey of 2,000 people across all age groups.

More than a tenth (11%) of those surveyed say they've had to delay or cancel medical appointments due to the rising cost of petrol. Many people have to travel long distances for treatment, often in their own cars or a taxi because the risk of infection rules out taking public transport.

"It's never been as bad as this. Young people with cancer are in really desperate circumstances, because of the cost-of-living crisis," says Rachel Kirby, chief executive of Young Lives vs Cancer. "No young cancer patient should have to think about the choice of putting fuel in the car to get to treatment, or whether they can heat their homes. But those are the kinds of situations they're facing," 

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Source: BBC News, 3 October 2022

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