80% more cancer sufferers in UK are relying on charities to heat homes, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Previous research has shown that cancer victims feel the chill more because of their treatment. At the same time their bills often rise because they need to spend more time at home. Almost 7 in 10 cancer patients below 55-years of age lose income after being diagnosed, often because they are too ill to work. So a vast majority rely on charity cash to heat their home.
The Macmillan Cancer Support paid 2,548,563 pounds to 12,669 cancer patients to help with fuel costs during 2011, compared to 7,369 patients needing similar help 5-years ago.
Macmillan's campaign manager, Laura Keely said, "To feel too scared to put the heating on because of soaring energy bills is an unacceptable reality for thousands of vulnerable cancer patients
who feel the cold more and spend long periods of time at home. When the charity was established 100 years ago, founder Douglas Macmillan helped cancer patients by handing out sacks of coal to keep them warm. It is shocking that a century on, people who are diagnosed with this devastating disease are still relying on charity help to heat their freezing homes."
The charity has now called for an ongoing independent review of fuel poverty to enable patient prioritization.