DURING the current cost of living crisis, most people are struggling to make ends meet. But for those living and working with cancer, there is added stress and emotional strain.

Judy Body, Macmillan benefits adviser for the North Somerset area, explains how the cost of living crisis is affecting people facing the double hit of rising living costs and a cancer diagnosis: “Being faced with a cancer diagnosis is a frightening and emotional experience at any time. For many their main worry then becomes how they will manage financially if they cannot work and cannot provide for their families and loved ones.

"In addition the cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on people’s lives and for those living with cancer it adds to the stress of the situation. Rising energy costs, mortgage or rent increases, increased food costs, plus the increased cost of travel and general inflation all add to the worry.

“Cancer treatments often mean that people feel the cold much more and they tend to be at home more due to their illness, this inevitably leads to higher heating bills and people are worried about being able to afford the increased cost. There may be other unexpected costs involved with treatment such as a special diet or a requirement for certain clothing.

"A lot of people have never had to apply for benefits before and are worried and confused about what help may be available."

The North Somerset Citizen's Advice gives specialist and confidential welfare rights advice to those living with cancer, providing information on how to apply to grants and navigate the complex benefits system, which can be daunting.

Macmillan Cancer Support, which funds Macmillan Benefits Advice, has pledged £189,000 in continued funding for the service, with £30m overall for welfare benefits services across the UK, to help people affected by cancer tackle the cost of living crisis.

Macmillan grants are also available for people struggling. These are rapid one-off payments of £350 to help pay for cancer-related costs such as heating, travel to hospital or clothing, taking some of the pressure off.

If you are affected by cancer in the North Somerset area you can contact the team on 01934 836218 or 07751 831783 or email macmillan@nscab.org.uk.