Families shelling out for child cancer treatments

04 September 2018 08:06

Families with children living with cancer face significant costs

Families with children living with cancer face significant costs

Child cancer patients regularly have to travel twice as far and pay out twice as much when getting treatment, new data shows.

CLIC Sargent, a children's cancer charity, found that the families of younger patients are spending £180 a month for their "cancer commute" to get specialist treatment.

The average journey is a 60-mile round trip to the hospital, although the charity found that one family in the study face an 800-mile round trip for treatment.

In response to these figures, CLIC Sargent stated that treatment for childhood cancer can last for more than three years, meaning that some families face spending out on their journeys countless times.

Specialist treatment

Due to the nature of childhood cancer, different types require specialist treatment - which is only available at a small number of centres across the UK.

The issue has led the charity to launch a petition urging the Government to set up a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund for children and young people with cancer and their families in the UK, and want to see £5 million provided annually to help cover the cost.

Under the current NHS Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS), just 6% of families receive financial support with travel costs.

The charity added that the cost of getting to hospital and back is just one of the added expenses faced by families when a child is diagnosed with cancer.

On average, the family of a child with cancer spend £600 a month extra on top of every day expenses and bills, which they often struggle to find if parents have had to give up work or reduce their hours to be with their child.

Financial struggle

CLIC Sargent chief executive Kate Lee said: "Being told that your child has cancer is one of the most horrendous situations that any parent can imagine.

"No parent should ever have to worry about not having enough money to take their child to hospital for cancer treatment.

"The current Government travel cost scheme is not fit for purpose and available to too few families.

"We know that cancer costs and families are really struggling financially, leaving families counting pennies, relying on charity grants, borrowing money from family and friends, wiping out savings or facing being plunged into debt.

"This is not good enough and the Government needs to set up a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund so that families can focus on their child, rather than worrying about mounting bills."

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