For a large proportion of patients ringing the Macmillan helpline, it is not their health they wish to discuss, but their finances.

According to recent research by Macmillan, most cancer patients are nearly £7,000 a year worse off because of their cancer diagnosis, and the banks are doing very little to help them. Many patients go overdrawn or are in debt, and some even end up homeless.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says that insurers should do more to help cancer patients.

The situation is changing at last, and Lloyd’s Banking Group has started to offer financial help to cancer patients via their “Moments of Truth” team, who have been trained by Macmillan Cancer Support to deal with cancer patients. Those banking with Halifax or Bank of Scotland are also eligible for the service. A similar initiative has been set up by Nationwide Building Society, who has dealt with 2,000 cancer patients or their carers.

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