Cancer sufferers urged to seek support amid cost of living crisis

Macmillan clinical nurse specialist Maggie Wilkieson and Macmillan cancer support worker Chris Holden are on hand to help.
Macmillan clinical nurse specialist Maggie Wilkieson and Macmillan cancer support worker Chris Holden are on hand to help.

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Amid increasing reports on the rapidly-rising cost of living, a Kintyre Macmillan cancer specialist nurse is encouraging people to seek information on available support and services.

Maggie Wilkieson, a Macmillan clinical nurse specialist based at Campbeltown Hospital, is keen to talk to those facing a cancer diagnosis to share what support is on offer in Kintyre as financial pressures increase.

‘There is no doubt that receiving a cancer diagnosis, amongst all that it brings, has an impact on finance, adding to an already stressful time,’ she said.

Macmillan clinical nurse specialist Maggie Wilkieson.

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Macmillan specialist nurses are specialist cancer nurses who can help patients understand cancer diagnoses and treatment options, and offer support through cancer experiences.

They work closely in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support workers, including Kintyre’s Chris Holden, and other local and national charities and organisations.

Macmillan cancer support worker Chris Holden.
Macmillan cancer support worker Chris Holden.

They work in hospitals, hospices and in the community to help people with cancer and their loved ones access a wide range of support, information and services, including: health and social care services; cancer conditions advice, treatment and help with self-managing side-effects; referrals and signposting people to local, national and online services; welfare benefits rights, grants and charities and third sector organisations; cancer support groups.

Lives are saved when cancers are caught early, and detection and diagnosis of cancer significantly improves a person’s chance of survival and improves individual outcomes.

Many people are cured of cancer or are able to live with the disease for many years due to the continued advances in treatment and medical research.

But cancer and the side effects of treatment can be intense. Some people may be able to continue working through treatment. Others may have to stop working causing financial difficulties.

Due to the increase in the cost living, it is essential for patients and their loved ones affected by cancer, who are struggling financially, to access monetary advice and welfare benefits including other help, support and services.

Macmillan nurses and cancer support workers offer consultations covering a wide range of support and services in relation to work, money and life, to help people find the right support and services for them, family members and carers.

‘I would encourage people newly diagnosed with cancer or already in receipt of financial support living in hardship to get in touch with Macmillan Cancer Support to review their welfare rights and discuss entitlement to other financial support options,’ said Maggie.

‘This could be anything from making your home energy efficient to help with rent payments, council tax or home adaptations.’

Kintyre residents are also fortunate to have the invaluable Mairi Semple Cancer Fund charity, which supports people struggling financially to make the suffering and stresses of the affects of cancer a little easier.

Applications to the fund are accessible through Argyll and Bute Council Welfare Rights Team or by contacting Maggie directly.

Macmillan Cancer Support head of partnerships in Scotland Janice Preston said: ‘Macmillan is doing whatever it takes to ensure every person with cancer gets the right help for them, every step of the way.

‘Whether it be about cancer, work, money or life in general, the big things and the small stuff, Macmillan is at the end of the phone and online to provide support. Call 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk and ask anything.’

The services offered are confidential and provide trusted information, advice and support for anyone who has a cancer diagnosis.

‘Please do not face financial hardship alone,’ said Maggie. ‘We cannot underestimate the impact of cancer or what it brings to a family but if we can help with some of the practical impacts then hopefully this can make a difference.’

Those seeking support can contact Maggie by calling 01586-555822 or emailing maggie.wilkieson2@nhs.scot or they can book a free consultation appointment with Macmillan cancer support worker Chris Holden by calling 07786146475 or emailing chris.holden@nhs.scot.