Scots cancer patients are relying on charity to pay for essentials such as heating and clothes, according to a charity.
Figures show Macmillan Cancer Support provided £1.2 million in grants last year to almost 3,700 people to help them pay for necessities.
The charity says this highlights the financial stresses cancer causes and called on political parties in Scotland to pledge their support for the rapid roll-out of a model of support, ahead of the Holyrood elections in May.
Janice Preston, head of Macmillan in Scotland, said: “No-one dealing with a life-threatening illness should have to worry about how to pay their rent or heat their home.
“While I’m pleased Macmillan was able to give one-off grants to so many people in urgent need, these figures show just how badly cancer can affect people financially.
“That’s why it’s vital everyone with cancer in Scotland is offered an in-depth assessment of their needs, followed by the right support, from benefits advice to counselling.
“In 2019, Macmillan and the Scottish Government pledged £9m each to fund the Transforming Cancer Care programme which aims to make this a reality, and the need for the programme in a post-covid world was made clear in the recent cancer recovery plan.
“We’re calling on all political parties and candidates to pledge their support for the programme and its rapid rollout across the country.”
About £150,000 was given to people with cancer to help them afford new beds, mattresses and bedding, while about £85,500 went to cover hospital travel costs.
The charity also provided almost £457,000 to help pay for heating, while another £370,000 was awarded to help them buy new clothes, often needed due to a change in body shape resulting from treatment.
Derek McKeown, a security guard from Inverclyde, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in October.
The 55-year-old was given a £350 Macmillan grant to buy new clothes, which he used to buy a suit for his wedding with Jacqueline O’Neill after losing three stone.
He said: “We are able to sleep at night a little easier thanks to all the help. I’m now two sizes smaller than I was, so the Macmillan grant has also helped to buy a new suit for the wedding.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating for all those affected, and we are committed to supporting and continually improving patient care.
“Dealing with the physical and emotional impact of cancer is traumatic enough without having to cope with the stress it places on other aspects of daily life for individuals and their families.
“We are investing up to £6.75 million in the Macmillan Transforming Cancer Care programme between now and 2023, making Scotland the first country in the UK where all cancer patients will have access to a key support worker to receive dedicated financial, practical and emotional support.”