Research Article

Financial burden of childhood cancer.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 22 May 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:1542
  1. C M Bodkin,
  2. T J Pigott,
  3. J R Mann


    Fifty-nine of 73 families of children referred for treatment of cancer during 1980 co-operated in a study of the financial consequences of the illness. Except for two social class I families who declined to take part, the sample was representative of the childhood cancer population and families were of similar socioeconomic status to the general population. During the first, inpatient, week week of treatment the sum of income lost plus additional expenditure exceeded 50% of total income in over 45% of families. During a subsequent week of outpatient treatment, loss of income plus additional expenditure amounted to more than 20% of income in over half the families. These problems affected all the groups studied and were not confined to lower paid or those living furthest from the centre. Financial help was available from charitable sources and the DHSS towards travel, extra nourishment, and heating costs but could not be obtained to compensate for loss of earnings. The families of children who died had difficulty in meeting the cost of funerals. Families of children with cancer need more help than is at present available, especially to offset loss of income and the cost of funerals.