A SURVEY has revealed that one in five people diagnosed with cancer in the last two years go to bed early as a way to keep their heating bills down.
Currently there are approximately 1,600 people living with cancer in Solihull who have been diagnosed in the past two years.
The survey, carried out by Macmillan Cancer Support and npower, highlights the impact a cancer diagnosis can have.
Over a third of people admit they feel the cold more and a fifth saying their energy bills have increased as a result of their diagnosis and treatment.
People undergoing cancer treatment often experience to cold due to side effects such as weight and hair loss, reduced energy levels and circulation problems.
npower has now committed an extra £3 million over the next three years to the npower Macmillan fund to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry.
The Macmillan fund is the only programme in the UK that offers bespoke support to people living with cancer by capping energy bills and writing off debt.
With the help of npower, Macmillan give out an average of 41 heating grants every day with an average value of £194.
Katie, aged 47, from Birmingham, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2015 – she said no matter what she tried, she struggled to warm up and required the heating on at all times.
She added: “I’m a single mum of two and ended up just putting the heating on when the kids were getting ready for school in the morning.
“I’d then spend the day alone in a cold house and used to go to bed wearing a dressing gown and a woolly hat and still not feel warm.
“However I called the Macmillan support line and I was put on npower’s Macmillan Fund.”
Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan cancer support, said: “Chemotherapy can have a side effect of making people feel cold.
“This all means that their energy use goes up whilst their income may be reduced.”
Clare McDougall, head of community at npower said: “Macmillan do such vital work and that’s why our employees have been supporting them for the last decade.
“Committing to another three years means Macmillan can count on our support to help keep the people warm without them having to worry.”