The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Managing the Practical Challenges of Cancer

Navigating the practical challenges of cancer, ranging from finances to travel insurance can be just as big a stress to deal with.
Please watch this short video on managing the practical challenges of cancer

Financial Support 

money web v2A cancer diagnosis can be tough on your finances. It may mean you have needed to stop working or work less. You may also have to spend more on everyday costs such as heating or travel to and from the hospital. But depending on your situation, you may be able to claim benefits or receive other financial support. 

We encourage anyone, no matter their financial situation to speak to a Benefits Adviser. A benefits adviser can help you by identifying the financial help you may be entitled to whilst also helping you to complete any forms and applications. 

Listed below are services you can access for financial support 

Leeds Macmillan Welfare Rights

Leeds Macmillan Welfare Rights is an advice service for anyone affected by cancer living in the Leeds City Council area. The team can identify what financial support you may be entitled to and also help you to complete forms, offer support on appeals and provide information on other services. To speak with the Leeds Macmillan Welfare Rights team contact: Tel: 0113 376 0452 or  Email:

Maggie's Benefits Advice

Maggie's Benefits Advisers can help you identify what you are entitled to and help you with practical things like parking permits and extra money you may be able to claim. They will help you fill out any forms and support you through the application process. They can offer financial advice and support to people living within and outside Leeds.To speak with a Maggie's Benefits Adviser, contact: Tel: 0113 457 8364, drop in their Leeds Centre, located at St. James's Hospital or click on the following link toVisit the Maggie's Leeds Website

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support can offer advice and support on a wide range of financial needs. This includes:

  • Benefits advice - Macmillan's benefits advisers have specialist knowledge of benefits, tax credits and grants. 
  • Energy advice - This team will help you to access the schemes available to support you with your gas, electricity and water charges.
  • Macmillan Grants - Macmillan provide one-off payments to people living with cancer to cover a wide range of practical needs. If eligible, you could receive a grant to cover heating bills, travel costs to and from the hospital or even for a much-needed break.
  • Financial Guidance - From mortgages to pensions, insurance to savings, the Macmillan Financial Guidance team can explain options that are available to you, guide you through difficult decisions related to your pension, review your mortgage and help you work out your options if you're struggling to keep up repayments or even explain jargon to make finance easier to understand
For more information on what financial support or guidance may be available to you, contact the Macmillan Support Line on Tel: 0808 808 0000 or visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website   


Turn2us is a national charity that provides practical help to people who are struggling financially. They help people gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grant and other financial help.

For more information, visit the Turn2Us website    

Cost of Living

Whilst cancer can already be tough on your finances,  the recent cost of living worries can further add to your worries. The Macmillan Financial Guidance team are there to support and advise you with any worries or concerns you may have.

A Macmillan Energy Advisor has written the following tips if you are worried about paying your bills:

  1. Look into how you can maximise your income through benefits and grants. Billions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed each year, and there are a number of benefits open to cancer patients depending on their health, household, and financial situation.
  2. Let your energy and water provider know your situation (e.g. that your consumption may go up, or if your income will go down if you have to take sick leave from work). Energy providers all have a vulnerability register called a “Priority Services Register” that can provide extra protections and adaptions for cancer patients.
  3. Some water providers also provide “Social Tariffs” that aim to reduce monthly bills for people on low-incomes or who have health conditions that require them to use more water. This is common for cancer patients who are at risk of infection, or have particular cancers, such as prostate and bowel, that require clean bedding and clothing more frequently.
  4. If you are on a Pre-Payment Meter (‘PPM’) and worried you will run out of credit, you can contact your energy supplier who can possibly add emergency credit to your account;
  5. If you find yourself in debt, there are ways to manage this. While Macmillan is unable to provide in-depth debt advice, they can explain the processes that someone will have to go through to do this, and refer you to organisations and trust funds that may be able to help with this debt.

Macmillan Cancer Support have some really useful tips to help you reduce your bills with energy efficiency. Click here to find out more - Reducing Bills Energy Efficiently

Work Related Issues

Your cancer diagnosis may have affected your work life in the short term or in the future. Some people will have stopped working during their cancer treatment and for a while after until they feel ready to go back. Others may carry on working through their treatment and after, perhaps with reduced hours or changes to their job.

For many people, going back to work when they feel ready is a big step in their recovery. It can help you:

  • Get back into a routine
  • Feel a sense of "normality"
  • Feel more financially secure
  • Have regular contact with people at work

You may feel nervous about doing your job well or about how people will react when you return. You may still be coping with side effects or with your feelings. Some people may feel too well to stay at home but not quite well enough to deal with work pressures.

Your employer can do a lot to support your return to work. There are also different organisations that can support you:

Macmillan Cancer Support:

Macmillan have a wide range of information available for employees, self-employed and employers. They have accessible information on their website to download and to order free of charge. They also have Work Support Service who can give confidential support and advice on any work queries.


The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provide employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice.

For more information on support and advice available from ACAS, contact their helpline on Tel: 0300 123 1100 or visit the ACAS website      

 A Cancer Diagnosis is a disability

In the UK, the law considers a cancer diagnosis to be a disability. This means you cannot be treated less favourably than others just because you have cancer or for reasons connected to your cancer. That would be discrimination. There are laws that protect you from being discriminated against at work because of cancer:

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, the Equality Act 2010 protects you
  • if you live in Northern Ireland, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) protects you

Both the Equality Act and the DDA cover all areas of employment. This includes:

  • The recruitment process
  • Your terms and conditions of employment and any benefits
  • Opportunities for promotion and training.

And the protection doesn't end when your cancer treatment has finished. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you have legal protection against discrimination, even when there is no longer any evidence of you having cancer. This means your employer must not treat you less favourably for any reason related to your cancer you've had in the past. This protection applies even if you no longer need treatment or you move to another employer.

If you are self-employed, you may not have legal protection against discrimination. In some cases, you may be protected against discrimination if you are employed under a contract. People with their own business may not be protected from disability discrimination by a customer or client.

Travel Insurance

Travel insuranceIt can be challenging to find affordable Travel Insurance once you have been diagnosed with Cancer. If you are living with cancer, you should check with your doctor or other healthcare professional that you are fit to travel. But even if you are fit to travel, this does not guarantee that you can get insurance to cover your cancer. When buying travel insurance, you need to check whether the policy will cover claims related to pre-existing medical conditions, including cancer. There are some companies that specialise in providing this kind of travel insurance.

They may offer you a policy that covers these kinds of claims, as long as:

  • You have told the insurer about the pre-existing conditions
  • The conditions have been accepted by the insurer in writing.
  • You will usually have to pay extra to cover claims related to the cancer.

Make sure you know what is and is not covered before you take out a policy, so you know it will meet your needs. If you are not sure, ask the insurer or an insurance broker.

Where to Look for Travel Insurance

Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have information that may assist you.


Support for Children and Teenagers

Trying to protect children from difficult news, worry and distress  is natural. But children often know when something is affecting their family. They may also have noticed changes in how adults around them are feeling and behaving. Not knowing what is happening may cause some children more distress. It is important to give children the chance to talk openly about their fears and worries. 

There are lots of useful organisations and charities that can give children and teenagers support during and after a family members cancer diagnosis:

Hope Support Services

hope support servicesHope Support Services are a UK charity who support 11 - 25 year old's when a family member is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, such as cancer. Hope have an online community group made up of young people supporting each other, as well providing a 1-1 confidential support service.

For more informationVisit the Hope Support Services website, contact Tel: 01989 566 317 or


The Market Place

market placeThe Market Place offer free confidential support to 11 - 25 year old's in Leeds. They provide a wide range of services including one to one support, counselling, group-work and our drop-in. All of these services are delivered by our Youth Work Service and Counselling Service.

For more information about The Market Place, contact them on Tel: 0113 246 1659 orvisit The Market Place Website 


Hair Loss Support

Some of you may have experienced hair loss or hair thinning during your cancer treatment. The Hair Loss Support service at Leeds Cancer Support is here to support you with any queries or advice you may need even after you've finished your treatment. Our Specialist Hair Loss Support Workers can arrange a telephone call or face to face appointment to support you.

For more information on the Hair Loss Support service, please contact Leeds Cancer Support on Tel: 0113 2066498 or Click here to view the Hair Loss Support page

Cancer Support in Leeds

There is a wide range of support services in Leeds, available for patients, their family members, friends and carers to access. 

Leeds Cancer Support

Leeds Cancer Support complements care provided by the clinical teams. We offer information and a wide range of support in a warm and welcoming environment.

At the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre and the Macmillan Information Centre (Level 1, Bexley Wing), the Leeds Cancer Support teams offer a comprehensive range of support services, from information and advice, to health and well-being therapies. The team also offer outreach support to cancer patients in all areas of Leeds Cancer Centre.

All the services at Leeds Cancer Support are free of charge and include:

  • Information about cancer and all aspects of living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis
  • Health & well-being therapies to improve general well-being and help you to cope with fatigue and anxiety
  • Programmes, classes and activity groups to help you adjust to your experience of cancer
  • Hair Loss Support, providing practical and emotional support to those who experience hair loss due to their cancer treatment.
Due to COVID-19, the complementary therapies at Leeds Cancer Support are currently suspended. We are working closely with the Clinical Advisory Group to ensure they are brought back when it is safe to do so. For more information, contact Leeds Cancer Support on Tel: 0113 2066498 or
Click here to view the Leeds Cancer Support pages 

Maggie's Leeds

Maggie's Leeds offer free practical and emotional support for people affected by cancer. Maggie's promote positive changes to your lifestyle and emotional well-being and are there for those at any time.

The Maggie's Leeds service offer a wide rang of support and include:

  • The Look Good Feel Better sessions - a pampering session available for people going through treatment
  • Relaxation groups
  • Yoga and Move Feel Dance
  • Emotional support
  • Benefits advice and support
For more information on the Maggie's Leeds service, contact Tel: 0113 457 8364 or visit the Maggie's Leeds website

Macmillan Telephone Buddies

Going through cancer can be an isolating experience especially if you are social distancing from friends and loved ones. The Macmillan Telephone Buddies is a free service and will match you to someone who understands what you are going through and they will give you a weekly call.

Your Buddy will be a listening ear, someone to talk to and how you are feeling and they will be able to let you know about other services that maybe helpful.

For more information about the Telephone Buddies service at Macmillan,visit the Telephone Buddies page on Macmillan's website