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It examined patients two years after treatment and, after adjusting for differences such as disease stage and other health conditions, those on lower incomes were twice as likely to relapse. There was also a trend towards worse overall survival rates. Study author Dr Christopher Noel, at the University of Toronto, said sufferers often quit work or cut hours, and face extra costs such as transport to hospital or higher heating bills.
Poorer patients may be less likely to adhere to their treatment plan or complete radiotherapy. The findings were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s conference in Chicago.
The Canadian healthcare system is similar to the NHS and Dr David Pinato, an oncologist at Imperial College London, said: “Eating the right diet and living in a healthy and comfortable environment play a massive role in your body being fit enough for cancer treatment.”
Macmillan Cancer Support said last month it issued more than twice as many financial grants to cancer patients needing help with energy bills, compared with the same time last year.
The charity’s Dr Richard Simcock said: “We know that some people with cancer may need financial support to have the best possible medical outcome and urge anyone worried about money to get in touch.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Tackling health disparities and delivering world-leading cancer care are key priorities for this Government.”
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