Some cancer sufferers who phone the Macmillan support line want to talk about death, and the process of dying.
But for 25 times as many patients, it’s not their health they want to discuss.
It’s their finances.
Macmillan’s research shows that most cancer suffers are nearly £7,000 a year worse off because of the disease.
Many go overdrawn, or into debt. Some have even become homeless.
Banks meanwhile are being accused of doing very little to help such patients in their hour of need.
But now one of the UK’s biggest banks has decided to act. From Monday it will be offering some practical financial help.
‘First my brother, then my son, and now me’
Six years ago Sam Geddes’s brother Stephen was beaten up at a music festival. A subsequent scan located a cancerous tumour in his pituitary gland.
Sam, a single parent, gave up work to look after him.
A year later his five-year-old son Rudy was also diagnosed with a tumour.
During this time Sam built up over £6,000 worth of debt on his credit card, and an overdraft of £2,700.
After the initial shock of Stephen’s diagnosis, it was sometimes the money that troubled Sam most.
“At times the financial worries, especially when coming up to a crunch period, would be more overwhelming than the situation with my brother,” he says.
“It was more stressful, and created more anxiety.”