Berkshire cancer patients 'cannot afford heating bills'

A cancer charity said it has handed out more than £10,000 to patients in Berkshire who could not afford to heat their homes.

Macmillan Cancer Support said 54 patients needed help paying bills in 2010 and estimates a quarter of people with the disease are in fuel poverty.

The charity offers grants and helps people negotiate with fuel providers.

General manager David Crosby said it was "unacceptable" that some patients were unable to afford heating.

'Terrible state'

"Jane" from Berkshire is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and is one of the patients being helped by the charity.

She told the BBC: "Having no savings, you find yourself in a completely bad situation.

"A week or 10 days after cancer treatment you are in a terrible state. You have no energy. You feel terrible.

"You just don't need that extra stress when you are having the therapy and everything else around you is collapsing."

Mr Crosby said: "Paying fuel bills is one of the biggest worries for cancer patients.

"It's unacceptable that cancer patients, who feel the cold more and spend long periods of time at home, are too scared to put the heating on because they can't afford the cost of rising fuel bills."

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