Financial concerns

Hello everyone,

I got a my diagnosis on 26th October after a breast biopsy and currently waiting for my follow up appointment on 8th November with a treatment plan. I’m 30, married, no kids but a career minded person, living in Northern Ireland, who volunteers a lot with a local youth group. I don’t yet know what lies ahead…I know I can face anything in terms of the treatment, but the one thing I can’t stop thinking about is financial difficulties and getting into problems with creditors. 
I have a relatively new mortgage, (2 years), no savings - we used everything to buy the house.
I have a car on finance
I have a monthly telephone bill.
We have a credit card bill…
While my husband works, this will be fine and he can cover the mortgage but how am I supposed to be able to afford all these things when my current employer only pays SSP and I have no idea what lies ahead?  What help and support is out there so that I don’t have to lose everything I’ve worked so hard for? I’ve called my car finance company and the options they gave are somewhat delusional and impossible to follow through with…


Nicola x 

Hi Nicola

I understand that Macmillan can help with financial support, so it maybe worth contacting them.

Also, if you don’t get any response here, there is a section in the Moving Forward category specifically for work and finance.

Depending on your treatment plan, it is possible to do some work throughout. There are times in between treatment and during treatment where it is possible.

You’re be able to plan more when this treatment plan is in place.

Best wishes

Sue xx

Hi Nicola,


Don’t assume you won’t be able to work through treatment.  Many do work, possibly on reduced hours, taking time off for each treatment, but going in to work in between.  A lot depends on what you do - a desk job is much easier to cope with than one where you are on your feet, also if you have chemo then it may depend on your working environment, and how easy it is for you to avoid coming into contact with infections.  There are many different scenarios here, so my advice to you is to wait till your follow up appointment and you know more about what you are facing, and then you may be able to work around it.


My employment contract entitled me to one month’s sick pay per year. When I totalled up my time off (and this included surgery, eight cycles of chemo and four weeks of rads) I had taken about two months.  My employer kept paying me throughout because I kept showing up!  If I had just gone off sick for the duration I would have got my contractual month and no more.  


It may be worth contacting Macmillan as I think they are generally good with advice on finances and benefits

hi everyone,

Thanks for the heads up! This is much appreciated and very reassuring. I am very lucky in that I have an office type role and, luckier than that, I work from home 99.9% of the time so I’m pretty sure this won’t change throughout my treatment.  I plan to continue to work as much and as often as I can but I guess I can’t help but feel panic at the sheer drop in income that may be round the corner.  

I just hope my employer continues to be supportive and I feel up to working! 

Thanks again

Hi Nicola, I felt the same as you r.e working when I first got my diagnosis (I am self employed and work from home). Whilst I was lucky enough to not have chemo, I am currently on day 10 of 20 rads sessions and working through this hasn’t been a problem so far (just a bit more tired than usual!). I had lumpectomy and SNB and felt fine to do a bit of work just a few days later.
If your treatment plan includes hormone tablets you can get an NHS exemption card so you’ll get free prescriptions for the duration of treatment…
Have you checked any insurances r.e your mortgage for critical illness cover?
I hope this helps a bit to put your mind at rest. Best of luck with your follow up appointment xx

hi Gail,
Thanks for the reply also. 

Policies we have are currently being looked at by our financial advisor. We do have critical illness cover but breast cancer is listed as not covered - apparently not critical enough (who knew!) but it is listed under a critical illness benefit, whatever that means so that’s why it’s with him and he’s doing the leg work. 
I hope your treatment is going well. I find it odd that I feel mentally strong enough to cope with whatever drugs they throw at me and whatever side effects but that financial worry is taking over.


Hi Nicola
As you work from home, I think you will probably manage fine. There will be time after surgery before your next treatment. If you have chemo, then generally 2 out of 3 weeks are manageable. And rads are doable if you have treatment at the end of the day.
We all have different worries throughout this difficult time. It may well be your brain using diversion tactics to cope! And also a way of maintaining control.
Best wishes and come and chat anytime
Sue xx

Hi Nicola, as the others have said, it depends what treatment you have as to how much time you may need off work. I had a lumpectomy, then a re-excision (due to unclear margins) so that resulted in 4 weeks off work. I didn’t have chemo but did have 20 rads sessions and arranged my appointments for after work so managed to work all through.  Could your mortgage company perhaps let you have a break from payments if your treatment is going to be longer term? I’m sure I’ve read about this being possible somewhere.


Hope all goes well for you.

Michelle xx

Thanks everyone. 
I really appreciate the heads up and any help and advice certainly puts me at ease!
I’m not a worrier most of the time but I hate being financially “stuck”.  My work is a big part of my life, I enjoy it and I enjoy the side effects of earning lol. I think most people do! 

I’m hoping all will be ok and it’ll work out 

Hi Nicola.


I live in northern ireland as well.


I am having my first appointment  on the 8th November as well.


Wishing you all the best.