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Brave Bromley mother Amanda shares chemotherapy loneliness warning

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 January 2019

Amanda Mahoney has metastatic breast cancer and concerns even about the chill weather can load up the depression. Photo: Macmillan Cancer Support

Amanda Mahoney has metastatic breast cancer and concerns even about the chill weather can load up the depression. Photo: Macmillan Cancer Support

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Battling cancer can be all-consuming, but one Bromley mum says isolation and money worries can also add to the stress a sufferer has to endure.

Amanda Mahoney has metastatic breast cancer and concerns even about the chill weather can load up the depression.

She has been sharing her struggle to keep warm this winter while undergoing chemotherapy in the hope her story will help others cope better.

And thanks to a Macmillan Cancer Support team up with npower, it is hoped other cancer patients around the UK will benefit if they are struggling with their energy costs at this most expensive time of year.

The 47-year-old is still undergoing treatment for breast cancer but became worried about paying all her bills, including those for energy at her Downham home.

The mum-of-two said: “I am often too frightened to put the heating on.

“My pain levels are worse in the cold and damp weather. Since I have been back on chemo, I feel extremes of temperature more and struggle to get and stay warm.

“As a result of cancer treatment complications, my pain is widespread and restricts movement, which then impacts on my mobility. I become more isolated, as I am less likely to leave the house and this is detrimental to my mood and wellbeing. A cold house exacerbates the problem.”

Few know that cancer sufferers can often feel the cold more than others as a side-effect of the condition.

So now Macmillan Cancer Support and npower are taking away some of the worry for those living with cancer this winter by capping bills and even writing off debt for eligible customers.

Having cancer often means having to leave employment and then on top of that, increasing heating during the winter months.

Amanda said: “I have been a cancer patient for seven years and although I have worked whenever I’ve been able, I have no savings. You’re always in a place where you’re anxious, which is a terrible state for someone living with cancer – I’m often too frightened to put the heating on, as I worry so much about paying bills. And local, government and supplier-specific schemes are not made widely public.

“I’ve slept on my sofa under my coat when my children aren’t at home because I can’t afford to use heating un-necessarily. I budget weekly for my gas and electric, but I’m struggling to pay for basics including heating – I can’t afford to catch a cold because I can’t afford to put the heat on.”

Another polar vortex is being predicted for the UK, and just last year we had the so-called Beast from the East sending the mercury plunging.

Karen Roberts is Macmillan’s chief nursing officer. She said: “When a person feels cold they often also become less active, which can become a vicious cycle where they become increasingly frail and tired, and therefore feel even more cold and miserable.

“It is unacceptable that in 2018, people having treatment for cancer, who may also be struggling with their mental health, are being forced to suffer in the cold without knowing where to turn for support.

“Macmillan’s Energy Advice Team, which receives funding from npower and offers support and advice regardless of the caller’s energy supplier, has seen such high demand that the team has recently doubled in size. “Macmillan also has a broad range of cancer support services available - including a community of over 7,700 healthcare professionals, a support line and a 24/7 online community.”

nPower’s Matthew Cole added: “The work Macmillan do is so important and that’s why we have been supporting them for the last 14 years.

“During that time, we’ve been able to help thousands of families affected by cancer and have seen first-hand the difference this can make. “Customers living with cancer can count on us to stay warm without worrying this winter.”

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