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The Real Cost of Childhood and Adolescent Cancer

The Irish Cancer Society is seeking to understand the financial implications of a childhood and adolescent cancer diagnosis.

Each year, approximately 200 children/adolescents are diagnosed with cancer. Families and adult survivors can face many challenges as a result, not least financial.

The Irish Cancer Society asked Core Research to do this research to understand the financial impact of a childhood and adolescent cancer diagnosis.

The research took place in 2 parts:

  1. An online survey questionnaire (run between 5-19 August 2021) was created to understand the range of costs associated with a cancer diagnosis.
  2. An online community in which parents/guardians and adults survivors can share their experience was made, taking place in late August/early September 2021.

What is the real cost of childhood and adolescent cancer?

Costs for parents/guardians

Following their child’s diagnosis, parents/guardians reported

  • a loss of personal monthly income, an average of €1,280
  • Medication is a significant expense
  • Mental health supports are necessary but costly
  • Costs associated with attending appointments are a significant burden for families as they face a range of costs from education support, to one-off costs such as wigs and hair pieces
  • Parents also faced additional day-to-day expenses such as food costs, clothing and mobile data

Costs for adult survivors

Costs reported by adult survivors of childhood/adolescent cancer include the following

  • Ongoing medical costs
  • Ongoing health impacts
  • Impact on access to finance and insurance premiums
  • Adverse effects on career or education

Accessing financial products for young cancer survivors

The Irish Cancer Society hosted a public webinar in September 202 called "Accessing financial products for young cancer survivors."

We were joined by panellists:

  • Frances Fitzgerald MEP
  • Sam Russell, young person surviving cancer
  • Rachel Morrogh, Director of Advocacy and External Affairs, Irish Cancer Society

We discussed the following topics:

  • The financial difficulties faced by young cancer survivors with securing stability through accessing mortgages and insurance.
  • What is being done in the EU to protect young cancer survivors; an overview of “The Right to be Forgotten”.
  • An overview of the results of the Irish Cancer Society’s report on accessing financial products.
  • The supports available when facing financial challenges.

Watch the full recording below:

Real Cost Of Childhood Cancer Policy Paper
Report: Real Cost of Childhood and adolescent Cancer
Understanding Issues and Promoting Actions. Read the full report here
car parking charges families
Policy brief: Energy hardship for cancer patients at the end of life (February 2024)
Read the full Advocacy: Nurses’ perspective on energy hardship (December 2024)

Share your story

The Irish Cancer Society invites people to share their story if they have been impacted by a childhood/adolescent cancer diagnosis. If you are a parent/guardian or adult survivor, and interested in becoming a media volunteer, please fill out our online interest form and a member of our team will contact you.

Media volunteers can play an important role in sharing their experience and in raising awareness of specific issues. Media volunteers may be asked to share their story in national or local newspapers and/or magazines, on the Irish Cancer Society website, social media or in publications, on the radio or television.

Data protection

Please find more information on the Irish Cancer Society’s Privacy Policy here.

If you have any queries regarding the processing of your personal data in this research or to exercise your data protection rights, please contact the Irish Cancer Society Data Protection Officer at:

Core’s Privacy Policy can be found here.

Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700. Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

For more information

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01 231 0500

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