Thursday, 8 May 2014

The cost of cancer

The average cost of cancer treatment in the UK (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy) costs around £30,000 per person. When I first discovered this fact I was shocked. It wasn't that I put a price on my life, rather I felt undeserving that such a large sum of money be spent on a treatment plan which offered a statistically low chance of long-term survival, when MANY other lives, at risk purely for want of food and clean water could be saved for that price. And so I quickly realised that cancer is big business. In the UK we are fortunate to have the NHS, and I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory that doctors want us ill to line their pockets. What I DO believe is that big pharma makes a killing (literally) from it's drug profits. This poses certain problems. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of pounds developing drugs and getting them approved. They need to charge extortionate fees to cover their costs before patents expire. However, this also means that companies are reluctant to investigate natural substances which cannot be patented. If we only believe what the European Medicines Agency (EMA) sells us, then we are in big trouble.

It's expensive to go it alone in treating cancer, to pay for private doctors, to buy equipment, and even to eat well. I've been incredibly lucky to have been supported financially, emotionally and mentally by my husband, family and friends. I understand that for many this level of financial commitment is difficult if not impossible. 

However, in the face of regularly being told "I can't afford to eat well/heal naturally" I would say that there are many things we can each do that cost very little. Emotional health is at the heart of most disease. Meditation costs nothing, and prolonged practice has been proven to reverse disease. Borrowing books from the library is free. I would recommend 'You Can Heal Your Life' by Louise Hay as a good place to start in releasing blocked emotions. Many towns in the UK have cancer care centres where you can have free healing. I was grateful to receive (free) Reiki, Aromatherapy and counselling at The Nightingale Centre when I lived in London. Yes2Life is a fantastic charity which offers guidance in locating support centres. They have a scheme to help cancer patients fund their treatment, and I was fortunate to receive a grant towards buying a FAR infrared sauna. Macmillan also offer one off grants of up to £289 to help cancer patients during treatment. (You can get application forms from your breast nurse). You don't need to join a gym to exercise. Walking is free and gentle on your body, whilst being in nature is grounding and energising. Organic food is expensive it's true, but when cooking from scratch and removing meat, alcohol, sweets and processed food from the trolley, you can expect to actually reduce your grocery bills. Buying in bulk from companies like Goodness Direct saves money, and growing-your-own is also an option for many. We've recently joined an organic allotment project. We devote our time to helping with the plot, and in return get fresh, organic produce for a small donation. Water filtration systems (as described in this post) can be prohibitively expensive, yet are an important aspect of healing. Until you can afford the best, make do with a colloidal silver jug filter for all cooking and drinking needs. 

My point is that you can make changes if you choose to, but you have to WANT to take responsibility for your own health. Many of us have given away our power and feel helpless and stuck (in a stressful job or an unhappy marriage), but we've made choices to get into these situations, and can make choices to change them. For many people, reducing stress, and getting happy are fundamental to healing.


  1. Another great blog post Nicola - thank you! I love that you offer so many opportunities for people to take action and responsibility for their lives.

  2. Thanks Karen! And thanks for reading. x

  3. Hi Nicola. Treating cancer is expensive for sure - particularly conventionally. I am insured with BUPA who happily funded the costs of my conventional exploration and treatment but will fund none of the alternative treatments that I have now chosen. Frustratingly they happily paid £1000 for an appointment I had with a Professor for 20 minutes - whose chemotherapy advice I did not follow. My resultant choices of treatment are self funded and BUPA simply aren't interested. It's a great frustration that insurance companies Re not more open to the choices that patients make. Keep up with the blog - I sometimes feel that we are running a parallel existence.

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  5. Amanda, that's so frustrating. Imagine if we got our 'chemo' allowance to spend as we pleased on alternative therapies (that's my fantasy!) Sadly if you reject conventional treatment you have to fund it yourself. Thanks for reading :) I'd love to hear more about your journey. x

  6. Agree Nicola

    Love to share my journey . I'm contemplating starting a blog also myself maybe. Are you attending the back2health cancer conference in Exeter? How do I connect with you outside of these comments ?

    1. No, I'm not attending that conference - are you? Would be interested to hear your highlights. I'm seeing Bruce Lipton speak on Saturday which should be very interesting. You should absolutely start a blog - I find it incredibly therapeutic. You can contact me on I'd love to hear from you. x

  7. Hi Nicola - I'll mail you . Great . I'm also seeing bruce lipton on Saturday - so we can meet in person then .

    Looking forward x

  8. Oh brilliant! I look forward to meeting you. I think that his talk will be fascinating. x