CANCER sufferers' calls for fairer access to the benefits system have been backed by Wyre Forest's MP.

Dr Richard Taylor has signed an all-party parliamentary petition supporting Macmillan Cancer Relief's Better Deal campaign.

The charity launched the initiative following complaints from cancer patients they suffered financial hardship due to their illnesses.

Some claimed the financial worries were second only to physical pain in causing stress.

More than three-quarters of people surveyed by the charity said they faced extra costs like higher heating bills, travel for treatment and new clothes because of weight change.

The parliamentary petition - in the form of an Early Day Motion - calls on the Government to ensure every cancer patient is offered specialist advice at diagnosis.

It also argues for a change in the law to improve patients' access to Disability Living Allowance - DLA - and Attendance Allowance - AA.

This could be done, Macmillan claims, by waiving the rule that requires people to wait up to six months to claim those benefits.

Thousands of cancer patients would benefit, says the charity, as their treatment means costs increase quickly after diagnosis - often as their income falls.

Dr Taylor said: "I was delighted to sign a parliamentary petition supporting Macmillan Cancer Relief's Better Deal campaign.

"It is vital that we address this issue urgently to ensure that cancer patients have access to the information and financial support that they are entitled to.

"A cancer diagnosis can be devastating enough, without the added worry of financial hardship.

"It is imperative that we work together to get a better deal for people dealing with cancer and stop cancer spreading to people's finances."