People who have cancer or are recovering from cancer are being penalised by travel insurance providers, according to a new report.

Macmillan Cancer Support says people affected by cancer are being “short changed” when they go abroad, with one in 17 being refused insurance cover and two in five (39 per cent) cancer patients being quoted higher travel insurance premiums – some as high as two or three times the cost of their holiday. Many more face tactless and insensitive questions.

Ayesha Owusu-Barnaby, the charity’s head of campaigns, said: “Cancer is changing, and it looks like the insurance industry needs to move with the times. It has to recognise that not everybody with cancer is going to die.”

Speaking at the launch of the charity’s new campaign, Recovered but Not Covered, Owusu-Barnaby said most people live long and active lives after cancer and she called on the travel insurance industry to “look again at the risk posed by people affected by cancer and improve the deal offered to them”.