Unpacking the costs of cancer

Monday 29 April, 2019

Cancer can come with many additional expenses that are not covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Medications, tests, scans, transport, and specialist fees that sit outside the health system add up and often need to come out of a patient’s own pocket. A recent survey by the Consumer Health Forum has found that half of Australians with cancer have out-of-pocket costs in excess of $5,000.

“These extra costs are often unexpected and can seriously impact families, particularly if the primary caregiver has to take time off work for treatment, or to look after someone,” says Danielle Spence, Head of Strategy and Support, Cancer Council Victoria.

“When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you don’t know how much it’s going to cost you – and often no one tells you,” she continued. “At a time when people should be focused on their recovery, extra, and often unavoidable costs, can become a real source of stress and worry.”

How we can help

Our experienced cancer nurses are available. Whether you have having or finished treatment, our nurses are here for you. In 2018, Cancer Council nurses responded to more than 11,060 requests for support in Victoria alone, a third of these were regarding practical matters including financial and legal issues.

When you call 13 11 20 or email askanurse@cancervic.org.au, our nurses will tailor information dependent on your circumstances and offer a range of support services.

There are four Pro Bono programs for people experiencing financial hardship as the result of their cancer diagnosis - the Legal Referral Service, the Financial Planning Referral Service, the Workplace Advisory Service, and the Small Business Advice Service. These Programs can help with:

  • gaining early access to superannuation
  • managing insurance claims and disputes
  • managing credit and debt issues
  • managing workplace and employment issues
  • handling disruption to your small business.
  • preparing wills and power of attorney documents.

Contact our cancer nurses to find out more. We also have information about Cancer and your Finances on our website to help understand how you can manage your finances following a cancer diagnosis.

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