Meet Antony: helping patients navigate the cost of cancer

Monday 11 May, 2020

Antony Mitchell

Despite Australia’s universal health care system there are many unexpected and hidden costs that accompany a diagnosis of cancer that can seriously impact patients and their families.

Medications, tests, scans, transport, and specialist fees add up and often need to come out of a patient’s own pocket.

Many people may have to stop work while they have treatment or care for a patient, so paying for this in addition to the usual life expenses can be difficult. Follow-up care can also be costly, as people may need ongoing appointments and tests.

Add COVID-19 to the mix and it’s not hard to imagine the impact this is having on people’s emotional and financial wellbeing.

As part of our commitment to providing cancer support, Cancer Council is pleased to introduce Antony Mitchell. Antony’s recently been appointed to the role of financial counsellor to assist people struggling with the day-to-day financial challenges of a cancer diagnosis.

In previous roles, Antony has worked with people who have experienced financial difficulty through extended periods of cancer, seeing first-hand the importance of freeing people of the additional stress during their treatment and recovery.

“Putting in place supports that allow patients to manage their finances is particularly important at a time when the effects of both the disease and treatment can impact their ability to respond to financial matters,” said Antony.

“I’m looking forward to assisting people to get the right advice for their financial circumstances and to help relieve some of the pressure of the cost of a cancer diagnosis.”

Antony is part of Cancer Council’s financial assistance team, who work with people that have been referred to Cancer Council by the 13 11 20 cancer nurses or health professionals and need financial help. In 2019, Cancer Council provided direct practical assistance from the Financial Assistance Program to over 1,000 people affected by cancer.

In his role, Antony provides financial counselling and support to relieve people’s immediate financial concerns, whilst also working with the team to develop and expand Cancer Council’s current services and programs.

“No one is immune to stress and anxiety when dealing with cancer. Financial advice is so important during these times, and I am so appreciative that a Cancer Council financial counsellor reached out to me,”  Vicki, caller to 13 11 20

In addition to now being able to offer specialist financial counselling to people affected by cancer, Cancer Council also has two key financial support programs for people affected by cancer that need financial assistance:

Financial Assistance Program

The Financial Assistance Program provides people who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of a cancer diagnosis, with a small, one-off grant to cover everyday costs such as buying groceries or paying phone bills. This is administered by Cancer Council’s financial assistance team and requires referral from a health professional and eligibility criteria applies.

Financial Planning

Offered as part of Cancer Council’s pro bono services, the Financial Planning Referral Service is delivered by professionals in the community who volunteer their time to assist clients who cannot afford to pay for advice. This service is available for people experiencing financial hardship as a result of their cancer diagnosis and eligibility criteria applies.

Contact our cancer nurses on 13 11 20 for further information about our financial assistance programs.