The Beacon June FY22


“We were about $20,000 out-of-pocket for the treatment and all the extras.” – LISA

A breast cancer diagnosis should Lisa was 45 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She had prepared herself for all the appointments and treatment, but wasn’t expecting to end up tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. ‘I had two kids and a mortgage, my income disappeared, the medical bills started mounting up and our savings were devoured. Finances became an all-consuming worry at a time when I was depleted and vulnerable,’ she says. not mean financial hardship and yet, for so many families, it does. Despite conversations about being involved in making decisions about her treatment and care, Lisa didn’t feel she had the right information to make informed decisions about her finances. ‘We were about $20,000 out-of-pocket for the treatment and all the extras.’ Reducing the financial impact of a diagnosis is a key priority for BCNA’s advocacy work. The first year of our Strategic Plan: Towards 2025 focuses on ensuring people like Lisa are less likely to be left with a staggering bill and mounting debt. We also continue to equip people with the information they need when it comes to making informed choices about treatments and whether to go private or public.

Our support includes: • Free, accurate and comprehensive information about the out-of-pocket costs of cancer and what financial support is available • Urging the federal government to increase subsidies for important tests and treatments, provide earlier access to superannuation to help fund treatment and care, and appoint Chronic Illness Liaison Officers within Centrelink to provide specialist financial support. Like so many others, Lisa was unable to work while undergoing treatment. But that didn’t stop the bills from piling up. ‘Even though I had private health cover, the costs kept coming. You still pay an excess for the hospital stays, and gaps for the surgeons and the anaesthetists.’ Lisa is now using her experience to help others. She has joined BCNA’s Financial Impacts Working Group, alongside other women who’ve experienced financial hardship, to help us identify additional ways to reduce the financial burden for people diagnosed with breast cancer. We’d appreciate your support so we can help people focus on their treatment and health, not their next bill, through BCNA’s continued advocacy efforts. For more information and to donate by 30 June, please visit BCNA’s tax appeal website .


Issue 89 | October 2021

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