IT has been revealed that escalating out-of-pocket costs associated with a cancer diagnosis are deterring some people from seeking treatment.
Cancer Council Queensland’s Everyday Health Survey, Health System Quality and Costs, revealed that high out-of-pocket costs discouraged 35% of people from seeking medical advice when they noticed signs and symptoms of cancer.
The new data also showed 63% of people struggled to meet out-of-pocket costs during cancer treatment, with 26 per cent reporting a severe impact financially.
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Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the crippling financial burden faced by thousands of Queensland families affected by cancer each year could have a detrimental effect on survival outcomes.
“Escalating out-of-pocket costs not only contribute to the severe physical and psychological costs faced by cancer patients and their carers, but financial distress can influence decisions about treatment,” Ms McMillan said.
“It’s greatly concerning that up to two thirds of patients struggle to meet the costs associated with a cancer diagnosis, with others deterred from seeking treatment if they can’t afford it.”
Ms McMillan said that shockingly, one survey respondent admitted that the financial stress of being able to meet bills was more frightening than the cancer diagnosis itself.
McMillan has since called on the Federal and State Government to act urgently to ensure that individual wealth did not play a role in the uptake of adequate treatment.
“It’s time for the Federal and State Government to respond to calls for help from our community, and reduce the financial burden of cancer on those affected,” Ms McMillan said.
“It’s critical that every Queenslander diagnosed with cancer has access to treatment and support, without accumulating crippling debt as a result of the disease.
“While organisations like Cancer Council provide vital emotional, practical and some financial assistance, it is a matter for Government to ensure that subsidised health services are available for those most in need.”