Breast cancer’s financial burden

Richard Laycock 25 September 2017

Doctor treating patient

Report finds that the average woman pays $5,000 in out-of-pocket costs in the five years after their diagnosis.

Women with private health insurance are paying close to double for treatment than those choosing to go public, according to a first-of-its-kind Australian report, The Financial Impact of Breast Cancer.

The report by Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and Deloitte Access found that those choosing to use the public system to treat their breast cancer paid roughly $3,600 in out-of-pocket costs.

However, women with private health cover were liable to pay roughly $7,000 for treatment, $3,400 more than if they'd gone public.

The survey of 1,919 BCNA members found that almost a quarter of those who chose to go private had out-of-pocket medical costs over $21,000.

The report found a huge disparity in the out-of-pocket costs experienced by BCNA members, with some 12% reporting that they had no out-of-pocket costs and 25% saying their out-of-pocket costs were greater than $17,200.

And these figures don't take into account the financial burden placed on women who may have had to take a sabbatical from work or reduce their hours.

"It’s also important to remember that not everyone has a second income they can fall back on – for single women with breast cancer who need to reduce their hours or stop work altogether, this can cause significant stress and worry,” said BCNA CEO, Christine Nolan, in a statement.

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