- Over the total lifetime of treatment, Australian cancer patients pay about 15 per cent of the cost of their cancer care themselves
- The total amount paid by Australians has been rising and is now estimated to be 20 per cent of total healthcare expenditure
- 'Financial toxicity’ is the distress or hardship arising from the financial burden of cancer treatment and is increasingly considered a side effect of cancer treatment
Although Australia has one of the highest performing healthcare systems in the world, the total amount paid by Australians for treatment from their own pockets has been rising – even more so for those with private health insurance.
The distress arising from the financial burden of treatment, known as ‘ financial toxicity’, is increasingly considered a side effect of cancer treatment. It can impact significantly on a person’s health and decision-making, with some Australians reporting they have skipped medication for financial reasons, or they are unable to cover other expenses because of the costs of treatment.
Currently, the burden of discovering treatment costs rests, for the most part, with patients which is neither practical nor ideal, especially if patients are vulnerable, distressed, or have low health literacy.
Better mechanisms are required to ensure patients are fully informed about treatment costs, including supporting doctors to discuss treatment and non-medical costs with patients – this is known as Informed Financial Consent.
- We worked with strategic partners, Cancer Council Victoria and Cancer Council Australia to review and provide input to the Informed Financial Consent Standard developed by Cancer Council Australia.
- We support Cancer Council Victoria and Cancer Council Australia with their advocacy efforts for policy and law reform to reduce the costs of cancer care in Australia.