Rights of people affected by cancer

  • People with cancer have a right to receive safe, quality and competent health care
  • People affected by cancer have a right to be free from unlawful discrimination in a number of areas of life


People affected by cancer – both people with cancer and carers – have a range of rights and responsibilities that affect their cancer journey relating to medical treatment; the conduct of medical professionals; privacy; the workplace; and access to goods and services.

In Australia, people with cancer, including their family members, report difficulties in obtaining travel or life insurance following a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Australians affected by cancer also report being unfairly treated or discriminated against at work, despite legal protections being in place for people with cancer and people with caring responsibilities.

When people affected by cancer face discrimination or unfair treatment, it compounds their cancer experience, creating greater distress and uncertainty for their future – law plays an important role in avoiding and mitigating this.

Our contribution

  • We work with Cancer Council Victoria and Cancer Council Australia, and other cancer support organisations, to help people affected by cancer understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
  • We deliver presentations, seminars and workshops to health workers to enable them to better understand and engage with the law.
  • We closely monitor legal developments that impact people affected by cancer and prepare submissions to state and national governments, such as regulation of fake cancer cure claims in the Victorian Health Complaints Act 2016.