Where can you go for financial and practical support?
Cancer can have financial implications, such as the cost of certain treatments and / or medications, or the cost of having to take time off work, leading to loss of income.
A number of services can help by providing payments and services to you if you have an illness, injury or a disability that means you can’t work, can only do a limited amount of work, or have additional expenses related to your prostate cancer.
For more information on these services visit the following links:
Some organisations provide financial planning that may help with structuring any changes to expenses and the family budget. Ask your healthcare team member for a referral.
Managing the costs of procedures and treatments
Travelling for medical treatment or procedures
Treatments for prostate cancer are also available in both the public and private sectors. Medicare covers most of the costs of procedures and tests used to diagnose and treat prostate cancer, but there may be some ‘out-of-pocket’ costs. Some of your medications may not be covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), so it’s important to ask your doctor about what costs to expect.
If you have health insurance, ask your doctor for the item numbers for the procedures you are having done, you can then call your insurance company to see if they will cover all or some of the cost of the procedures.
Be sure to ask your doctor or a member of your healthcare team to explain why you need certain procedures and tests, and the potential financial costs to you. Your doctor is required to provide you with a quote for any out-of-pocket expenses that are associated with treatment.
Medicare also covers some of the costs of seeing a mental health professional and allied health services (e.g. a physiotherapist). To receive financial assistance through Medicare the first step is to talk to your GP (doctor) about a Chronic Disease Management Plan – follow the link to learn more: Department of Health and Aged Care | Chronic Disease Management Patient Information
To find out more about supporting your mental and physical health and wellbeing, follow the links below:
If you need to travel for medical treatment, each state and territory has a government-funded assistance scheme to help patients who must travel long distances to obtain specialist treatment that is not available locally.
These are commonly called Patient Assisted Travel Schemes (PATS) and help with travel expenses and accommodation costs for you and someone to accompany you. You can find your local PATS on the Healthdirect website https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/travelling-to-your-healthcare-appointment
Financial support for carers
There are also government payments for people who provide daily care for someone with a medical condition. You can visit the Services Australia website for more information on what you are entitled to at Carer Payment – Services Australia
Managing the costs of incontinence
There is government support available if you are suffering incontinence. For more information, visit the Australian Department of Health at Bladder and bowel | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
Organising your work life
You might need to take time off work to travel to treatment centres or to recover from treatment. You might not be able to do physically demanding work for some time after some treatments. Some side effects from treatment can also affect your work performance, which means you might need to take frequent or longer breaks. Being open with employers and your workmates (if possible) will help them understand your situation and any challenges you may have.
If you are a permanent employee, your employer should have a clear leave entitlement policy. It might be useful for you to check what leave entitlements you have and to use them to manage time needed for treatment or recovery.
You can discuss a ‘Return to work plan’ with your employer if you have had to spend time away from your workplace. If you are self-employed or casual, you will need to arrange work demands so they fit with time needed for treatment or recovery.
Organising your work life will help you to manage the changes caused by treatment. This can often be difficult to do. In some cases, you may qualify for government financial assistance. For more information visit: Work – Services Australia
- Cancer can have financial implications due to treatments, procedures, medications and travel, and may affect your ability to work
- Services Australia, Medicare and other organisations can help with payments, financial planning advice, treatment and medication costs, seeing mental health or allied professionals, travel and incontinence costs and financial support for carers
- Organising your work life will help you to manage the changes caused by treatment – in some cases, you may qualify for government financial assistance