While breast cancer is primarily considered a woman’s disease, men can also be afflicted with the condition. Although men with breast cancer is rare, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancers, it is equally important for men that any changes or discomfort felt in their breasts be reported immediately to their health care practitioner.
Based on statistics collected in 2010, 127 men were diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia, and early detection and treatment are the best way to survive the disease. One of the most promising drugs to treat cancer in Australia is Taxotere which is available to patients under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Typically the government funded Taxotere is used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to benefit the chances of surviving early stage breast cancer. The typical costs of this treatment can reach up to $8,000- $9,000 for 4 treatment cycles but under the TGA approved used of Taxotere the same is available for the cost of a PBS script for Australian patients.
However there are a number of other male patients who need to access the drug for cancers other than breast cancer. Such patients are allowed 10 shots of the drug under the PBS but not anymore. To pursue their treatment, cancer patients need to find other ways to collect funds for financing their cancer therapy. Some of these options include the following:
Australians can apply for early release of their superannuation on compassionate grounds for experiencing severe financial hardship. One of these conditions includes coping with extravagant medical bills. This condition allows individuals to apply for early superannuation since neither the public health system nor private insurance can cover the overhead costs of treatment. And because most individuals do not have the financial means to meet these expenses without gaining access to their superannuation, they can apply to the Department of Human Services for approval of early release of the funds.
Another option is to explore the possibility of online fundraising for men with breast cancer. There are a number of websites that specialize in assisting individuals to raise funds specifically for meeting medical expenses or other related costs. However individuals must be mindful that most are not for free. Using a free service is great to cut costs. Such a fundraising tactic is useful in garnering fast and widespread attention to a cause. Funds can be raised at a much quicker pace and collected from a greater number of donors than by traditional fundraising events. Donations can come from other individuals who may personally be able to relate to the cause or are compelled by the urgency of the situation.
Cancer patients will also need to supplement the coverage provided by Medicare with other types of private insurance to meet their medical expenses. Private insurance can be useful in covering the gap after Medicare resources have been exhausted and since a lot of cancer care is delivered outside the hospital patients may still need to incur out of pocket expenses. It is important to get private insurance that meets the individual patient’s needs and can help them most regarding their treatment coverage. However, private insurance may not cover all the associated costs so there may still be some out of pocket fees that men with breast cancer will face.
1. What is Taxotere: http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/Taxotere.aspx
2. Not just a woman’s disease: http://breastcancerinmen.canceraustralia.gov.au/
3. Dying man denied access to vital cancer therapy drug: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/dying-man-denied-access-to-vital-cancer-therapy-drug/story-e6frea83-1225847169195
4. Australia Leads the World in Funding Treatment for Early-stage Breast Cancer: http://www.femail.com.au/treatment-for-early-stage-breast-cancer.htm
5. Medical treatment or transport: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/early-release-of-superannuation/compassionate-grounds-medical-treatment
6. Health care in Australia: http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/87283/b1000/understanding-your-rights-46/health-care-in-australia/