Prostate cancer is estimated to be the leading cause of the burden of disease in Australian men, and is the most common cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), accounting for 30.0 per cent of all new cancers in men in 2010. Treatment for prostate cancer can be very expensive and difficult for many patients. Prostate cancer is merely related with age and the chance of developing prostate cancer increases as men get older, and familial history of prostate cancer is another risk factor that should be taken into account when talking about prostate cancer.
It is estimated that one in 9 men in cancer will develop cancer in their lifetime, however, due to easy diagnose and available treatment the survival rate is on a constant rise, and the 5 year survival rate is over 90%, but this comes with a costly price.
Despite medical insurance and health funds, men with prostate cancer are dealing out-of-pocket expenses of up to $23,000 in order to pay for treatment for prostate cancer because health insurance don’t cover the full cost of their treatment, and at the same time as they face great medical bills they need to take around a month off work while they are treated. A research amongst Australian male patients shows that one in three patients are ‘just getting on’ or ‘struggling’ and 22 per cent reported difficulty paying everyday bills, mainly utilities, car registration and medical consultations.
Many patients turn to medical fundraising, and there are such possibilities for patients dealing with prostate cancer that can help obtaining the finances for treatment.
1) Non-profit organizations
Organizations such as Australian Cancer Foundation can help with out-of-pocket costs to cancer patients. Their purpose is assisting patients and their families by providing patient accommodation and financial assistance. Since many of the additional expenses are due to needed accommodation while treatment you can search for possibilities for residencies around Australia. They also support families by payment of household bills, including phone bills and other utilities.
2) Government programs
Even though most of the governmental programs are related to research and treatment, there are programs available that are offering practical help to cancer patients. Cancer Australia, a governmental body is supporting prostate cancer patients. You can apply for practical help including nurse care, home care, therapists, meals, etc. Supportive care services are also offered by the Health department include Patient Assistance Travel Scheme (PATS), that can cover travel and accommodation costs, and other schemes giving interpreter services, indigenous liaison, patient advocate and cancer care coordinator. Australian men report that specialist consultations were the most expensive item for patients with prostate cancer followed by outpatient visits and overnight hospital stays.
3) Medical fundraising
Medical fundraising is another option for paying treatment bills, and the possibilities are limitless. From online fundraiser to community and public actions you can raise awareness and raise funds at the same time. Your story matter to the world and by medical fundraising and a successful campaign you can raise all the costs related to your medical needs and with the family budget. Creating an online fundraiser on platforms such as PeoplePledge Australia is often the first step towards fundraising, and can be broaden to social media campaigns, public actions, community activism and media actions.
1) Prostate cancer statistics: http://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-statistics
2) Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) Books – Prostate cancer for Australia http://www.aihw.gov.au/acim-books/
3) Prostate cancer patient anger at huge bills despite paying insurance: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/prostate-cancer-patient-anger-at-huge-bills-despite-paying-insurance/story-fneuzlbd-1226711959215