Cancer information for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People

Practical information for people having treatment

Do I have to pay for cancer treatment?

If you go to a public hospital, your treatment will be free. You can’t choose your own doctor and you may be on a waiting list for treatment.

If you have private health insurance, the insurer will pay some of the costs but you might have to pay part of the bill. You can choose where to get treatment and which doctor to see.

Can I get help with money?

Ask your hospital social worker if Centrelink can provide help with money. Centrelink also has payments for carers.

If you are paying for treatment, ask your doctor if you can pay a little bit at a time (instalments) or for more time to pay your bill.

How do I get to treatment?

Some people can get cancer treatment close to home, but other people have to travel to get treatment. This takes time and costs money.

If you have to travel for treatment, there may be a program in your state or territory to refund some of your money. For example, NSW has a program for people who travel more than 100 km each way for treatment. The hospital social worker can help you apply. You may need to keep your original travel tickets, receipts and invoices.

Where will I stay?

You might stay in hospital for treatment (inpatient) or come and go each day (outpatient).

If you are an outpatient, you might want to stay near the hospital. Ask the social worker if there is accommodation close by and if your family can stay too. You might be able find a local hotel, motel or hostel.

What if I have a complaint?

Talk to your doctor or nurse first. You can also talk to the social worker or Aboriginal liaison person.

If your problem isn’t solved, talk to the Health Care Complaints Commission.