Improving quality of life.

How you’ve made a difference in 2019/20

“The financial stress was worse than the stress about dying. I just thought, I can’t afford to die right now.”
– Ryan Channells, melanoma survivor

When Ryan Channells was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, he wasn’t just dealing with the news that he might not see another Christmas. He was also worried about the financial implications, and how he would support his family while travelling hours to Sydney for treatment.

Thanks to you, we were able to be there for this volunteer firefighter and his young family when they needed us most.

$in financial assistance payments
2,234

people struggling with the high cost of cancer received financial assistance

224

people in financial difficulty received practical financial advice

551

cancer patients received cleaning and gardening assistance

2,258

cancer patients and carers received affordable accommodation

You’ve helped cancer patients get to treatment

During COVID-19, 91% of our Transport to Treatment volunteer drivers deemed high-risk (all drives aged over 60) were temporarily stood down. Since March, 91 people have responded to our calls for more volunteer drivers, ensuring people affected by cancer could still get to their treatment during the pandemic.

“My mum showed me a post on Facebook that said Cancer Council was desperately looking for volunteers, so I thought I’d do my best to help someone out at a time that they needed it the most.”
– Jess Donnelly, Transport to Treatment volunteer driver

My wife has had breast cancer twice, and I’d seen patients who didn’t have their own transport getting help to and from the hospital, so there was a connection there.

– John Fox, Transport to Treatment driver

Read John’s story

Continuing support during the bushfires

Our staff heard stories of people with cancer experiencing emotional and financial distress – and at risk of being unable to attend their cancer treatment – due to disruptions caused by the summer bushfires.

Our teams worked to highlight these issues to the NSW Government, writing to the Health Minister, as well as working with the Minister’s advisers and the Ministry of Health to find a solution to the problem.

As a result of our advocacy, the Health Minister and Deputy Premier announced a relaxation of the eligibility criteria for the Isolated Patient Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), which meant that people in bushfire affected areas could access financial assistance towards transport and accommodation when travelling to their cancer treatments.

Worrying about where we were going to stay while I was going through treatment was shocking.

– Chris Iversen, cancer survivor

Read Chris and Shayne’s story

You’ve provided financial assistance when times are tough

A cancer diagnosis can be extremely stressful and financial issues can add additional strain.

Our trained financial counsellors provide practical advice to help people affected by cancer manage their personal budget and finances. They help patients and their families with their budgets, negotiate with creditors in relation to their debts, and provide them with information about their consumer rights.

Financial pressures during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, people affected by cancer faced additional financial hardship.

20%

increase in referrals to our Financial assistance program in March and April 2020, compared to 2019

$297,161

total debts waived for cancer patients and carers, resulting from negotiations with creditors.

$25,000

we helped waive one patient's credit card debt of almost $25,000.

“No one has ever helped me like this. I really started to think there was no hope left for me. Thank you for being there for me and not giving up on me – you are all so wonderful.”
– Cancer patient whose debt was waived

How Financial Assistance works

Providing vital support during COVID-19 with 13 11 20

Between December 2019 and May 2020, people affected by cancer who called 13 11 20 with COVID-19 concerns were more distressed (7/10) than the usual levels observed during this period (6/10).

In May 2020, distress levels peaked at 8/10, which indicates severe distress.

Podcasts providing trusted information available anywhere, any time

Our podcasts, The Thing About Cancer and The Thing About Advanced Cancer, were downloaded 23,243 times in 2019/20, making it easier for everyone to access cancer information, no matter their circumstances.

I was speaking to a client today regarding her financial assistance. I told her about our podcast series, particularly the brain fog and cancer episode. Just hearing me say we have a podcast on this topic made her emotional and she started crying. She said she felt so much better knowing that it wasn’t her fault, and this is something that is normal.

– Leah Mangion, Financial Navigator, Cancer Council NSW

Telephone support groups

“You’re talking with people you’ve never met before, but it’s not long before you realise they’re people just like you, who have been through the same or very similar experiences to you.”
Elissa McVey, support group member

Read Elissa’s story

What’s next: Making it easier to access our support services

Our supportive care services have expanded dramatically in recent years to meet the evolving and growing needs of people affected by cancer. This year, we are focused on re-designing how we deliver those services. Our goals are to ensure our services are easy to find and quick to access, and that people receive all the information and support they need throughout their cancer experience and beyond.


Thank you to all the organisations who choose to support us.

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