- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- Looking ahead
- Dealing with bills and debts
Dealing with bills and debts
There are many different types of costs that can add up during diagnosis and treatment. If you are concerned about money, this can add to the worry and stress of being diagnosed with advanced cancer.
Ask your doctor whether there are ways to reduce your treatment costs. They can also refer you to a social worker for advice. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to consider ways to manage the financial impact of advanced cancer.
Learn more about:
If you are having difficulty paying your utility bills, such as electricity, gas, water, phone or internet, contact your provider. You may be able to access flexible payment arrangements, discounts, rebates or concessions through their hardship program. Check with the hospital social worker whether other options are available in your state or territory.
You can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free financial counselling and advice.
In Australia, you can access your superannuation (super) if you are 65 years old or if you have retired (depending on your age). You can also apply to access your super early in particular circumstances including:
- on compassionate grounds, including to pay for medical treatment
- if you are facing severe financial hardship
- if you are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness – you may need to provide supporting documentation, which your doctor can arrange.
Cancer Council may be able to connect you with a professional to help you access your super. Call 13 11 20 for more information.
People often don’t realise that they may have insurance attached to their superannuation. Many super funds may offer insurance by default – so you will be covered as long as you did not choose to opt out.
Types of insurance provided through super funds can include income protection, total and permanent disability, and life insurance (may be called death cover).
To find out whether you have insurance through your super or how accessing your super early will affect your insurance entitlements, talk to your super fund and insurer, or to a financial planner.
This is only an introduction to these issues. To learn more, see Cancer and your finances. Fact sheets on superannuation, insurance, debts and funerals are also available in many states and territories. For more on this, call 13 11 20, or check out our fact sheets.
Podcast for people living with advanced cancer
Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Alfred Health and Walter and Eliza Institute for Medical Research, VIC; Dr Katherine Allsopp, Supportive and Palliative Care Specialist, Westmead Hospital, NSW; A/Prof Megan Best, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Keiron Bradley, Palliative Care Consultant, Medical Director Palliative Care Program, Bethesda Health Care, WA; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Emeritus Professor Phyllis Butow, Psychologist, The University of Sydney and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Louise Durham, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Outpatients, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Palliative Care, QLD; Dr Roya Merie, Radiation Oncologist, ICON Cancer Centre, Concord, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Xanthe Sansome, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Sparke Helmore Lawyers; Peter Spolc, Consumer.
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