- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- Planning 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 struggling financially, 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:
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.
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 need to be at least 55 years old and retired before you are allowed to access your superannuation (super). However, you can apply to access your super early under particular circumstances:
- on compassionate grounds to pay for medical treatment
- if you’re facing severe financial hardship
- if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness – you may need to provide supporting documentation.
Our Legal and Financial Referral Service may be able to connect you with a professional who can help. Call 13 11 20 for more information.
People often don’t realise that they may have insurance attached to their super. Many industry super funds, as well as some retail funds, offer insurance by default. In many cases, 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.
Prof Nicholas Glasgow, Head, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute, ACT; Kathryn Bennett, Nurse Practitioner, Eastern Palliative Care Association Inc., VIC; Dr Maria Ftanou, Head, Clinical Psychology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Erin Ireland, Legal Counsel, Cancer Council NSW; Nikki Johnston, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; Judy Margolis, Consumer; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kate Reed-Cox, Nurse Practitioner, National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Helena Rodi, Project Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kaitlyn Thorne, Coordinator Cancer Support, 13 11 20, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.