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What will I have to pay for treatment?

Informed financial consent

A cancer diagnosis can be an emotional time for you and your family and requires decisions about the type of care and where to receive care. These decisions can impact on finances. For more information about best care, read about what to expect after a cancer diagnosis with our guides to best cancer care.

Informed financial consent requires patients to have information and support to make informed decisions about their care. Cancer Council, with Breast Cancer Network Australia, CanTeen and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia developed a Standard for Informed Financial Consent to guide discussions between health professionals and patients to discuss the risks and benefits of treatment to include cost.

You should know the total costs for your treatment, other health professionals involved in your care, and where the same or similar benefit can be provided at less cost. If you have private health insurance  you should contact your insurer to discuss if your treatment is covered. Everyone deserves the chance to make the best decisions for their care, so it is important that you feel comfortable to talk to your healthcare professional about any financial concerns relating to cancer treatment.

What will I have to pay for treatment? A guide to Informed Financial Consent | Cancer Council Australia

The financial cost of healthcare

The flyer provides information about out-of-pocket costs and informed financial consent for people with cancer and for those caring for someone with cancer. 

Questions to ask your healthcare professional about costs before treatment

Cancer Council has developed a list of questions patients should ask their healthcare professional about the cost of their treatment and any out-of-pocket costs they may incur.  

Australian Medical Association, Choose Wisely and Healthdirect have also developed a list of questions to ask your healthcare professional before any test, treatment or procedure.

Questions to ask your private health insurer before treatment

For patients that have private health insurance, Cancer Council has also developed a list of questions patients should ask their private health insurer.

For more information about fees, call your private health insurer or visit their website.

Financial assistance and information

  • Australian Patients Association has developed a guide for patients about doctors fees.
  • Cancer Council’s Pro Bono Program can help people with legal issues, financial planning, small business accounting, workplace (HR or recruitment) advice. 
  • Cancer Council 13 11 20 is a free, confidential telephone information and support service. Specially trained staff are available to answer questions about cancer and offer emotional or practical support. Call 13 11 20.
  • Cancer Institute NSW has identified some common costs associated with cancer and the importance of informed financial consent. 
  • The Department of Health have a webpage for private health insurance that explains out-of-pocket costs in detail.
  • The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service that helps people tackle their debt problems. Professional financial counsellors are available, and offer free, independent and confidential services. For further information call 1800 007 007.
  • Financial Counselling Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides resources and support for financial counsellors, and links Australians to financial counsellors in their state or territory. Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide free information, advice and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. Financial counsellors are available in each state and territory. 
  • Radiation Oncology is a medical speciality that involves the controlled use of radiation to treat cancer either for cure, or to reduce pain and other symptoms caused by cancer. As part of their Targeting Cancer initiative, the Faculty of Radiation Oncology have developed a factsheet about the costs associated with radiation therapy in Australia. 

Find out more about the practical and financial assistance Cancer Council can provide