Research highlights the costs of relocating for cancer treatment

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The heavy costs associated with relocating to the city for blood cancer treatment have been revealed in new research funded with the help of our generous supporters.

Associate Professor Pam McGrath, from the Centre for Community Science at Griffith University, said the financial burden of getting to treatment was not well-known and was especially critical for regional and rural patients who have to travel to Brisbane or Townsville for specialist care.

“For many, there is considerable stress in relation to the multiple bills and escalating costs during the time of relocation for diagnosis and treatment,” Dr McGrath said.

Dr McGrath said the Queensland Government’s Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme was only a subsidy and not intended to cover all the costs associated with relocation.

“Patients are faced with further costs associated with diagnosis and treatment and it is these out-of-pocket expenses that can create quite a financial burden,” she said.

“Depending on someone’s circumstances, the return travel to hospital from their regional or rural home can involve expenses including the cost of emergency flights, taxi or train fares to and from the airport, car parking at the departure airport, bus or taxi fares to and from the airport and accommodation in the city, and, at times, the costs associated with administrative problems.”

Dr McGrath said the situation was exacerbated by the requirement for routine follow-ups throughout the patient’s life, which can involve regular ongoing return visits to city hospitals.

The research, ‘Out of pocket costs during relocation for specialist treatment for haematological malignancies’, is published in the Supportive Care in Cancer journal.

Our CEO, Bill Petch, said her research findings are valuable because they give us evidence that providing accommodation is a vital part of helping someone beat their blood cancer, as well as in identifying areas where we can increase support for patients in ways that will improve their quality of life.

“Last year we spent $127,000 on financial assistance for Queensland families and provided free accommodation that saved patients and families more than $4 million. Our free transport also helped nearly 9,000 people get to hospital from our accommodation villages.”

“Dr McGrath’s research will help us continue to improve the way we support families, no matter where they live, and reduce some of the stresses that come with a diagnosis so they can concentrate fully on getting well again.”

You can help by making a tax deductible donation today to give more families a home-away-from-home during treatment. Click here and give today »

 

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