In today’s roundup of news…
- Bill shock and moves by cancer charities to help patients avoid it
- A shout out to National Cervical Cancer Awareness week and the continued need for screening
- Batkid returns!
The true costs of cancer.
Living in Australia, we can sometimes take for granted that Medicare will cover our medical expenses, and if not, many of us have private health cover to pay for the gap. So it can be a shock when many cancer patients learn that some treatments or surgeries, are not fully funded by these sources and this can lead to “bill shock” and financial stress that can in turn lead to adverse decision making in accepting treatments or continuing with treatments. As if you don’t have enough to worry about, now you’re thousands of dollars out of pocket! In Australia, it’s estimated at least 50% of cancer patients suffer financial stress, and the problem is on the increase.
What you have in your bank account shouldn’t determine whether you survive cancer but as noted by the CEO of the Cancer Council, Professor Sancha Aranda,
“The poorest members of our community are 33 per cent more likely to die from cancer than the richest and so clearly money is a key factor influencing cancer inequalities.” Source: AFR
Some of Australia’s best known cancer charities have worked together to create the Standard for Informed Financial Consent, to encourage health care providers and doctors to be more upfront and transparent about the costs of care. Patients should be told of their options for both private and publicly funded treatments so they can make decisions that won’t necessarily put them into debt or dipping in to their super.
You can read more about the new standard and have your say on the draft, here.
And if you are experiencing financial stress while undergoing cancer treatment, there are resources that can help you. Contact the Cancer Council for further information.
National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (November 12-18)
There’s been a lot said about the future “eradication” of cervical cancer in Australia, thanks to the widely adopted HPV vaccination program. Of course that is fantastic news however we’re not there yet, with 250 Australian women still dying of the disease annually.
It’s still very important to be screened for any early changes to the cervix that might identify a risk. The Cancer Council recommends screening for anyone aged 25-74 who has ever been sexually active. The dreaded two-yearly “pap test” was replaced this year with the Cervical Screening Test, which is similar in the way it’s done, but only required once every five years. Hoo-bloody-ray!
It’s also worth noting that there are some cases of cervical cancer that are NOT HPV related, and neither are they detected by screening procedures. These cases are rare, and as such often present at advanced stages so it’s important to listen to your body and attend your doctor with any concerns. If you’re experiencing any of the following, see your doctor (Source : Cancer Council).
- vaginal bleeding between periods
- menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual
- bleeding after intercourse
- pain during intercourse
- unusual vaginal discharge
- vaginal bleeding after menopause
- excessive tiredness
- leg pain or swelling
- low back pain.
If you’re a woman and not getting reminders from the National Screening Register to attend screening, sign up here and let someone else remember for you, every five years.
BatKid kapows cancer!
Some lovely news to end this week.
You may remember “BatKid” from a story five years ago, where a young boy suffering from leukaemia was given the honour of being “Batman for a day” thanks to the Make-a-wish Foundation working with the city of San Francisco. Here’s the trailer from the documentary made about this heartwarming event.
Well in even better news, Batkid, aka Miles Scott, is now officially cancer free!
Diagnosed at only one year old, Miles went through three years of chemotherapy (finishing just before his Batkid experience), and is now a happy and healthy ten year old.
So with that happy outcome, we end this week’s News Review and look forward to sharing more CanDo news, next week. Have a happy week everyone.
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