The rising cost of treating cancer is stopping more patients from seeking help.

The Queensland Cancer Council warns many more will die unless treatment is cheaper.

Rebekah Box reports.


Katrina Peall was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

It’s been a medical challenge for the primary school teacher and a financial one.

Katrina Peall: “It’s hard, it’s a strain, sometimes I do have to ask family members for help if it’s a tough week.”

A Queensland Cancer Council study has found two thirds of patients struggle to meet out-of-pocket costs during treatment.

Some are even avoiding seeking treatment.

Rebecca Perkins, Cancer Prevention Manager CCQ: “Alarmingly, around 35 per cent of respondents reported that the financial impacts of a cancer diagnosis discouraged them from seeking medical advice when they started to notice signs and symptoms of a potential cancer.”

When diagnosed, patients not only need to cover costs, but some are forced out of work due to the illness.

Often, family members are forced to foot the bill.

With one in two people diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85, the associated financial impact will be felt by all Queenslanders.

Rebecca Perkins, CCQ Cancer Prevention Manager: “Cancer Council Queensland’s 13 11 20 number can help provide advice and answer any questions regarding financial assistance as well as emotional assistance and practical support services.”

Katrina Peall needs ongoing treatment and says the associated costs are clouding her future.

Katrina Peall: “You’re not told that it’s a lifelong battle, it’s like managing a chronic illness. You have the knock on effect for the rest of your life.”

And she’s not alone.

Rebekah Box, QUT News.