Financial stress of lymphoma ‘worst in world’

2 minute read

Australians with lymphoma also have to endure the world’s highest levels of financial stress to treat the condition


Australians with lymphoma also have to endure the world’s highest levels of financial stress to treat the condition, global research released by the international group, Lymphoma Coalition, shows.

The survey of more than 4000 patients in 72 countries also found Australians living with the disease also scored “significantly worse” than the global average in terms of employment, self-esteem, depression and isolation.

One third of Australians surveyed reported financial stress relating to their cancer, compared with a quarter of respondents globally.

The research found that stress related to finances was at its greatest when Australians were undergoing treatment (91% experienced stress during treatment versus 19% prior to treatment).

Lymphoma Australia chief executive Sharon Winton said with more than 5000 Australians diagnosed with lymphoma each year, the federal government should fast-track the PBS listing of new medicines and cover out-of-pocket treatment costs for patients.

“Some people with lymphoma are in the right place at the right time and are able to access new medicines through clinical trials but others have no option but to find the funds to pay for new treatments. It simply isn’t good enough,” Ms Winton said.

“It is hard enough undergoing treatment for lymphoma without the additional stress of paying for vital medicines while being unable to work due to illness.”

More than 5,000 Australians are diagnosed with lymphoma each year.

Typically, a patient would need to find as much as $120,000 to pay for lymphoma treatment.

Lymphoma Australia said five new drugs which treat lymphoma would be considered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in November.

Lymphoma Australia is hoping some or all of those medications will be subsidised.

“We can’t pay for everything, but I think we need to be looking at ways to get patients faster access to treatment where there is really good evidence,” Ms Winton said.

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