A new financial counselling service, set up by Cancer Council NSW, has provided guidance and assistance to 111 cancer patients and carers in the Hunter and Central Coast regions.
The service, which was funded by the Greater Charitable Foundation in 2018, provides a dedicated face-to-face counsellor, delivering support exclusively designed for cancer patients and their families. Prior to this, there had been a telephone-only support service for those based outside of Metro and Greater Western Sydney.
The post was filled by Financial Counsellor Angeline Sharp, who has been working closely with clients to provide assistance and in many cases, alleviating the financial stress that may come with a cancer diagnosis where a person is unable to work.
“When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they may face a number of complex financial issues throughout their journey – around one in three cancer patients reports financial stress,” Angeline said.
“I believe that a person who is affected by cancer should be focusing on their health and families – spending time worrying about money impacts negatively on that. I help patients work out a budget, as well as negotiate with creditors and advocate on behalf of cancer patients to help reduce or manage debts such as utility bills like electricity or credit cards and other credit accounts.”
One person who knows all too well the financial stress a cancer diagnosis can bring is Central Coast resident Lynne, whose husband Geoffrey was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2018.
“Since Geoffrey’s diagnosis and subsequent hospital stay, he has been unable to work which has left us with a significant decline in income. It was really hard for us financially.
“Financial Counsellor Angeline was so supportive, after the first session she started working with our loan people, car finance people and helping us apply to Centrelink – at a time like that there is so much going through your brain, we wouldn’t have thought to do these things ourselves. She also helped us learn to budget, it turned out we were spending a lot more than we were making!
“I would highly recommend the service, even if someone feels they can cope financially, just to go in and find out what they’re entitled to in terms of benefits and help that they might not be aware of.”
In the Hunter and Central Coast regions alone, it is estimated that over 9,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in a single year.
To find out more about how you can access the new service, visit https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/get-support/legal-and-financial-assistance/ or call 13 11 20.
Notes to Editor
Cancer Council NSW’s Financial Assistance Program
- Since its inception, the Financial Assistance Program has provided $5.2 million worth of financial support including short term emergency assistance and financial counselling services.
- Since 2006, Cancer Council NSW has provided financial assistance services to 21,000 people affected by cancer and acute financial disadvantage.
- Cancer Council NSW trains qualified financial counsellors in delivering support specifically for people affected by cancer.
- The Financial Counselling service is available to a person who has had any type of cancer treatment within the last 12 months, or to the primary carer of a person who has had any type of cancer treatment in the last 12 months.
About Cancer Council
Cancer Council is Australia’s leading cancer charity working across every aspect of every cancer. Every day, we support families affected by cancer when they need it most, speak out on behalf of the community on cancer issues, empower people to reduce their cancer risk, and find new ways to better detect and treat cancer. With your help, we’re getting closer to a cancer free future every day.