Cancer Patients 'Facing More Than Illness'

Worries over making ends-meet plague over one-third of Irish cancer patients even though they already have more than enough to be concerned about.

The Irish Cancer Society said almost half of patients have been asked to pay for consultant visits and trips to their GP, with average costs running to more than €700.

Mairead Lyons, Head of Services for the charity said the number of people seeking state benefits to meet the cost of care jumped by a fifth last year.

"The findings of the report show that families are struggling to meet basic needs. In the last 10 years the Society has seen a doubling in demand for financial assistance, paying out €3.5 million in grants in the last five years alone.

"The results of the report have shown an urgent need to review the supports and provisions available to cancer patients and families."

The Irish Cancer Society said women, younger patients, people who had been working and those with children were hit hardest by the medical bills.

Among women with breast cancer, 40% incurred costs for wigs or hairpieces, spending on average 400 euro, it said.

The survey revealed 45% of cancer patients paid fees for a consultation with a hospital clinician and 36% paid to see a GP.

It found consultant fees were on average €465 and €250 for GPs. Other figures showed 29% of patients paid on average €300 for prescription medicine and 39% paid an average €100 for over-the-counter drugs.

Eight out of 10 cancer patients also had transport bills for hospital appointments - on average €360 for travel and €75 for parking. It also found of those who took time off after being diagnosed, half received some sick pay - 63% of those working for an employer and 5% of the self-employed.


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