Too sick to work but bills keep com­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER

SHE may have sur­vived breast can­cer, but La­ree Thorsby is still suf­fer­ing — phys­i­cally and fi­nan­cially.

The Kingston woman has spent more than $12,000 in out-of-pocket ex­penses since she was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 2014.

She is also still suf­fer­ing from health prob­lems re­lated to the can­cer and chemo­ther­apy, which has de­layed her re­turn to work.

“It’s not just the fi­nan­cial costs as­so­ci­ated with can­cer, but the fi­nan­cial losses — the loss of earn­ings is huge,” she said.

Ms Thorsby helps fa­cil­i­tate a sup­port group for women with breast can­cer, and says the fi­nan­cial stress of can­cer was an is­sue that added to the bur­den of dis­ease for many.

“You are get­ting all these bills but you are not work­ing, so there is no in­come com­ing in.”

She said it was tough­est for sin­gle women, with some try­ing to bring up chil­dren alone while jug­gling treat­ment and bills.

“I have a friend who is a sin­gle mum who has had to work all through chemo. She now has stage-four can­cer and is still work­ing.”

Ms Thorsby was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 2014 while on holiday in Tas­ma­nia from Her­vey Bay in Queens­land, where she had been liv­ing for a cou­ple of years.

But af­ter the di­ag­no­sis, she moved back home to Ho­bart to ac­cess fam­ily help and med­i­cal sup­port.

Ms Thorsby later dis­cov­ered she car­ries the can­cer-sus­cep­ti­ble BRACA gene, also car­ried by many mem­bers of her fam­ily, so she has un­der­gone a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy and hys­terec­tomy as pre­ven­tion from fur­ther can­cer.

She has un­der­gone some of her surg­eries and treat­ments as a pri­vate pa­tient and some as a pub­lic pa­tient to keep costs down.

And while her chemo­ther­apy was free, be­cause it was through the pub­lic sys­tem, many costs for her surg­eries, scans and phys­io­ther­apy have left her with big out-of-pocket ex­penses.

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