Too sick to work but bills keep coming
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.