Health Time out with Kerri-anne, R U OK Day
We’re living longer than men so why are we paying more to stay healthy, asks KERRI-ANNE KENNERLEY
Brickbats and bouquets… First, the bouquet. Our health system is one of the best in the world and Australians care enough to pay billions of dollars for those who need health care, citizens and immigrants alike. It’s not perfect, but funding is not a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money. Having been through the health system with my husband’s accident when he became a quadriplegic and my breast cancer six years ago, I speak with some authority.
His & hers
Now the brickbat! Men now get a rebate on an expensive MRI to avoid an uncomfortable biopsy to detect prostate cancer. That rebate recently approved on PBS. On the other hand, women with breast cancer do not get the same privilege because it has been refused year after year after year by the same people who just approved it for men.
The Breast Cancer Network of Australia have lobbied for years but it’s been NO, NO, NO! Women who cannot afford $650 to $850 have surgery without the benefit of an MRI. I personally know how alarming and dangerous this can be. I had an MRI a week before surgery and it discovered a second tumour not detected by a mammogram or ultrasound. I paid and thank goodness I could afford to as my doctor explained that I could have had a very different and not so positive result. Surgeons don’t like surprises when they have a knife in their hand. So it’s OK for women with breast cancer to have needles stuck in their boobs and not have the correct preparation for surgery but men don’t have to undergo that indignity as it’s more affordable for them. Go figure! If any decision has gender bias or is sexist it’s this one.
The cost of maintenance
If you thought being a woman was expensive, you’re right. It’s estimated that Aussie women spend around $2000 on pads and tampons every year. If you prefer a bare look, it’s around $720 a year for wax appointments or $480 for laser treatments. Speaking of your lady bits, women are still – even though it’s 2018 – largely responsible for contraception in heterosexual relationships, which could reach around $300 a year for the pill. A bra costs around $55 per shop, and is due to be replaced around every eight months. And while men have hair appointments too, they aren’t facing the same price point. A typical salon session (cut and colour) is around $250 – if you go every eight weeks, that’s around $1500 a year. And then there are nail appointments – a basic manicure costs around $45, and will need redoing in a fortnight’s time. If you commit to regular maintenance, that’s $1170 a year.
‘If you thought being a woman was expensive, you’re right!’