Before this year is out 1500 Australian women will have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Within five years, more than half of them will have succumbed to this insidious disease for which there is no screening test, no method of prevention, and is very hard to detect.
It’s a silent killer and women diagnosed with this disease need all the help they can get.
Don’t know what the symptoms for ovarian cancer are? Know what to look out for. (Post continues after video.)
Sadly, this year, the Turnbull Government is doing the exact opposite with December’s budget update cutting $650 million from spending on the tests and scans which are vital to detecting, treating, and fighting diseases like ovarian cancer.
Figures prepared by the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association shows on a best case scenario for ovarian cancer based on catching the cancer and the first treatment being successful these women now face upfront costs of between $3,472 and $4,429. Even after the Medicare rebate, they are left between $365 and $1,322 out of pocket.
And, as you might expect, this is not confined to ovarian cancer. For women with suspected breast cancer, the ADIA estimates a previously bulk-billed patient referred for diagnostic mammography, an ultrasound and possibly an ultrasound-guided core biopsy will be left with upfront costs of between $282 and $554 and out of pocket costs of $29 to $302 even after receiving all the Medicare rebates.
I have no doubt that many women, when they hear these examples and when they see what these cuts actually mean for what patients, potentially, will pay in out-of-pocket costs, will be extremely distressed by that—and they should be, especially when it comes to a disease as hard to detect as ovarian cancer.
For many, many women, the symptoms do not show until it is too late. They are symptoms that we all generally put down to being of our gender. We might be a bit tired, we might be feeling a bit bloated or we might have to wee a bit more, but we do not necessarily think that these are things that we should absolutely, desperately, go and see the doctor about.