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Rising cost of living hits blood cancer patients hard, sparking surge in requests for financial assistance

Wednesday October 18, 2023

As the rising cost of living hits the nation hard, there is one cohort doing it arguably tougher than many – Australians living with blood cancer.

Blood cancer remains one of the most expensive cancers to treat, and with incidence on the rise, the Leukaemia Foundation is experiencing an unprecedented surge in requests for financial assistance.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said that in the past year alone, there’s been a 37% increase in people reaching out for financial help, with many struggling to make ends meet.

“A blood cancer diagnosis creates a significant and sudden financial burden on those Australians diagnosed,” said Mr Tanti.

“They are often immediately thrown into lifesaving treatment, leaving little time to get their financial affairs in order or work out how they are going to support themselves or their family.”

With the ongoing cost of living crisis, coupled with the fact that the blood cancers myeloma and leukaemia account for two of the top five costliest cancers to treat[i], many patients are in dire need of more financial support.

“In the past three months alone, we’ve seen a 30% increase in people living with blood cancer utilising our financial assistance services compared to the same time last year.”

“For many patients, financial pressures such as the rising cost of medical expenses, utility bills, and daily essentials, makes it increasingly difficult for them to focus on their health, getting through treatment, and surviving their diagnosis.”

The average out of pocket cost for blood cancer treatment ranges from $5,000 – $11,000, compared with other cancers which generally incur around $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs.[ii]

Additionally, treatment can be lengthy with 42% of patients taking over three months off work, 30% having to leave their jobs, and 50% not being able to return to work.[iii]

As the financial burden deepens, the Leukaemia Foundation is reaching out to the Australian public for help and urging them to get behind its new fundraising program, The Giving Cell.

“As a charity that receives no on-going government funding, we heavily rely on the generosity of Australians so we can assist blood cancer patients and their loved ones during their darkest days.

“The introduction of the Leukaemia Foundation’s regular giving platform, The Giving Cell, will enable us to continue the critical financial assistance and additional support and services we provide for Australians diagnosed with blood cancer.

“Most importantly, the ongoing financial contributions made by those who sign up to regularly donate through The Giving Cell will ensure that we can be there for blood cancer patients every day of the year, and in the future, so that they can focus on what matters most, which is surviving their disease.”

The Leukaemia Foundation offers a variety of services for blood cancer patients and their loved ones including emotional support, information on treatment, assistance with transport, accommodation near major hospitals, help with finances and financial assistance, and more.

“In this cost-of-living crisis, it’s clear that people with blood cancer desperately need our help.

“By signing up to The Giving Cell, Australians can help raise crucial funds to assist blood cancer patients through what is for many, the most financially and emotionally stressful time of their lives.”

The Leukaemia Foundation believes that every financial contribution made by Australians via The Giving Cell can create a ripple effect of hope and relief for those affected by blood cancer.

For more information and to sign up to The Giving Cell to help raise vital funds for Australians living with blood cancer, go to or call 1800 620 420.


[i] State of the National in Blood Cancers in 2023
[ii] State of the National in Blood Cancers in 2023