Leukaemia Foundation

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Practical implications of a diagnosis

Remember, you are not alone. The Leukaemia Foundation has highly-trained blood cancer support staff who can help you explore these issues and assist with helpful information and support.

Do you have to travel to another city for treatment or check-ups?

People who live in regional, rural or remote areas who are diagnosed with blood cancer may have to travel immediately to a major city for specialist treatment. They can apply for financial assistance with accommodation and transport through the government scheme in their state, as follows:

  • Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), New South Wales
  • Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (PTAS), Victoria
  • Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS), Western Australia
  • Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS), South Australia and Northern Territory
  • Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS), Queensland
  • Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (PTAS), Tasmania

For further information about this support, contact the Patient Travel Clerk at your local hospital, or the accommodation coordinator at the Leukaemia Foundation.

Where possible, the Leukaemia Foundation provides free accommodation for people when they go to major metropolitan centres for specialist treatment, and their family. In many areas, a complimentary transport service is also available. For more information or to book the Foundation’s accommodation or transport, phone 1800 620 420.

How will your family be affected?

The ripple effect of a blood cancer diagnosis can be enormous for your whole family and adapting to change and loss is hard for most of us. Not only do we need to consider the loss of the individual’s health but also the many other losses that occur as a flow-on from diagnosis. Some of the changes people with blood cancer and their loved ones may face include: loss of their familiar life as they knew it, loss of home, loss of income, loss of lifestyle as they knew it, loss and change of friendships, change of routine, change of familiar surroundings and loss of social networks for support, to name a few.

While many families discover an inner strength and resilience, feelings of vulnerability, fear, sadness and resentment also are common. The Leukaemia Foundation’s support service coordinators are available to nurture and guide you through these trying times.

Will you continue to work? 

Some people with blood cancer cannot participate in full-time work commitments due to a range of side-effects including fatigue, having a compromised immune system and a general feeling of being unwell. You need to review your capabilities and seek appropriate support and clarity regarding your working role.

Depending on your work history and the type of work you are involved in, you will need to assess whether or not you are physically able to continue with that type of work. Also, consider what sick leave, long service leave and other leave entitlements are available to you. Once you have determined what entitlements are available, you can make the appropriate application to Centrelink when you are no longer being paid by your employer or from any other sources.

It is possible that your superannuation fund provides you with disability benefits which you can claim if you cease work, and can offer the much needed financial support to help you focus on your health (see “Accessing Superannuation” below for more information.

The following sections give you more detailed information on the range of financial issues you may need to consider as a result of your diagnosis.