Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Breast cancer and financial support

3-minute read

Cost of treatments

Talk to your doctor about the likely cost of your medical tests and treatments. The cost of treatments for breast cancer will depend on whether you:

  • are treated in the public or private system
  • are working and have to take time off
  • live in a rural area and need to travel for treatment
  • have private health insurance

Where to find more information about the cost of breast cancer treatments:

  • Talk to a social worker or welfare worker about what financial and practical support services are available (your Breast Care Nurse or another member of your healthcare team can tell you how to access a social worker or welfare worker).
  • Talk to your local Medicare office about the ‘safety net’ on costs of medicines and medical bills.

Cost of prostheses

The External Breast Prostheses Reimbursement Program is an Australian Government initiative that provides reimbursement for both new and replacement external breast prostheses to all eligible women who have had a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer. Cost limits apply. For more information about the program and eligibility criteria, visit the Medicare Australia website.

You can also call Medicare on 13 20 11 or visit a Medicare office. For further information about where to find a breast prosthesis in your area, ask your health professional or contact the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

Some private health insurance funds also provide a rebate for items for women who have had a mastectomy, including prostheses, bras and swimming costumes.

Government-assisted travel schemes

Women who need to have treatment in a hospital far away from home may be able to get help with the cost of accommodation and travel. Each state and territory has a government-funded scheme to help patients who have to travel long distances to obtain specialist treatment that is not available locally.

The names for these schemes vary. Depending on a woman’s individual situation and where she lives, assistance with childcare, meals and general home help may also be available. Some women may be eligible for a sickness allowance while having treatment.

Ask your Breast Care Nurse, hospital social worker, doctor or Cancer Helpline on 13 11 20 what financial and practical assistance may be available in your local area. Breast Cancer Network Australia also has a factsheet on patient assisted travel schemes in each state and territory.

More information

Sources of information about financial and practical help include:

  • social worker at your hospital
  • your community nurse
  • the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20
  • local councils
  • Centrelink

Last reviewed: July 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Deciding about hormonal therapies | Breast cancer

When deciding about hormonal therapies its important to consider the likely benefits and possible side effects of the different treatments.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

After a diagnosis of breast cancer - Cancer Council Australia

Learn more about coping with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Read our patient fact sheet on the diagnosis of cancer, treatment and support.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Breast Cancer At 22 - CanTeen

Read a real story written by a young person who has cancer. Learn more about help and support with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Breast cancer fact sheet - Cancer Council Australia

It is important that breast cancer is detected early. Read our patient fact sheet on symptoms, screening and how to reduce the risk of cancer.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Breast cancer screening program - Cancer Council Australia

Cancer Council Australia provides information on the national screening program available in Australia to detect breast cancer.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Breast cancer - Position statement - Cancer Council Australia

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women after non-melanoma skin cancer. Read our position statement here.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Payments for people living with an illness, injury or disability - Australian Government Department of Human Services

We provide payments and services to help you if you have an illness, injury or disability that means you cant work, or can only do a limited amount of work.

Read more on Centrelink website

Principles of screening - National Cancer Control Policy

Read about the principles of population screening for cancer. Benefits and harms, informed consent, economic issues

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Breastmilk & breastfeeding: benefits | Raising Children Network

Breastmilk designed by nature for human babies. Breastmilk and breastfeeding have many health and practical benefits for mothers and babies. Read more.

Read more on website

Aerobic exercise: the health benefits -

Find out the many short-term and long-term health benefits of regular aerobic exercise.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo