When you experience a life-threatening illness like cancer, you might not expect to have to pay anything to survive. However, it may soon become apparent that you may need to talk to financial planners to help you manage the costs of treatment that can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars if it’s unfunded or not covered by private insurance.

According to a Consumers Health Forum of Australia report, half of Australians living with cancer have experienced related costs of over $5,000. One in four cancer patients had to pay over $10,000 in two years, and one in three spent between $2,000 and $4,999 on their care.

When you’re faced with the prospect of being able to possibly increase your chances of survival by spending this money, it can be a no-brainer for most people. That’s why many people start finding money to cover their treatment in some of the following ways:


Sometimes, you can free up money for specialist appointments and cancer treatment by sitting down with financial planners and working out what money you have and where you can free up money.

You may also be able to rely on the help of financial planners to determine what costs you can cut in everyday life to free up even more cash.


The unfortunate reality is that many people facing significant debt levels to live will have to resort to crowdfunding. This is becoming a popular way to raise money for those needing to visit specialists, undergo tests, have scans, and have unsubsidised treatments and medications.

A family member or friend typically creates the campaign, and everyday people in your community donate whatever they can to help you stay alive and get the help you need.

Selling Assets

When your unfunded medical treatment costs start running into the tens of thousands of dollars, selling assets can sometimes be necessary. Cars, bikes, boats, caravans, and other expensive luxury items are generally the first to make their way out the door.

There’s no reason why you can’t purchase these items again in the future, but they can provide a much-needed cash injection so that you can get the help you need.

Community Fundraising Efforts

Alongside digital crowdfunding efforts, those closest to you may help you organise fundraisers to raise money. Quiz nights, sausage sizzles, scratchie boards, and bake sales are popular and sometimes profitable ways to make money. You can even think bigger with silent auctions if you can get enough small businesses on board to help your cause.

Sell Your House

Selling your house is one of the last things you possibly want to do when going through cancer treatment. However, as the bills rack up and you’re unable to work, paying a mortgage can sometimes be next to impossible.

Generally, selling property is a last resort, but the alternative can be not accessing the treatment you need and either shortening your life or removing all chance of recovery.

You may decide to downsize to free up cash or sell up entirely and rent. Some people also look at refinancing, which means they lengthen their mortgage but don’t sell their home. These are options you can talk through with your financial planners.

The harsh reality is that not all medical treatment, especially for cancer, is funded in Australia. You may have exceeded your private insurance cap, or the treatment you want to try is experimental. Fortunately, there are several ways to cover unfunded medical treatment, such as crowdfunding, selling assets, and relying on friends and family for support.