Cork County Council has backed a call to have Minister for Health, Simon Harris, investigate the financial penalties with which Cancer victims are being hit because of their illness.
According to the National Cancer Registry, every three minutes someone in Ireland receives a diagnosis of cancer.
Annually 40,000 people receive a cancer diagnosis, some of whom find themselves suffering financially because of their illness.
Cllr Noel Collins told his colleagues on Monday that Cancer comes with a big price tag for many patients, hitting hardest the most vulnerable and creating a “growing problem that cannot be ignored.”
The financial penalties hit almost immediately.
Transport costs incurred getting to appointments, hospital parking fees and increased heating bills as a result of more time spent at home, is adding to a patient’s suffering, said the Independent Cllr.
The possibility of being off work for long periods of time, the high cost of drugs and an €80 outpatient charge per visit is also adding to the undue strain.
“At an already hugely stressful time” he said “some patients are forced to pay €1,200 per month for chemotherapy and medication, plus parking fees, and then being hit with bills after diagnosis.”
Independent Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan, who backed Cllr Collins Motion, said it is entirely unfair that people should be put in such a position at a time when they are fighting what they fear could be a fatal disease.
“We have all had family members who had cancer, and many have lost family members. They shouldn’t be worrying about finance”
He said a national study on the financial impact for Cancer patients was warranted.
Cllr Susan McCarthy agreed and said it’s a lot of the ancillary costs that affect a person going through Cancer treatments.
The Fine Gael Cllr, who recently underwent radiation treatment for Cancer, said the hospitals offer a much reduced parking rate for Cancer patients as it would cost too much to pay the normal rate.
She said the Irish Cancer Society could play a role in developing the national study as they support many ancillary services which are not available to the State.