When Barbara Hill had to tell her two sons she had been diagnosed with cancer it was the toughest challenge she'd ever faced.
"I was a total mess and telling my kids was the hardest thing because they've never seen their mother sick - I just broke down," Miss Hill said.
Despite the hardships, Miss Hill knuckled down and began to prepare for a long journey of regular trips to the doctor and gruelling chemotherapy sessions, but what she wasn't expecting was the wave of financial stress that came with having cancer in a regional area.
On October 5, Cancer Council NSW will be speaking at a virtual hearing for the NSW parliamentary inquiry into rural, regional and remote health.
The charity will discuss the challenges of accessing affordable cancer care in western NSW and the impact this has had on patients across the region who have been forced to pay out-of-pocket costs that those in metro areas have not.
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The only cancer treatment centre in Wagga Wagga in NSW's Riverina is privately owned and Ricky Puata, the community lead for Cancer Council Western NSW, said this exposes residents like Miss Hill to costs people in other areas would not have to consider.
"A person living in Wagga Wagga being treated with standard chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer could be out-of-pocket around $1200 for their treatment and consultation costs," Mr Puata said.
"This figure could increase up to $2800 for a person travelling 300km per day for radiation treatment while a person living on the Lower North Shore of Sydney being treated at a public hospital with the same treatment would have zero treatment costs.
Miss Hill had been living with one of her legs swollen to twice its usual size for two years before she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer in February.
She finished her last day of radiation treatment on Friday and will now have regular chemotherapy sessions every two months for the next two years.
Over the eight months she has been undergoing cancer treatment, Miss Hill says the lack of financial support available for cancer patients in Wagga has caused constant stress.
"The financial side has multiplied the stress by tens and I've seen people who can't afford it so they simply don't get the treatment," she said.
"I pay every day so I have to recycle the Medicare just to pay for my next treatment. I pay one day then I get the money back and then I pay again and it's just a continuation of paying money out."
"If you're not on that Medicare threshold you don't get anywhere near as much back and I have spoken to people who have had to borrow money from friends and family to pay for their treatment."
Miss Hill urged the NSW government to "come to the table" and improve the situation in regional areas to help ensure others don't have to worry about money while fighting a deadly disease.
"It is just so hard for us rural guys out here and for God's sake going through cancer is stressful enough without having to put up with financial burdens," she said.
"The government needs to come to the table and we need bulk-billing out here and more facilities because right now it's unfair and unjust."
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