Photo of metastatic bowel cancer patient Sarah Fitzgibbon

The Real Cost of Cancer: Sarah's story

Sarah is a 42 year old GP living in Cork who was diagnosed with liver metastases from bowel cancer in November 2014.

She has had every kind of treatment – bowel surgery, liver surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Sarah feels that she was fortunate financially because she had income protection insurance, but has a big issue with how metastatic cancer patients are treated when trying to get insurance, particularly travel insurance.

She feels that Irish insurance companies are being violently discriminatory to Irish citizens with secondary cancer who have to declare on application that they have a pre-existing condition.
Sarah has been quoted up to €700 for travel insurance and says that insurance companies do not understand metastatic disease and have not caught up with how cancer survivorship statistics have changed in recent years. By comparison, UK residents have been quoted €120 for cover for a similar trip.
Travel can be very important for cancer patients, getting to do things they want to do, places they want to see or simply to travel for work or for patient advocacy. Cancer patients want and need to get away from it all, away from reality, and to make memories with friends and family.
Sarah is married with three children and would like to be able to travel to new places with her family, or go abroad for work, without having astronomical insurance costs.

Sarah writes a blog about her experiences as a metastatic bowel cancer patient. You can follow her here.