Better Care For Victorian Laryngectomy Patients

The Andrews Labor Government will give crucial funding to help Victorian laryngectomy patients – many who are cancer survivors – access to funding for everyday equipment they need to assist with breathing and the prevention of infections.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today announced up to $1.7 million would be made available to cover the cost of expensive consumables for laryngectomy patients.

A laryngectomy involves the removal of the larynx or voice box, generally following a head or neck cancer. These patients have an ongoing need to replace consumables such as heat and moistures exchangers and foam stoma covers, which cover a permanent hole in their lower neck.

This ongoing care is vital to reduce the risk of lung and respiratory infections, but can often come at a significant cost.

To help support Victorians who have had a laryngectomy, the Labor Government will provide funding of up to $5,000 a year to cover these costs.

About 60 laryngectomies are performed in Victoria each year and there are about 450 Victorians living with a laryngectomy.

These funds will be available to patients who’ve had laryngectomies from 1 July. The program already covers the cost of voice aids.

In 2016, 33,037 Victorians were diagnosed with cancer and 11,111 died from the disease. Of these, 860 Victorians were diagnosed with head and neck cancer. We need to do more to save more lives and to improve the quality of patients’ lives following a diagnosis of cancer.

That’s why our Victorian Cancer Action Plan 2016-20 has set an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years, as well as developing services and programs statewide to support survivors and their families after a cancer diagnosis.

The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with cancer has increased from 48 per cent in 1986 to 68 per cent in 2016.

Last year’s Budget invested an additional $14.1 million over four years to prevent cancer and increase early detection of cancer.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Victorians with laryngectomies are struggling to meet their out-of-pocket expenses. This funding will help ease that burden for these patients.”

“For the first time, this funding boost puts Victorian laryngectomy patients on par with the assistance received by patients in New South Wales.”