World Cancer Day 2022
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World Cancer Day 2022
World Cancer Day is an annual campaign, run on 4th February. Though it doesn’t bear thinking about, receiving a cancer diagnosis is much more common than you might think, with 1 in 2 people in the UK being diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives (Cancer Research UK, 2021).
World Cancer Day was started by the Union for International Cancer Control, and is a way for the world to unite together in the fight against all types of cancer. Cancers are an issue worldwide, but thanks to on-going research the outcomes are much better than they once were. The number of cancer diagnoses does increase slightly each year, but that could be down to the improved technology available to detect it, and with earlier detection often comes earlier, possibly life-saving treatment.
1 in 2 people within the UK now survive more than 10 years past their diagnosis, and charities such as Cancer Research UK make great efforts and contributions towards the research and development of treatment.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and reproduction of certain cells within the body, which can destroy organs and healthy tissue. There are over 200 different types of cancer, all of which can affect a person in a different way, and are treated in its own way.
The most common types of cancer are:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Lung cancer
As there are so many different types, it can be somewhat difficult to say exactly what to be looking out for but there are a couple of tell-tale signs. If you have noticed a sudden lump appear on your body, have unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits then it might be recommended that you speak with your GP, though these can also be symptoms of conditions other than cancer and might not be something which should cause any concern (NHS Choices, 2019).
Can it be avoided?
Though it’s not possible to confirm that a person will never be diagnosed with cancer, some cases can be prevented. Preventing some cancers can be down to simple lifestyle choices such as exercising regularly, eating healthy and not smoking. Healthy lifestyle habits really can reduce your risk of developing some types of cancer.
What treatments are available?
Thanks to efforts worldwide there are a number of cures for different cancers, and there is constant research to find new treatments. The type of treatment you undergo depends on the cancer that you have. The two most common treatment methods are chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Treatment can be difficult both physically and mentally, there are so many support networks available for those affected by cancer. Whether you have received a diagnosis yourself or have a friend or family member who has, there’s a number of communities with people in a similar situation.
Access to insurance
Having a cancer diagnosis can change a lot of things in your life, and could possibly have you thinking more carefully into your future. Protection insurance often springs to mind as you might want the security of knowing your family is protected financially if the worst were to happen, and that’s where we can help.
As there are so many different types of cancer and the effects can vary, indicating what insurance might be available to you isn’t something that we can easily write in a blog. We need to learn about you and your individual circumstances to help. There are some common things which cover all cancers which we can run through.
Taking out life insurance can be a possibility depending on your circumstances. This is often most likely once you have finished all treatment and are free of cancer.
There are some common questions you can expect no matter what cancer you were diagnosed with:
- What type of cancer did you have and where was it located?
- When did you receive your diagnosis?
- What was the staging and grading?
- What treatment did you undergo?
- When did you last receive treatment?
- Have you been given the all clear?
As well as asking the questions above, insurers will often also request a medical report from your GP (paid for by the insurer and only with your permission). This is so that they can look at all of the details and your full medical history before making a decision on your application.
Some cancers are much more severe than others which is why it’s not so simple to say what you may be offered, without knowing all of the details. The insurer will take your answers to research your specific circumstances to be able to assess your application fully.
Low stage and grade cancers might not cause too much concern for the insurers, and it has been known for applications to be accepted with normal terms (no price increase) once a little time has passed. On the other hand, if there has been quite a serious cancer, such as one which has been seen as aggressive or has had lymph node involvement, you could see the monthly premiums being increased.
Unfortunately, there are times where an insurer might make the decision to postpone your application until a certain number of years have passed since your cancer, or worst case scenario would be the insurer declining the application. If one of these were to happen, it could be that we start to look into alternative products or specialist insurers to find protection for you. It absolutely doesn’t mean that all options have been exhausted!
Critical illness cover
Applications for critical illness cover are similar to those for life insurance, though they are assessed more strictly. Generally, any critical illness cover available to you after having cancer will come with special terms for a set period of time. It could be that you have an increased premium, or a cancer exclusion.
If you have had breast cancer you might find that there are some insurers that add a breast cancer exclusion, some might do a full cancer exclusions. It’s worth doing research. There are unfortunately some situations where your application could be postponed or declined.
Similar to life insurance, there are some less severe cancers which will allow for critical illness cover to be offered with standard rates. There can also be times where someone has had cancer in their childhood such as leukemia and can potentially access critical illness cover at normal rates..
Income protection is the more difficult type of policy to arrange for a person who has had cancer, but it can be possible. In some situations it is possible to get standard terms for income protection if you were diagnosed with a low staging and grading and have been free of cancer for quite a few years. For many people they are likely to see cancer related exclusions for a while.
You can get certain types of income protection without a cancer exclusion, if you have been cancer and symptom free for 3 years. This can be a brilliant option for some people but it’s important to be aware that there’s quite a strict eligibility criteria and this wouldn’t tend to be available if you have a family history of cancer.
Family history plays a massive role in the decision making process of protection insurance. That’s because a lot can be predicted by looking at the health of your relatives, as things can often be passed down in your genes. Insurers will often ask about your family history, but there are things which don’t need to be mentioned, and insurers are not allowed to ask about any predictive genetic tests that you have had. Usually, insurers will only ask about health conditions diagnosed before the age of 65.
- A man in his mid 40s came to us needing protection insurance to protect his young children financially in the event of his death, he was also married with a mortgage. Close to 15 years before coming to Cura, he had been diagnosed with Basal cell carcinoma and then testicular cancer. He had surgery for both of these and treatment stopped not long after diagnosis, he is now in complete remission. We arranged a relevant life insurance policy with a monthly premium of close to £40. This covers him for £175,000 for 20 years.
- A woman in her late 30s approached Cura needing protection so that her mortgage could be paid off and her children cared for. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer less than 10 years ago, she had a double mastectomy and 6 rounds of chemotherapy. She now has a decreasing life and critical illness policy for a period of 25 years. This has a monthly premium of less than £80 and covers her for £222,000. This is a decreasing policy, meaning the amount of cover will reduce over time, in line with the remaining amount on her mortgage.
- A woman in her late 40s needed income protection to offer her financial security for if she was unable to work due to ill health. She had been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia, which then became a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia. She had a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy and had recovered around 10 years before coming to us. An income protection policy was arranged to the age of 65 providing her with a monthly benefit amount of £1,499 with a claim length of two years. The monthly cost of this policy is less than £39.
Applying for insurance when you have had cancer can feel like a minefield of trying to pick the right insurer and product type, there’s so many. It can be difficult at the best of times knowing where to start, even as a person working within the industry! Speaking with a trained and experienced adviser can get you off to the right start and be super helpful, especially if there’s a need for medical reports or you have any questions throughout the process.
Cancer Research UK. (2021). Cancer Research UK. [online] Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/?_gl=1 [Accessed 28 Jan. 2022].
NHS Choices (2019). Overview – Cancer. [online] NHS UK. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/ [Accessed 1 Feb. 2022].
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