World Cancer Day: Insuring Against Cancer January 31, 2022
For the past two years, COVID-19 has hogged the headlines. But when it comes to health issues, there are other killers out there.
And to remind us of the danger, World Cancer Day is being marked on February 4.
Cancer was a leading cause of death worldwide in 2020, and accounted for nearly 10 million deaths that year, according to the World Health Organisation1.
The most common in 2020 (in terms of new cases of cancer) were: breast (2.26 million cases); lung (2.21 million cases); colon and rectum (1.93 million cases); prostate (1.41 million cases); skin (non-melanoma) (1.20 million cases); and stomach (1.09 million cases).
The most common causes of cancer death in 2020 were: lung (1.80 million deaths); colon and rectum (935 000 deaths); liver (830 000 deaths); stomach (769 000 deaths); and breast (685 000 deaths).
The economic impact of cancer is also significant and increasing. And the total annual economic cost of cancer in 2010 was estimated at US$ 1.16 trillion.
Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs.
The latter process is referred to as metastasis, and metastases are the primary cause of death from cancer.
Reducing the burden
Between 30 and 50% of cancers can currently be prevented by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies.
The cancer burden can also be reduced through early detection of cancer and appropriate treatment and care of patients who develop cancer. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated appropriately.
Preventing the disease
Cancer risk can be reduced by not using tobacco; maintaining a healthy body weight; eating a healthy diet and including fruit and vegetables.
You can also reduce your cancer risk by doing physical activity on a regular basis; avoiding harmful use of alcohol; getting vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B if you belong to a group for which vaccination is recommended.
Top killer in Singapore
In Singapore today, cancer is regarded as Singapore’s top killer, and it is responsible for 28.4% of all deaths in the country.2
In 2020 the total number of new cancer cases in Singapore was reported to be 23,632. Of these cases, 12,196 were males and 11,436 were females.
In the same year, there were 12,130 deaths reported due to cancer. Taken as a percentage of the total number of prevalent cases in Singapore (69,267), this amounts to 17% of all current cases.
A large majority of deaths due to cancer in 2020 were caused by lung cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
According to the Singapore Cancer Registry, the majority of male cancer cases between 2014 and 2018 were seen in the 60 to 69-year-old age group. In contrast to this, the lowest number of cancer cases were seen in men below the age of 30. For women, the data is quite similar.
Depending on the type of cancer, a patient can end up paying from $100,000 to $200,000 for late-stage care. This high cost is a result of the expensive cancer drugs used in a majority of treatments.
In 2019, Singapore spent $375 million on cancer treatment drugs. This figure represents a 20% growth rate for national expenses on cancer drugs.
This is over three times higher than the 6% growth rate for national expenses for non-cancer drugs. Many experts believe that if this rate of growth continues, the country may end up spending upwards of $2 billion by 2030.
So, how does one cope financially if you are afflicted by cancer?
Health insurance is the best option. And thankfully there are many choices available today.
Who should consider medical insurance against cancer?
1 – Who should consider medical insurance against cancer?
If you look at the statistics, the answer seems obvious. Everyone should sign up when you are healthy. So find the insurer that suits your needs and affordability through PhillipCapital’s experienced financial advisers who represents different firms.
Related video: The role of insurance in your journey
What are some of the types of protection plans available against the disease?
There are various types of protection plans available to protect you.
Some of them are:
- Critical Illness standalone term plans (cheaper premium) without cash value.
- Whole life policies with critical Illness coverage and bonus from the insurer (higher premium).
- Critical illness plans which covers heart attacks, cancer, stroke etc (Under standard life insurance guide).
- • You can also get gender-specific coverage for men and women (prostate cancer for men and breast cancer for women).
• World Cancer Day 2022 falls on February 4, World Cancer Day is a global initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control to face one of our greatest challenges. The 2022 Campaign Theme is “Close the Care Gap / Realising the problem”3.
About the author
Elston Soares is an editor with the Phillip Securities Research team.