Cancer: Why It Is Crucial To Get Enough Cover (For The No.1 Killer)

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As you read the article, you will uncover more statistics that might surprise you.

Introduction to Cancer

In my line of work, I hear cancers every few weeks.

My uncle had early stage colon cancer.

My cousin died from lung cancer.

My friend’s colleague currently has late stage breast cancer.

My friend’s mum passed away from breast cancer.

My friend’s wife had nose and lung cancer.

My friend’s dad died from a rare cancer 2 months after diagnosis.

And the list goes on.

Likewise… you might come across someone you know who has (or had) cancer.

Before we go into why it is crucial to have enough cover for cancer, it is important to find out about cancer first.

Spend the next few minutes to read till the end. I promise you will not regret.

2

Cancer Survival Rate + Diagnosis Stage

Cancer is the TOP principal causes of death. 30% of death is caused by cancer (in 2014 – 16).

What does this mean?

If we consider those who have cancer but do not die from it, then

There is at least a 30% chance that one will get cancer during the lifetime

Cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases + stroke) which are also critical illnesses, constitute another 30%.

So what is cancer? It is hard to explain using words. Watch this 1min video and you will understand immediately:

What are the TOP cancers for males?

Colorectal, lung and prostate cancers are the

  • Top 3 cancers and
  • they make up 44.4% of the total.

That’s alarming.

Cancer % of Total
Colorectal 17.2%
Lung 15.0%
Prostate 12.2%
Liver 7.6%
Lymphoid neoplasms 6.8%
Skin, including melanoma 5.8%
Stomach 4.8%
Nasopharynx 3.7%
Kidney & other urinary 3.6%
Myeloid neoplasms 3.2%
Total 79.9%

(Statistics in this article are obtained from Singapore Cancer Registry)

The survival rates for advanced stage (3 & 4) are low, especially in Stage 4.

In Stage 4 (metastasis), the cancer at the primary site has spread through the blood or lymph system to other parts of the body.

Cancer 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Colorectal 84.4% 69.3% 55.7% 10.2%
Lung 54.3% 33% 10.9% 3.1%
Prostate 93% 89.6% 84.6% 38.3%

Some of the cancers like colorectal and lung do not exhibit symptoms in the early stages.

So when discovered, usually it’s late stage.

A whopping 66% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at Stage 4, and the corresponding survival rate is 3.1% only.

Cancer % of Diagnosis at Stage
1 2 3 4
Colorectal 16.4% 26.9% 31.7% 25%
Lung 8.1% 5.2% 20.7% 66%
Prostate 15.1% 43.3% 11.7% 29.9%

Additional Reading (if you have time):

Cancer in the colon

 

Brief Summary

Risk Factors• Age
• History of polyps in colon
• Family history
• Diet high in saturated fats & meat
• Smoking & alcohol
Survival Rate
(5-year)
• Stage 1 – 84.4%
• Stage 2 – 69.3%
• Stage 3 – 55.7%
• Stage 4 – 10.2%
Majority of DiagnosisAt Stage 3
Common
Signs & Symptoms
• Blood in your stools
• Change in bowel habits
• Abdominal pain or discomfort
People at RiskAge 50 & above
(Younger people are also affected)
How to Detect• FIT kit
• Colonoscopy

 

Being fit, healthy or without symptoms are also at risk.

Mr Arun, a primary school teacher, is a very fit person but he had stage 3 colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer often does not have symptoms in the early stages (1 & 2):

By the time colorectal cancer is discovered, it is likely to be in the late stages (3 & 4).

Brief Summary

Primary Cause• Smoking (No. 1 cause)
• Second hand smoke (passive)
• Family history
Survival Rate
(5-year)
• Stage 1 – 54.3%
• Stage 2 – 33%
• Stage 3 – 10.9%
• Stage 4 – 3.1%
Majority of DiagnosisAt Stage 4
Common
Signs & Symptoms
• Persistent coughs that worsen over time
• Blood in sputum (Haemoptysis)
• Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
• Recurring chest infection and fever
• Constant chest pain
People at RiskAge 40 & above
(Younger people are also affected)
How to DetectCT scan

Everyone is familiar with lung cancer and knows that smoking is the biggest cause of it.

Let’s go through 2 shocking facts that many of us don’t know.

Shocking Fact 1
Survival rate is so low because it is often late stage when detected

Till now, there’s no effective screening method. CT scans are not perfect and might cause false positive results.

Shocking Fact 2
Non-smokers can also get lung cancer

Exposure to second hand smoke (passive) at home or work is one of the leading causes of lung cancer for never smokers.

What are the TOP cancers for females?

Breast cancer itself makes up almost 1/3 of the total. Isn’t that something that all females should take note?

Cancer % of Total
Breast 29.2%
Colorectal 13.3%
Lung 7.6%
Uterus 6.6%
Ovary 5.4%
Lymphoid neoplasms 4.4%
Skin, including melanoma 4.3%
Thyroid 3.7%
Stomach 3.5%
Cervical 3.2%
Total 81.2%

The survival rates for Stage 4 female cancers are also very low.

Cancer 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Breast 90.1% 80.8% 63.5% 19.5%
Colorectal 85.5% 78.5% 60.5% 10.6%
Lung 69% 44.6% 20.1% 4.8%
Uterus 87.4% 79.3% 48.8% 11.3%
Ovary 78.9% 57.8% 30.5% 14.1%
Cervical 77.3% 55.7% 48.7% 20.5%

Note that colorectal and lung cancers for females are mostly diagnosed in late stage.

Cancer % of Diagnosis at Stage
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Breast 33.3% 38.1% 18.6% 10%
Colorectal 14.5% 25.5% 35% 25%
Lung 14.5% 4.1% 11.7% 69.7%
Uterus 68.4% 7% 14.3% 10.2%
Ovary 40.8% 7.8% 33.1% 18.2%
Cervical 41.9% 25.5% 15.9% 16.7%

DO YOU KNOW

Not all cancers can be avoided by living a healthy lifestyle.

Screening is very important to detect cancers early.

Additional Reading (if you have time):

Brief Summary

Risk Factors• Age
• Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
Survival Rate
(5-year)
• 91% (Stage 1)
• 80% (Stage 2)
• 65% (Stage 3)
• 21% (Stage 4)
Majority of DiagnosisAt Stage 2
Signs & SymptomsBreast lump
People at RiskAge 40 & above
(Younger women can also be affected)
How to Detect• Mammogram (most reliable)
• Self-examination (less effective)

 

Cancer cells are usually found in milk ducts.

The peak occurs in the age group 55-59. So those of you (or your mum) in this age group take note.

But all other age groups must also be aware.

To find out about why it is best to go for mammogram, read till the last section on why you should screen for cancer.

Conclusion (Part 1)

Today, all of us must be prepared for this critical illness because

  • even fit and healthy people can get it
  • age is a risk factor and we live very long lives (till 85, 90)
  • there can be no signs and symptoms in the early stages
  • cancers are not accurately detected by blood test

DO YOU KNOW

There are more than 100 types of cancers.

Blood test is not an accurate way to test for cancer.

It is more effective to screen for specific cancers than to rely on blood test for cancer markers.

2

Why Getting a Critical Illness Cover is Important (For Cancer)

When the day comes, be it early or late stage, you have to ask yourself this question:

(1) Do you want to have a critical illness payout?

Purpose of the payout Remarks
Might not be able to work No income
Might need to support your dependents still Spouse, children, parents
Still need to pay for your daily expenses Food, household bills
Pay for liabilities Insurance premiums, housing & car loans
Hire maid or nursing care So that your family members need not quit their job
Might need to pay for cancer treatment

If the answer to above is no (= no payout), you might need to tap on your savings.

If the answer is yes to above, the next question is:

(2) How much do you want + for how long?

Let’s take a look at this Straits Times article.

400 Singaporeans were surveyed (including 100 who were recovering or had recovered from critical illness).

Here is an infographic summary from the article:

critical illness survey

The key points of the article are:

  • Average treatment 3.5 years
  • Singaporeans are financially unprepared for critical illness
  • Those recovered are concerned about not having protection if another critical illness strikes again
  • 1/3 diagnosed with more than one critical illness
  • Average coverage amount (less than $150,000) insufficient to cover loss of income, themselves & families
  • 75% with critical illness stop working fully or partially + almost 1 in 2 are sole breadwinners
  • 95% are worried about financial impact on families

When cancer strikes, it is important to have sufficient payout to cover for the loss of income, your dependants, liabilities, expenses for at least a few years.

Having an early critical illness payout is important as well.

Cancer treatment is very expensive. Moreover, if the duration is 3.5 years, it is going to cost a bomb.

So I strongly advise you to get an Integrated Shield Plan and the rider to fully cover for outpatient cancer treatment.

After recovery, you might need to take a lower paying job or income.

Employers might be less willing to take you in or offer you same position due to health reasons.

As seen above, when cancer (or any critical illness) strikes, it is very very difficult to get a cover again.

(94% were rejected.)

And so, the last question is:

Do you want to get it (or ensure you have enough) while you are healthy?

or…

wait till you can’t get because of health reasons + it’s more expensive to get as age increases

So how many years to cover?

More than 3.5 years. It can be 5, 7 or 10.

The reason is

  • (cancer) might relapse
  • 1/3 chance of getting another critical illness
  • cannot purchase another plan

Here’s a video that you must watch.

It is about Christopher who suffered from early stage stomach cancer in 2010.

He survived from 5 years of treatment but passed away when he had a relapse in 2015.

You might believe you are financially prepared to cope when cancer (or critical illness) strikes.

But only 2 in 10 have sufficient cover. What about you?

Conclusion (Part 2)

If you have a critical illness payout…

  • You can focus on recovery, don’t need to worry about finance
  • Family members can continue to work/continue lifestyle
  • Don’t need to worry about going back to work
  • Can afford to take a lower paying job after recovery
  • Can hire a maid or nurse if you need
  • Can preserve your savings

You can do 1 thing now:

Find out how much coverage you have for critical illness and early critical illness.

Assess whether you have enough for both.

(For early critical illness coverage, it is not the same as critical illness.)

If you are not sure, whatsapp me @ 9295 2844 or send me an email below.

I will be able to tell you whether it is enough for you, based on all your expenses, income, liabilities, etc.

Do you have any questions or comments?

Do you have a better idea of cancer survival rate and critical illness cover?

What are you going to do next?

Are you going to relook at your critical illness coverage (including early) while you are still young and healthy?

You can leave a comment below or contact me. I promise I will reply you.

And if you think that this article is useful, share it with the people around you!

About Junhao J Tang
Junhao J is a financial consultant, a blogger and founder of rightpolicy.sg

Junhao J has been providing valuable advice – educating people on the importance of financially protecting oneself and saving up or investing for future needs.

Through rightpolicy.sg, he hopes to bring this message to all who stumble upon this blog.

2 thoughts on “Cancer: Why It Is Crucial To Get Enough Cover (For The No.1 Killer)”

  1. Quite a concise article (though its abit long), given so many areas covered. Straight to the point and easily digested. Learnt many points and health info.

  2. The article is quite good and well prepared. But if the article can be more concise would be much better.

    Personally I Would highly recommend Junhao J to other friends to purchase insurance policy.
    He is a very patience advisor .
    On top of that, he is willing to go an extra mile for me .
    An advisor whom see the needs of the clients.
    Thumbs up!

    From
    Jess wen

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