What are the costs of surviving cancer?

(And how can critical illness insurance help you meet them?)

Macmillan Cancer Support has released a report which forecasts that, by 2020, nearly half the UK population will get cancer at some point during their life. Increased longevity is thought to be a major reason for the increase. To make their forecast, Macmillan obtained data on cancer incidence, cancer mortality and deaths from all causes (most commonly heart disease, respiratory disease or strokes) from across the UK.

They also collected figures on cancer survival rates and discovered that more people were surviving cancer compared to 20 years ago. In 1992, 21% of those who had the disease did not die from cancer. This increased to around 35% in 2010 and is predicted to rise to 38% by 2020. Macmillan puts the increased survival rates from cancer down to a greater focus on earlier diagnosis, advances in cancer treatments and better cancer care.

This, of course, is good news.

But what are the financial costs of surviving cancer?

The charity itself warns people not to expect a return to full health after gruelling treatments and side effects. Prof Jane Maher, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Many patients can be left with physical health and emotional problems, long after treatment has ended. People struggle with fatigue, pain, immobility, or an array of other troublesome side-effects. We need to manage these consequences for the sake of the patient, but also for the sake of the taxpayer. We should plan to have more services to help people stay well at home, rather than waiting until they need hospital treatment.”

Here at Marchwood IFA, we normally recommend allowing for a year’s salary to help get through the treatment, after-care and recovery. Don’t rely on state benefits to support you if you become critically ill with cancer – they are probably less than you think.

The key questions to answer are:

1. Do you have a year’s savings to tide you over if you were seriously ill?

2. Do you have a good employee benefits package to cover a year off work due to sickness?

If the answer is no to both of these questions, you might want to consider a critical illness insurance policy.

The money you get from such insurance can be used to pay off a mortgage, to pay medical bills, home modifications or for anything else you need. Many serious illnesses are covered, but not all, so it is important to consult an expert about the type of policy you need.

As an example, for a male non-smoker aged 35, it would cost only £17.40 a month (guaranteed rates) to take out a critical illness policy that would paid out a £50,000 tax-free ‘lump sum’ – a one-off payment – if you were diagnosed with one of the serious illnesses covered by the policy.

For more details contact us on 01243 532635 or info@marchwoodifa.co.uk