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With cancer the second highest cause of death in women claiming one in seven of us around the world, we are used to hearing scary statistics regarding this pernicious disease. Nevertheless, there has been particularly depressing news coming from the World Cancer Congress in Paris this week.
First up, the American Cancer Society revealed that cancer deaths in women will reach 5.5mn per year by 2030, the majority caused by breast cancer. That figure is roughly equal to the population of Burma and represents an almost 60% increase over a 20 year period.
Then The Lancet released figures from a recent report on a similar theme which predicted a doubling of the number of cases of breast cancer diagnosed worldwide between 2015 and 2030 from 1.7mn to 3.2mn. Cervical cancer cases are also set to rise sharply by at least 25% to over 700,000 cases.
There’s not much to celebrate here but one glimmer of good news is that deaths from the four deadliest cancers – breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer – are largely preventable with early detection and successful treatment absolutely key. That means that while you can’t completely eliminate your chances of getting cancer, you can reduce the odds significantly.
There are also steps you can take to protect your financial situation which can take a real hammering if you are diagnosed with the Big C.
Here are five ways you can protect yourself and your family against cancer:
Simple steps we can all take to minimise the risk of getting cancer in the first place include taking regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking or drinking excessively and following dietary guidelines to minimise risk. For more information on lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of cancer have a look here.
Keeping an eye on your own physical wellbeing is the first step. Knowing your body well will enable you to detect abnormal changes which need investigating further. That could be anything from an unusual lump or a mole that has changed shape to a persistent cough. Anything worrying should be flagged up immediately with your doctor. The likelihood is that it will be nothing serious but better safe than sorry.
Many countries operate screening procedures for a variety cancers in order to detect the disease early and enable doctors to have the best chance of successfully treating it. It is also now possible to immunise teenage girls against the HPV virus which causes cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor about preventative measures relevant to your age and medical history and that of your family. You can find more information on screening tests here.
If you are an expat, you will probably not be eligible for state-funded healthcare so comprehensive medical insurance is a must to ensure access to the medical care you may need if you get ill. The last thing you want if you suspect you have cancer or are diagnosed is to be unable to pay for the best screening and treatment available. That can be extremely costly and swiftly erode the most robust of savings accounts. It’s simply not work taking the risk.
You may have the healthiest lifestyle in the world but there are so many factors which contribute to cancer that it is impossible to protect yourself 100%. What you can do is protect your family against loss of income in the event that you contract cancer and need to stop work for treatment and recuperation. Income protection insurance will pay out a lump sum to allow life to carry on as normally as possible for your family while you concentrate on getting well.
The fact is that we all think it won’t happen to us but the figures prove otherwise. The lifestyle factors to minimise risk are up to you alone but if you want help protecting you and your family against cancer from a financial perspective we have access to a wide range of healthcare and income protection policies on the market and would be delighted to help you find the right ones for you.
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