Cancer is one of the world's greatest global health challenges and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to this killer disease. That said, having cancer is itself painful but more tragic is not having enough money for its treatment as cancer can cost you a fortune. It acts as a brutal sucker punch for patients already dealing with the physical and emotional anguish of their suffering. The costs of cancer treatment can financially cripple families, particularly when the primary breadwinner is off work getting the treatment.
Being diagnosed with cancer propels patients into a series of appointments, consultations, tests and treatments, all of which can attract out-of-pocket costs, from diagnostic scans, prescriptions, therapies and surgery to rehabilitation. Patients with hefty high out-of-pocket costs don't receive necessary care, which often compromises their cancer treatment and affect cancer-specific mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) in a report said that high prices for cancer medicines are impairing the capacity of health care systems to provide affordable, population-wide access.
Abhilash, 46, was diagnosed with lung cancer, which spread to his brain at the time of diagnosis. Post the diagnosis, costing ₹ 75,000; the oncologist advised him seven cycles of chemotherapy and radiation for almost a month. Each chemotherapy session, consisting of generic and supportive medicines, would cost up to ₹ 31,000; and two sessions of radiation therapy would cost him ₹ 1,10,000 each. Therefore, the first battle with cancer would cost the Mumbai-based software developer, who's also the breadwinner of his family of five, ₹ 4,27,000. Abhilash now realizes that the initial treatment would eat up almost all of his life savings. Had he covered himself with a cancer insurance plan, his savings would have been intact and his future more secure. Cancer insurance plans safeguard you and your family against financial emergencies in case you or your loved ones are diagnosed with the deadly disease.
Cost of Cancer Treatments
At present, there are different types of cancer treatment available, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. The cost of treatment varies depending upon various factors including the type and stage of cancer, characteristics of the tumour and the age and health of the patient.
Breast Cancer: It is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. It starts in the cells of the breast. According to the WHO, 6,27,000 women died from breast cancer – that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women, in 2018. The cost of treatment of breast cancer is around ₹ 6 Lakh. Probably a reason why women should buy cancer insurance.
Cervical Cancer: It is the fourth most frequent cancer diagnosed among women with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018. It occurs most often in women who are 30+. Every year, more women (60,078) in India die from cervical cancer than in any other country. The cost of treatment of cervical or cervix cancer is around ₹ 5 Lakh.
Lung Cancer: It is most commonly occurring cancer in men and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. There were around 20 Lakh new cases of lung cancer reported globally in 2018. The cost of treatment of this type of cancer, which is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the lungs, is around ₹ 4.6 Lakh.
Head and Neck Cancer: It includes cancers of the mouth and throat. It starts in the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses, or salivary glands. The cost of treatment for this type of cancer ranges between ₹ 2.5 Lakh-4.1 Lakh, with a minimum cost of chemotherapy and radiotherapy being ₹ 25,801.
Colorectal Cancer: It is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common cancer in women, with more than 1.4 million new cancer cases every year. The cost of treatment for colorectal cancer is over ₹ 5 Lakh.
Benefits of Cancer Insurance Plans
Cancer Insurance is a type of health insurance cover intended to manage financial risks associated with cancer ailments. They help the policy holder to manage the out-of-pocket costs of cancer treatment, providing him with the much-needed financial support. The plan covers you as soon as cancer is diagnosed whether it is in minor or major stage, and it can be purchased for anyone between 1 to 65 years of age. Also, the premium amount paid by you is eligible for tax benefit under the provisions of Section 80D of the Income Tax act.
Cancer care and treatment are costly. While most health insurance policies may cover most of the cost of cancer treatment, they can still leave you with major bills to pay. Therefore, it is wise to consider a cancer protection plan to safeguard your future.