Cancer. It’s a word that can send shivers down our spine, and rightly so. In New Zealand, you or someone you know has likely been affected by cancer - with more than 74 people being diagnosed each day. As we enter October, a month dedicated to raising awareness about this relentless adversary, it’s essential to take a moment to grasp the stark reality.
With 27,072 cancer diagnostics in 2020*, it’s important to remember that this number isn’t just a statistic; it represents our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbours. Each data point tells a story of resilience, courage and strength and shows the rest of us how important it is to be prepared for life’s uncertainties.
In this blog, we’ll explore the critical question, ‘Does Life Insurance cover Cancer’ (hint: yes, it does). But before we jump into that topic, we want to give some tips that may help reduce the likelihood of getting a cancer diagnosis.
Tips to prevent cancer and to detect it early
Cancer prevention starts with the choices we make in our daily lives. While no one can guarantee immunity from this complex disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk. Here are some tips:
Maintain a healthy diet → Listen to what your mum told you as a kid and fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit processed foods and sugary drinks. A balanced diet rich in nutrients can bolster your immune system.
Regular exercise → Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week. Physical activity not only helps maintain a healthy weight but also reduces cancer risk.
Avoid tobacco in all forms → Smoking is a leading cause of various cancers, including lung, throat, and bladder cancer. If you smoke or vape, seek support to quit. Where you can stay away from secondhand smoke.
Limit alcohol consumption → Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of several cancers. If you drink, do so in moderation.
Protect your skin → Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in New Zealand. Protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade (aka; slip, slop, slap and wrap 😎).
Screening and early detection → Participate in recommended cancer screenings. For instance, regular mammograms for breast cancer, Pap smears for cervical cancer, and colonoscopies for colorectal cancer can all catch cancer in its early, more treatable stages.
Know Your Family History → Be aware of your family's cancer history. Certain cancers can have a genetic component, and this knowledge can guide screening and prevention efforts.
Manage Stress → Chronic stress can weaken your immune system. Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to help your body's natural defenses.
Regular Check-ups → Don't skip routine medical check-ups. These visits can catch potential health issues early, including cancer.
Will Life Insurance cover you if you have cancer?
While these tips and lifestyle changes are proactive steps in minimising cancer risk, life is unpredictable, and no matter how many chicken and broccoli dinners you enjoy, it may not guarantee the outcome. We want you to be prepared for life’s most unpredictable moments. With Pinnacle Life Insurance you, and your family will be supported financially when you most need it. Let’s look at how and when life insurance steps in as a crucial component of that preparedness.
If you have critical illness cover, often referred to as trauma cover, in addition to your life insurance policy, you will have a lifeline in the event of a diagnosis of one of 24 specified conditions, including cancer. Critical Illness cover provides a lump-sum payment that can serve multiple purposes. You can use the lump sum to maintain your financial stability while you’re unable to work, explore alternative treatments that might not be covered by your health insurance or available through the public health system, or allocate it in any way that you need.
All Pinnacle Life Life Insurance includes a terminal illness benefit. This means, in the challenging scenario where you receive a prognosis of less than 6 to 12 months to live (depending on your policy terms), your life insurance can be paid out early. This early payout can be a valuable resource to support you and your family during a difficult time. Whether it means paying for time off work for caregivers, creating lasting memories with a family trip, ensuring extra care and comfort, or simply covering essential bills, this financial support is there when you need it most.
We challenge you this month, during Cancer Awareness Month, to adopt some of these lifestyle changes and focus on protecting your body. Start small and focus on your diet and exercise, or make an appointment and book yourself in for scanning or a check-up with your GP. We also recommend you take time to think through what the worst-case scenario would be if you had a cancer diagnosis and how prepared you are financially. Remember that while Life Insurance can’t stop you from getting cancer, it can give you much needed financial support you need during the uncertainties.