Discussing cancer can be a morbid topic people might prefer to avoid. However, the fact is that cancer remains the leading cause of death in Singapore since 2016. It is estimated that 1 in every 4 or 5 people in Singapore may develop cancer in their lifetime.
While the probability of being diagnosed with cancer may increase with certain lifestyle choices and exposure to carcinogens, or may be hereditary, there isn't a single cause and it can strike anyone.
Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against cancer.
1. Talking to your loved ones about it
Often, families and friends only get together to discuss cancer once it is too late – when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Starting education about the critical illness can go a long way towards better understanding and combating the disease.
For younger family members, this discussion can alert them to the fact that a certain type of cancer may be hereditary in their family. This can spur them to go for regular health screenings for early detection and treatment.
While it is also never an easy topic to bring up, letting your family and friends know that you are concerned about their health is equally important. Whether you want to help them quit smoking, eat healthier or start exercising, the first step is usually an open and honest discussion.
2. Improving your lifestyle
While there may not be a single cause of cancer, improving your lifestyle can be a form of protection against the disease.
Exercising more, eating healthier and quitting smoking, including avoiding exposure to second- and third-hand smoke, are all lifestyle adjustments that will not only improve the quality of your life, but may prevent cancer.
AIA Vitality, our health and wellness programme, is designed to encourage you to make small lifestyle improvements by rewarding you for your actions. Over time, we believe that even small changes will compound to a significant improvement in your health and well-being.
You can also receive regular health and fitness tips from SingTel's StepUp programme, to offer exciting deals to motivate their customers to upkeep a healthier lifestyle.
3. Going for regular cancer screenings
Going for regular screenings can help detect cancer in its early stages for more effective treatment. With about a third of cancers being curable, such screening can be a life-saver. Four common types of cancer you can screen for include:
- Colorectal cancer – which you can screen for with a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) and Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) every year, Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, colonoscopy every 10 years, Barium Enema every 5 to 10 years, and CT Colonography every 5 to 10 years.
- Cervical cancer – which you can screen for with a Pap Smear every year.
- Breast cancer – which you can screen for with a Mammography every year, Clinical Breast Examination every year, Breast Self Examination every month, and Breast MRI for women with genetic risks.
- Liver cancer – with Alpha-feto protein every 6 months, and Ultra sound examination every year.
Protecting your family's financial future
Being diagnosed with a critical illness could rob you of your ability to continue working in the immediate-term. Over the long-term, if you do not have sufficient critical illness and/or life insurance protection, your loved ones' financial security can also be at stake.
The first level of safety you need to build is an emergency savings buffer. This is to provide for unforeseen situations in the short-term, such as getting retrenched, being injured or being diagnosed with a critical illness, helping you and your family tide through a period where you might not be earning employment income.
Next, if you are going to be unable to work in the longer term or pass on, your family's financial future needs to be protected. Not considering this could lead to your dependents having to lower their standard of living or dip into financial resources meant for your spouse's retirement or children's education to fund their day-to-day expenses.
Having adequate critical illness and/or health insurance protects you and your family against this scenario.
Protect against the top cancers affecting males and females in Singapore
According to the Singapore Cancer Society, close to 35 people are diagnosed with cancer every day in Singapore. Beyond life and health insurance, which Singaporeans should correctly prioritise, protection against cancer can also form a crucial safety net.
However, the latest study from the Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIA), published in 2018, found that Singaporeans had a critical illness gap of 3.1 times their annual income. Without plugging this shortfall, your loved one's standard of living may be adversely affected.
Top cancers in Singapore
Both males and females tend to be affected by different types of cancer as well.
For males, the most common cancer types include colorectal cancer (17%), lung cancer (15%), prostate cancer (13%), liver cancer (8%) and lymphoid neoplasms (7%). For females, the top cancer types include breast cancer (29%), colorectal cancer (13%), lung cancer (8%), uterus cancer (7%), and ovarian cancer (5%).
AIA Absoulte Critical Cover provides you and your loved ones with total peace of mind with wide coverage against 175 conditions, from diagnosis of pre-early conditions to multi-stage critical illnesses, including major cancers. You also have a Power Relapse Benefit that provides up to 200% coverage for five critical illnesses, including a re-diagnosed major cancer coverage.
With 100% payout for early, intermediate or major stage cancer, AIA MultiStage Cancer Cover boosts your cancer protection during a crucial phase of your diagnosis by financially supporting you through your recovery. The 20-year plan offers affordable, fixed premiums rates that don't increase with time, for security and peace of mind. Receive 10% off your first year's premium when you sign up by 16 November 2020.
For optimal protection, speak to your AIA Financial Services Consultant or Insurance Representative today.