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Surviving cancer is something to celebrate – but not if the treatment leaves you with a lifetime of debt

Recognising the courage and determination of those who have triumphed over cancer, we shed light on the difficulties encountered by survivors and their families. One notable challenge is the financial strain that arises from the expenses associated with cancer treatments. Even with extensive medical coverage, it is common for these plans to fall short of covering the entirety of the costs. As cancer treatments often span months or even years, the financial obligations can become prolonged. Without supplementary gap cover, surviving cancer may result in a lifetime of debt due to insufficient coverage for medical expenses.

Early detection saves lives

Early detection is one of the most important factors in a favourable outcome following a cancer diagnosis, especially for cancers like breast cancer, prostate, and colon cancer, which are highly treatable but also very aggressive and can spread fast. Advances in diagnostic medicine mean that more people than ever have a better chance of survival and improved access to cutting edge treatments can result in a better prognosis.

Cancer survival rates are increasing as diagnosis and treatment protocols are improved. However, the journey to recovery can be a long and difficult one, with physical, emotional, and financial challenges that can linger long after the treatment has ended. For cancer survivors, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and undergoing regular screening and surveillance is crucial for ongoing health and wellbeing. Having a strong support system is also essential, whether that means leaning on family and friends or seeking support from healthcare providers.

Support to lean on

While diagnostic medicine has improved and earlier detection leads to better outcomes, incidents of cancer are on the rise, especially in individuals younger than 50 years of age. A diagnosis of cancer is a life-changing event that can cause significant trauma along with mental health challenges, not only for the patient, but for their families as well, which is why it is essential to know that support is available and to reach out to these resources – like the Filotimo Cancer Project<> – for help during this trying time.

“At Filotimo Cancer Project, our mission is to create awareness around all cancers, advise, educate and support cancer patients, survivors and their families. Our Filotimo Oncology Patient Navigator provides individualised assistance to cancer patients and their families – from prevention and screening, during diagnosis, through all phases of treatment and into survivorship, palliative care and at end of life, as well as advice on healthy lifestyle and exercise,” says Evy Michalopoulos, Founder and CEO of Filotimo.

“We are also supported by an extensive multi-disciplinary network of medical professionals and institutions in both the public and private healthcare sectors, and we can offer various services to our cancer patients and their families,” she adds.

Protecting your financial health

Even with the best support structures in place, the financial burden of cancer treatment can be extensive, especially as the majority of medical aid schemes and plans will have an oncology limit in place. After this annual limit has been reached, the member will be liable to pay for a portion of the treatment, which may be as much as 20%. This can add up to significant sums on expensive and ongoing treatment protocols. In addition, medical schemes may not fully cover treatment with new-generation biological drugs.

Gap cover has become an essential tool to ensure that surviving cancer does not leave you with a lifetime of debt, by providing cover for medical expense shortfalls related to diagnosis and treatment. In addition, certain gap cover policies will have enhanced benefits, like a lump sum payment on first diagnosis of cancer as well as trauma counselling for the patient and family members. There are also benefits that cover specific treatments around different types of cancer, such as cover for a prophylactic mastectomy if you meet the requirements, reconstruction of both breasts, cover for biological cancer drugs and more.

A diagnosis of cancer is a traumatic experience, but with early detection and access to treatment, outcomes are often favourable. Survival is possible, but when treatment leaves you with significant debt to pay off it can cripple your financial and mental health. Speak to your financial advisor to find the best gap cover product to meet your needs.

About Turnberry Risk Management Solutions Founded in 2001, Turnberry is a registered financial services provider (FSP no. 36571) that specialises in Accident and Health Insurance, Travel Insurance, and Funeral Cover.

With extensive experience across healthcare and insurance industries in South Africa, Turnberry offers unsurpassed service to Brokers and clients. Turnberry’s gap cover products are available to clients on all medical aid schemes, as they are independently provided and are therefore transferable in the event of a change in the client’s medical aid scheme.

Turnberry is well represented nationally, with its Head Office based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg with Business Development Managers in Cape Town and Durban. The Turnberry Team’s focus on outstanding client service comes from having extensive knowledge and experience in the financial services sector and is underwritten by Lombard Insurance Company Limited. Lombard Insurance Company Limited is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP 1596) and Insurer conducting non-life insurance business.

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