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The Financial Cost of Prostate Cancer

As well as taking its toll on your health, cancer can have a dramatic impact on your finances.

With around 1 in 8 men in the UK likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, it is a real risk and therefore something that men, and their families may want to plan ahead for.

Medical advances mean that many of those diagnosed with prostate cancer will live much longer than their counterparts would have done thirty or forty years ago.  But these improvements in medical science do not come cheap.

It’s thought that the average cost of care for a cancer patient is £30,000 – for many, the NHS will cover the costs of this, however the actual spend on individual patients could be a lot less depending on your local Primary Care Trust.  In some cases, a course of cancer drugs could cost more than this on their own which occasional can lead to the loss of certain treatments on the NHS.    Funding was pulled earlier this year for the drug Jevtana – a proven treatment for prostate cancer – however due to its effectiveness health bosses have recently agreed to reinstate it.   But with the government likely to make further welfare cuts over the course of the next few years, who’s to say that it will still be available when you need it the most.

What’s the alternative?

If you want to make sure you are receiving the best treatment available for prostate cancer, then private health insurance may be a sensible alternative.  Rather than waiting to receive treatment on the NHS, and perhaps having to rely on a limited level of treatment due to funding, you could be treated privately, with the cost covered by your insurer.  This way there’s likely to be less questions about whether you can have the treatment or not.

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Plan ahead

Prostate cancer is most likely to affect men over the age of 50 and the risk increases with age.  But that doesn’t mean if you’re still young, it’s too early to think about it.

Private health insurance premiums will be based on your current risk – so if you’re young and in good health with no pre-existing conditions, it’s likely that you’ll be able to get an affordably policy.  If you leave it to a little later in life to insure yourself, your premium is likely to increase with age as you’ll be deemed a higher risk of contracting age-related illnesses.

Cover can vary between policies so if prostate cancer care is important to you, then you’ll need to check with the individual provider what their plan actually covers.

With some basic plans, the cost of palliative care (the care given once the cancer becomes terminal and is no longer treatable) is often excluded – there can also be restrictions on certain treatments such as a 12 month limit on courses of drugs.

Speaking to an insurance specialist will give you all the information you need to be able to choose the right health insurance policy.  Without knowing what the future holds, it might be difficult to decide on the actual level of cover you require, but having all the options in front of you will help you make an informed decision.

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Critical Illness Cover

If you’d rather not take out insurance to cover your medical costs, and are quite happy to rely on the NHS for cancer care if you need it, you could think about critical illness cover as an alternative.

Critical illness insurance will pay out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a qualifying cancer – or another life-threatening condition such as a stroke or heart attack.  Many policies will also pay out if you become permanently disabled as the result of an illness or injury.

The money received can be used in a number of different ways – it could be used to cover private treatment, however many people use it to replace income if you are too ill to work.

If your company offers an advantageous sick pay scheme, then this may be adequate for you to get by, however if you’re only eligible to claim statutory sick pay, the loss of income could have a huge impact on your finances and affect your ability to cover your major outgoings such as your mortgage or rent.

Even if you do have adequate sick pay, then critical illness insurance could help to cover modifications to your home if required or even just a good holiday to help you rest and recuperate following your treatment.

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If you are worried about Prostate Cancer or you’d just like to know more about the subject then you can visit http://prostatecanceruk.org/ for further information and support.

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