By: Kathleen Storey
October, the 10th month of the year, and a symbol of many things – time to start preparing for the end of the work and school year, the beginning of Summer, and a not-so-gentle reminder that the festive season is on its way. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, charitable organisations and social awareness initiatives focus on spreading knowledge about breast cancer, early detection, the need for medical advice, and stories of those who have beaten the disease. Breast cancer is a very serious disease facing South African women, with the South African government reporting that the number of cases of breast cancer are increasing in South Africa, across all spectrums of the population. Government statistics show that breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer amongst White and Asian women, and the second most prevalent cancer amongst Black and Coloured women.
Looking at the sheer scale of breast cancer diagnoses, it is alarmingly clear why this dreaded disease has an entire month dedicated to its treatment and prevention. Even more worrying are the statistics associated with other forms of cancer affecting women. According to statistics from the National Cancer Registry (NCR), breast cancer is followed by cervical, colorectal, uterine and lung cancer, as the top five cancers affecting South African women.
With the risks of being diagnosed with some form of cancer becoming more and more significant, it is important for women to protect themselves. Dreaded disease cover is a form of illness insurance, which offers you financial protection, should you fall victim to a serious illness, like cancer. Now we all know that no amount of money can replace good health, but financial protection does ease some of the stress that comes with the burden of ill-health. If you have a dreaded disease policy in place, upon diagnosis, you will receive a tax-free lump sum pay-out to assist you through your illness. Dreaded disease cover not only helps to fill any income gaps that may be left from having to take extended time off work, but it may also assist when outside help is needed to keep a family and a household running smoothly. It is common South African practice for women to run the household, look after children, prepare food and generally be there to support the rest of the family. When a woman falls ill, outside help may be needed to keep the home clean and tidy, run errands and assist with children – and that outside help often comes with a price.
During this month, while we consider our health, and the prevention of serious illnesses, let us also consider a Plan B, a backup plan just in case we are one of the many victims, and protect ourselves financially, as well as physically.