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Health Insurance Plan for Cancer: What You Should Know on Symptoms and Diagnosis of Cancer

Health Insurance Plan for Cancer- What you Should Know on Symptoms and Diagnosis of Cancer here on this article. Visit Kotak Life to know more on health insurance plans

  • 8,530 Views | Updated on: May 20, 2024

Over the years, cancer as a disease has increased in intensity and numbers. The risk of cancer is real and is life-threatening. As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India likely witnessed 17 lakh cases of cancer by 2020, recording more than 8.8 lac deaths by the end of 2020. Another report by Lancet Oncology Journal estimates the cancer deaths to reach 12 lakh per annum by the end of 2035.

For 2020, the estimated incidence of cancer in India among males was pegged at 6,79,421, and for females, it was estimated to be 712,758, as reported by the National Cancer Registry Programme. Further, one in 68 males has lung cancer, while one in 29 females has breast cancer. In all, one in nine Indians, between ages 0-74, develops at least one type of cancer during their entire lifetime.

The growing burden of cancer in India is appalling. What is even more shocking is the simultaneous rise in the cost of cancer treatment. As per the 2018 National Sample Survey (NSS), the national average cost of cancer treatment is more than ₹1.2 lakhs. In private hospitals, the cost of cancer treatment was more than ₹1.4 lakhs; whereas in public hospitals, it was nearly ₹80,000. The prices have increased sharply ever since, creating an alarming situation.

With such strong figures and the rising burden of cancer in the country and worldwide, you must be aware of your health and take appropriate measures to be prepared to face this critical ailment. You should understand cancer, identify its symptoms, and know how you can get the right diagnosis and treatment.

What is cancer?

Cancer refers to a collection of related diseases that impacts different body parts. In all types of cancer, cells of a specific part of the body begin to divide infinitely and spread into surrounding body areas. Cancer can affect any part of the human body, which comprises a trillion cells. Generally, human cells grow and divide themselves to form new cells in the body. The older cells become damaged, die and are replaced by new cells. However, when cancer develops this process is hampered. New cells continue to form, even when old cells survive despite becoming abnormal, old or damaged.

This abnormal addition of new cells further divides themselves to form more cells, and eventually create growths called tumours, which can likely spread into, or invade surrounding tissues. Many cancers have solid tumours while some like leukaemia, generally do not have tumours.

What are the different types of cancer

As of today, there are more than 100 types of cancer that exist. Some of the most common types include:

  • Lung cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Blood cancer (leukaemia)
  • Neck cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Thyroid
  • Endometrial

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Symptoms of cancer depend on the type of cancer and also from person-to-person. That said, some of the general symptoms of cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Presence of a lump
  • Unexplainable change in body weight
  • Thickening under the skin
  • Pale skin
  • Redness or skin rash
  • Bowel changes
  • Consistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Difficulty after eating food
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplainable muscle pain
  • Changes to existing moles
  • Unexplainable bleeding
  • Frequent and unexplainable bruising
  • Persistent night sweats or fever.

Further, symptoms of cancer also depend on the intensity and progression of cancer in the body.

How is cancer diagnosed?

Diagnosing cancer in early stages improves the chances of survival. The doctor might use any of the following techniques to diagnose cancer, depending on the patient case.

  • Physical exam to identify any lumps in the body: The doctor may assess the body to spot any lumps that could be a tumour. During the exam, the doctor might evaluate any changes in skin colour, organ enlargement, bruises, etc.
  • Laboratory tests to identify cancer abnormalities: The doctor might conduct urine or blood tests to assess any abnormalities caused by cancer. For example, the blood report of a person with leukaemia will show an unusual number or type of white blood cells.
  • Imaging tests to assess the internal bones and structures: Imaging tests like CT scan, MRI, bone scan, PET scan, ultrasound, X-ray, etc., can be used by the doctor to examine the bones and internal body organs to check for the presence of cancer cells.
  • Biopsy to collect a sample tissue to diagnose cancer definitely: In a biopsy, the doctor will collect a sample of cells, test them in the laboratory to identify cancer cells and look out for cells that appear less orderly or abnormal and have different sizes without a definite pattern. The type of biopsy and method depends on the precise location of the body area. In some cases, a biopsy is the only way to diagnose cancer.

How can cancer be treated?

The treatment for cancer depends on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, the age of the patient, as well as, the overall health and medical history of the patient. However, a few approaches to the treatment of cancer include:

  • Chemotherapy: This method of treatment of cancer aims at rapidly growing cells and kills them with medications. These medications also help shrink the tumour, though the side effects are intense.
  • Immunotherapy: Cancer cells are adaptive to their surrounding environment. This makes it very difficult to detect cancer. Immunotherapy is a technique, which trains and strengthens the body’s immune system to find and attack the cancer cells similar to the way it fights with bacteria. A few types of immunotherapy include monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, vaccines, cytokines, and CAR T-cell therapy.
  • Precision medicine: Precision or personalised medicine aims at individualising targeted treatment at the right stage of cancer treatment in the patient. Precision medicine involves setting the course of treatment depending on the patient’s medical history, test results, genes, lifestyle, diet, and the surrounding environment. Precision medicine is dependent on the gene changes or mutations that are unique to each cancer and hence, set the foundation for the type of course needed.
  • Radiation therapy: This form of cancer therapy uses radioactive liquids called radioisotopes to destroy cancer cells in the body. In this therapy, a liquid is inserted into the patient’s veins via an injection or is given in the form of a capsule or drink. Cancer cells tend to consume more radioactive elements than normal cells, which helps to eventually destroy them by killing their DNA.
  • Surgery: Cancer can also be removed through surgery in cases where there is a cancerous tumour; moreover, the doctors might remove all lymph nodes to stop the growth and spreading of cancer.
  • Targeted therapies: Therapies, such as small-molecule drugs, modify the functions in the cancerous cells to prevent them from multiplying. These therapies also aim to boost the immune system to fight cancerous cells more effectively.

Cancer treatments are constantly improving, which also makes them very expensive.

What can you do?

The first thing you can do to fight cancer is to stay aware and adopt a healthy lifestyle. But that alone will not be able to protect you from cancer. Given the hefty cancer treatment cost, you need to adopt a comprehensive financial plan to fight cancer. The most effective way to prepare yourself and your family to fight this deadly disease is to invest in a holistic health insurance plan. Health insurance plans provide your financially secure blanket against critical ailments like cancer. You should invest in a health insurance cover because:

  • It offers more extensive financial protection as compared to a general life insurance plan.
  • It helps you create a hedge against the rising medical costs, which are only partially covered by a life insurance policy.
  • It reduces your health risk by offering preventive care, as well as financial assistance in times of need.
  • The premiums paid for health insurance plans are exempt from taxes under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Trust Kotak Health Shield to be your guard against cancer and other terminal illness.

Kotak Life values you and your loved ones and helps you in securing your life. The comprehensive Kotak Health Shield plan is a fixed benefit plan that covers you against early or major stage illnesses related to Cancer, Cardiac, Liver and Neuro. The plan also offers protection against Personal Accident – death or disability.

Kotak Health Shield supports you in fighting cancer and other terminal illnesses by providing a second medical opinion, emergency evacuation, medical monitoring, medical repatriation and compassionate visit.

You can extend your Kotak Health Shield plan to cover your spouse in the same policy and enhance your benefits through:

  • Daily Hospitalization Cash Benefit
  • Waiver of Premium on the diagnosis of a minor condition
  • Income benefit on diagnosis of a major condition

By choosing to be consciously aware of your health and financially securing your life with Kotak Health Shield, you are investing in a healthy and happy future.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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