People who are living with cancer can have many separate fears and concerns according to research* by RedArc which identified 62, showing just how complicated it can be to offer support for employees and individuals with cancer. Whist treatment and prognosis obviously weigh heavily on the individual’s mind, other issues add to the mental strain of the diagnosis itself, including:
- Body image
- Caring for pets
- Employment rights
- Funeral arrangements
- Making a will
- Looking after family
- Recurrence of illness
- Sexual function and intimacy
- Side effects
- Upsetting people
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “When someone is diagnosed with cancer they will have a huge variety of concerns, and whilst NHS cancer care is generally excellent, patients worry about wasting doctors’ time in asking too many questions. If the individual doesn’t have family and friends to talk to, or feels uncomfortable discussing their concerns with those closest to them, mental health issues can arise. In fact, according to Macmillan research**, as many as two thirds of people living with the disease can develop a mental health condition, which is clearly not conducive to recovery or being receptive to treatment.”
Providing third-party nurse advisory services is hugely valued by people diagnosed with cancer as they are able to receive the emotional and practical support they need from an independent source. This can include getting a better understanding of their condition, treatment & management; sign-posting to self help groups, therapies and counselling; support in sourcing equipment and arranging domiciliary care.
This might be offered via group risk insurance products and EAPs to employees in the workplace, or as part of other insurance products offered directly to individuals. In RedArc’s experience, most cancer cases (two thirds) that are referred to their third-party nurse services do so via critical illness policies.
Christine Husbands concluded: “Many insurers now recognise that during times of serious illness, providing financial support alone is not adequate and they need and want to go further. Insurers looking to offer a more holistic health and wellbeing service are differentiating their proposition by designing and promoting products that offer emotional and practical support – in addition to financial support. Those that do, find that their services are more highly valued and utilised. This benefits their clients, and insurers are ultimately rewarded with higher retention rates.
*Research conducted over the past 12 months based on 952 cancer cases.
**Macmillan’s Warning Signs Report published in February 2017 based on data collected from 1,020 adults with a previous cancer diagnosis.