Cancer a big killer of young South Africans‚ insurer says


Cancer a big killer of young South Africans‚ insurer says

Suthentira Govender | 2017-04-04 16:08:03.0

Cancer cells.

Image by: Thinkstock

More young South African‚ in their twenties and thirties‚ are being afflicted with or dying from cancer‚ often because of late diagnosis.

This is the word from financial services group Liberty‚ which revealed at a media briefing on Tuesday that cancer was the main cause of claims across all age groups in South Africa last year.

It said 15.2% of claims – mainly for life and loss of income – came from young people‚ while 24.4% of claims emanated from young parents – in their twenties and thirties.

Liberty paid out R4.3 billion in claims last year – 13% more than in 2015.

Henk Meintjies‚ head of risk product development at Liberty‚ said: “This amounts to R17 million every working day. These statistics reveal concerning trends in health and lifestyle risks with cancer and cardiac and cardiovascular conditions being the main causes.

“The cancer stats are relevant to the insured population‚ which reveals a high incidence of breast cancer for females. It is the number one claim for women‚ while prostrate cancer is the top claim amongst men.

“The South African stats of breast and prostrate cancer‚ mirror our own claims‚” said Meintjies.

Dr Philippa Peil‚ Liberty’s chief medical officer‚ said poor diets‚ physical inactivity‚ stress and smoking was fuelling cancer in SA.

“Given the increasing rate of cancer claims‚ it is important for one to take serious care of one’s body and to identify any serious illnesses as early as possible.

“Young people believe they are immune to cancer‚ they are leaving diagnosis when its too late‚” said Peil.

Claims related to retrenchment was highest amongst young people at 11.7%. Meintjies attributed this to the “last-in-first-out” policy employed by many companies.

Strokes or central nervous system disorders also contributed significantly to total claims paid.

“The biggest cause of claims in KwaZulu-Natal was related to cardiac and cardiovascular events. This is in contrast to the rest of the country where cancer related claims were more prevalent in the majority of the provinces‚” said Meintjies.

Peil attributed this high incidence in KwaZulu-Natal to the Indian population having the highest death rate from diabetes.

“Hypertension and raised cholesterol which is also prevalent amongst Indians‚ are high risk factors for cardiovascular events‚” she said.

TMG Digital/The Times

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