Cancer discrimination

Someone close to me has cancer. I don’t know what the future holds yet.  Whilst they are alive,  and mobile, and talking, and have all their faculties,  they want to see a bit more of the world and make the best of the time they have left.  I think that’s fair enough.

My loved ones’ cancer has probably been around a while, although it was only diagnosed recently. They contacted their travel insurance provider, being the honest person they are, and tell them of their medical diagnosis. After a long pause, and being asked to be put on hold, they were told that the medical assistance part of the insurance was to be withdrawn.

So they contacted other insurance companies to ask about cover for medical expenses abroad. Some were rude. Some didn’t know how to deal with the call from a cancer patient. Some just hung up without so much as a farewell salutation.

My loved one might have had the cancer a year before diagnosis.  They have been to many places in Europe and the UK without incident.  Yet the minute the C-word is mentioned,  insurance companies come over all peculiar.

The highest premium my family member was quoted was £1400 a year. Their previous premium was under £100. This is a scandal. My family member is nowhere near at a stage where they might be hospitalised,  and at the moment is actually feeling good. The treatment has begun, which might actually reduce the tumour. My loved one offered to give the companies his doctor’s contact details but they refused to entertain the idea.

So where does that leave them? Effectively, grounded. They may pay the lowest of the high premiums. They may be dissuaded from travelling ever again. Or they may decide to travel uninsured, as long as they feel well. Insurance companies prevent many cancer patients and others with chronic or terminal conditions to make the best of their time left,  by hiking premiums to astronomic levels, or denying insurance. It’s beyond ridiculous.  Fair enough there is a fear from the Insurance companies about the cost to them, but it’s out and out prejudice. The mere mention of the word “Cancer” gives them licence to rip off patients to the nth degree.

It’s not just insurance companies.  Another family member is in remission from Lymphoma and hoped to build a hoyse extension. The bank knew his medical history and denied the finance. My family member in remission is well, healthy, and back to living his life.  But again, the bank sees “Lymphoma,  people die from that” and refuse to help.

I am the first to mention equality for women, for people of differing heritage, for the LGBT community, and for those with disabilities.  Until recently I have thought little of those with an “end of life” conditions.  But it’s still discrimination to make life difficult for the person who already has difficulties,  whatever their background. It makes me mad.


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