Did you know 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year? It’s the second leading cause of adult mortality right behind heart disease. Learning of a cancer diagnosis is extremely upsetting news that generates anxiety, stress, and helplessness. It’s often a double-edged sword worrying about personal survivorship and future needs of the family.
There is, however a growing sense of justified optimism regarding long-term cancer outcomes. Over the past two decades there have been extraordinary advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment and progress continues to accelerate. A cancer diagnosis is no longer considered a death sentence. Consider these statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS):
- Greater than 1-in-3 adults will develop cancer during their lifetime.1
- 87% of cancers are diagnosed in people age 50 and older.1
- Currently there are over 15 million cancer survivors in the United States.1
The most astounding ACS statistic for financial professionals to remember is that the overall five-year survival rate for all cancers (the clinical benchmark for cancer cure) is now at 69% — the highest rate of success ever recorded.1 In fact, overall cancer death rates have dropped 26% since 1991.1 That means many more people are living with a cancer diagnosis, and cancer care is very expensive. Treatment can be administered over months, even years. Ongoing follow-up tests and imaging studies persist for years. Even with insurance, cancer patients incur heavy out-of-pocket expenses for many reasons. Insurance and Medicare are inadequate. Laws that try to limit out-of-pocket expenses only apply to covered benefits. Individuals need emergency savings to be able to prosper during this difficult time.
A cancer diagnosis can also steadily drain retirement assets. Consider the experience of six-time PGA winner Stewart Cink. His personal and professional life were forever impacted when his wife was diagnosed with cancer.
Here’s where you can demonstrate your value to the client and family. Making yourself available to help individuals plan for the costs of cancer treatment and cancer survivorship offers a positive path away from worry that also encourages them to own the journey to recovery.
As much as your clients will need to rely on expert medical resources for diagnosis and treatment, they should also seek out the best available financial support to identify effective strategies to help alleviate the financial burden created by a cancer diagnosis.
Ideally, you have already established a close relationship with your clients so they immediately think of you whenever trouble arises. This crisis can be a powerful opportunity for financial professionals to prove themselves as a trusted ally of the family. Your insight, resources, and genuine concern will be witnessed and appreciated by the entire family.
Download our Planning to Outsmart Cancer Toolkit.
This resource updates our current knowledge about cancer in simple language. From there it describes three key areas of focus for financial professionals and their clients. You do not need to be a physician to share the clear and impactful health care and financial strategies outlined in the toolkit. You simply need to be willing to engage your clients by offering holistic best practices at a time when it really counts.
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2018. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2018
Doctor Bill Lloyd is a board certified surgeon and pathologist. He joined Transamerica earlier this year as its first Health Director. Bill and his wife Mary (also a physician) live in Sacramento, California.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide medical, tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as, medical, insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.