There's no doubt that survival rates of certain illnesses have increased dramatically over the last few decadesi. With advances in modern medicine, early detection and increased awareness of disease prevention, the likelihood of surviving a heart attackii, strokeiii and even some forms of canceriv are considerably higher now than ever before.
Better chance of survival
Although cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, survival rates for this disease have increased by 30% over the last few yearsi. According to Cancer Council Australia, of the 114,000 new cancer cases that were diagnosed in 2010, 60% were expected to survive for five years or longer after their diagnosisi. For stroke victims, survival rates improve significantly after the first year of recovery - the Perth Community Stroke Study found that one out of three stroke patients died within the first year of their stroke, but the annual survival rate was approximately 90% per year between one and five years after the strokev. Furthermore, Australia is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to successful organ transplantation, with one year survival rates at above 80% for most organsvi.
Living with a Critical illness
A critical illness may not always be life threatening, but it can still have a major impact on your life, and those around you. For instance, advanced degenerative neurological diseases, which affect the central nervous system, often require a lot of care from others as they impact on the ability to move and speakvii,viii. In Australia, there are approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinson's disease, with symptoms ranging from tremors, rigidity and slow movements, to lethargy and sleep disturbanceviii. In 2005, it was estimated that about 21,000 Australians had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosisix, approximately 3,500 Australians have muscular dystrophyx and 1,400 Australians suffer from motor neurone disease (MND)xi. Affected people, together with their families and carers, have to face the continual challenges of day-to-day life.
Focus on your recovery
Advances in modern medicine have increased the survival rate of patients who suffer from certain critical illnesses. For survivors, innovative technology involved in patient treatment and recovery can lead to expensive medical bills and patients with permanent or degenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, can face added bills for medication, carers, additional child care for dependents and more. The incidence or onset of critical illnesses can impact both the patient's and their family's' life financially.
Providing future financial security for your family should not be an afterthought, it is important to consider while you are young and healthy, before you have any health scares, and while there are still a range of options available to you.
By taking out life insurance, you can focus on recuperating or managing your illness without the worry of how it will impact your family's financial situation. Critical illness cover from Allianz provides a lump sum payment if you suffer one of the defined Critical Illness events and survive for a period of at least 14 days, regardless of your ability to work. This cover is able to assist in securing your family's finances.
i Cancer Council Australia, 2011, Facts and figures,
ii The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2002, Epidemic of coronary heart disease and its treatment in Australia, http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442454886
iii Australian Catholic University, 2011, Stroke Survival, http://www.acu.edu.au/384575
iv The conversation, 2011, Survival rates rising for most cancers in Australia, http://theconversation.edu.au/survival-rates-rising-for-most-cancers-in-australia-4657
v American Heart Association Inc., 2000, Five year survival after first-ever stroke and related prognostic factors in the Perth community stroke study, http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/31/9/2080.abstract?ijkey=574439d5a421a3a7f01ee59daafcc4153d247d6f&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
vi The Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2011, Original transplation from deceased donors, http://www.tsanz.com.au/downloads/2011%2023%20June%20-%20TSANZ%20Consensus%20Statement%20Vs%201.1.pdf, p.vii
vii Muscular Dystrophy Australia, A Brief Disorder Description, http://www.mda.org.au/Disorders/Description.asp
viii Better Health Channel, 2010, Parkinson's disease, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Parkinson%27s_disease_explained?open
ix MS Australia, 2005, About MS, http://www.msaustralia.org.au/aboutms.asp
x Muscular Dystrophy Australia, The cost of muscular dystrophy, http://www.mda.org.au/media/accesslaunch/Gullotta.asp
xi Neuroscience Research Australia, Motor neurone disease (MND), http://www.neura.edu.au/health/motor-neurone-disease-mnd