In Singapore, cancer, heart disease and stroke remain the top killers and account for over 50% of death. Here are the facts:

  • Cancer accounted for almost one in three of the 16,392 deaths last year
  • The most common cancer for males is Lung cancer and for females is breast cancer.
  • Cancer incidences are rising rapidly, it is anticipated that by 2020 the total number of new cancer cases in Asia will ballon from 4.5 million in 2002 to 7.1 million
Based on Life Matters Survey Index 2008
Based on Life Matters Survey Index 2008

There are normally 30 critical illness covered under your insurance policy. I am going to give some insights about the technical aspect of the coverage. Today I am going to talk about Major Cancer


A malignant tumour characterised by the uncontrolled growth and spread of malignant cells with invasion and destruction of normal tissue.  This diagnosis must be supported by histological evidence of malignancy and confirmed by an oncologist or pathologist.

The following are excluded:
  • Tumours showing the malignant changes of carcinoma-in-situ and tumours which are histologically described as pre-malignant or non-invasive, including, but not limited to: Carcinoma-in-Situ of the Breasts, Cervical Dysplasia CIN-1, CIN-2 and CIN-3;
  • Hyperkeratoses, basal cell and squamous skin cancers, and melanomas of less than 1.5mm Breslow thickness, or less than Clark Level 3, unless there is evidence of metastases;
  • Prostate cancers histologically described as TNM Classification T1a or T1b or Prostate cancers of another equivalent or lesser classification, T1N0M0 Papillary micro-carcinoma of the Thyroid less than 1 cm in diameter,  Papillary micro-carcinoma of the Bladder, and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia less than RAI Stage 3; and
  • All tumours in the presence of HIV infection.

Cancer Staging:

Staging systems vary according to the type of tumour. One widely used system is the TNM classifications which can be applied to most cancers.

T  =  Tumour
N  =  Node
M  =  Metastases
T describe the size of the tumour (where in To there is no evidence of tumour and T1 – T3 indicates a progression increase in size;
N describe the increasing involvement of nodes CN1 – CN3;
M describe the absence (Mo) or presence (M1) of metastases

Carcinoma in Situ

Most carcinomas begin as localised growths confined to the epithelium (surface lining) in which they arise. As long as these early cancers do not penetrate the basement membrane on which the epithelium rests. Such tumours are termed Carcinoma in Situ. If discovered at this early stage, the prognosis is excellent as they are very accurate.

Note Carcinoma in Situ is NOT Covered under standarded critical illness plan as it is considered as a pre-stage cancer. Fortunately, you can still get yourself protected by certain female plans.

Although since 2003, all insurers adopted the same definition, they only cover 30 out of 37 common critical illness.

You may contact me for independent advise for critical illness coverage.

About the Author

Ivan Guan is the author of the popular book "FIRE Your Retirement". He is an independent financial adviser with more than a decade of knowledge and experience in providing financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses. He specializes in investment planning and portfolio management for early retirement. His blog provides practical financial tips, strategies and resources to help people achieve financial freedom. Follow his Telegram Channel to join the FIRE community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This does not reflect the official position of any agency, organization, employer or company. Refer to full disclaimers here.

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