It’s impossible to be anything other than positive about the changes in UK life expectancy. With more of us expected to reach the ripe old age of 90 and beyond by 20301, your clients can face the future with an extra measure of reassurance and confidence.

However, as much as we welcome the trend, at the same time we need to be realistic and accept that this will also mean many of us will spend more of our later years with a long-term health condition – including the big C, with all the potential financial consequences that can bring.

Simply by living longer, people have more time to get cancer – “Age is the biggest risk factor for most cancers” according to Cancer Research UK. Therefore, where it used to be that 1 in 3 of us would get cancer in our lifetime, the new figure is now 1 in 22.

Not only does this mean that more people will develop the disease in their lifetime, it also means that more people will experience it more than once.

That’s not all. Anyone who has chemotherapy during their first diagnosis is at higher risk of getting cancer a second time. That’s because the drugs, which target cancerous cells, also affect normal cells; even targeted radiation treatment can lead to a second cancer down the line3. In addition to all of this, recurrent cancers can often be more severe4.

However, the good news is that more and more people are getting through cancer, with survival rates doubling in the last 40 years alone5. Even more encouragingly, an estimated 38%6 of cancers are still preventable through lifestyle changes. 15% can be prevented through not smoking, 6% through controlling obesity6 and 4% from eating a healthy diet7.

As said earlier, the potential for people to spend years of their middle to later life in ill health can have considerable financial consequences, whether that’s because of the inability to work or the need to pay for greater care needs.

The problem – and it’s one that we at VitalityLife have worked hard to overcome – is that most protection policies only cover you for one bout of cancer, with replacement cover hard to find or prohibitively expensive because of new loadings applied to any second policy.

It’s precisely with this thought in mind – and the desire to keep providing cover that’s relevant to the changing public health landscape – that we now include Cancer Relapse Benefit in our Comprehensive Cover, a unique option on our Serious Illness Cover.

Cancer Relapse Benefit comes with three big advantages:

  1. Paying out should cancer reoccur
  2. Paying out even if the cancer is at a lower severity than the previous cancer
  3. Boosting the amount paid by 50% – a new development in the protection market

It’s worth remembering too, that our plans can also reward your clients for making the positive lifestyle choices that can help reduce their chances of getting cancer in the first place.

Vitality members can get help to stop smoking; discounts on thousands of healthy foods, to help them eat well; and discounted gym membership and activity trackers, to help them get active – all proven ways to promote better long-term health.

None of this can guarantee that your clients stay cancer-free. But, in the unpleasant event that it should happen, Vitality’s Cancer Relapse Benefit which is included within our Comprehensive Cover, means that they will be provided with the support to focus on getting well, free from any unwelcome financial pressure.