News Life and Health26 Sep 2018

Singapore:Insurers should fill the gap in cancer-related prevention and early diagnostic tests - Medix CEO

| 26 Sep 2018

Across all age groups and gender, Singaporeans are worried about their health and particularly of being diagnosed with cancer. However, most of them do not undertake any cancer-related prevention and early diagnostic tests, according to the Medix Medical Monitor Survey results released yesterday.

A significant majority of Singaporeans (83%) are worried about one day being diagnosed with cancer. The next highest concerns are heart attacks (51%) and diabetes (44%).

Yet, while 60% undergo some general physical examinations, only 26% actually undergo any tests that are related to the prevention and/or early diagnosis of cancer which are known to save lives.

For example, only 29% of men undergo liver function tests when liver cancer is among the most common type of cancer among men in Singapore, and only 37% of women undergo Pap smear or breast examinations when breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer and the number one cause of cancer mortality in women in Singapore.  

Ms Sigal Atzmon, CEO, Medix, said, “The fear of cancer is one of the most striking findings of this survey, especially when you consider it alongside the lack of tests being carried out to diagnose it.”

Call to action

To address these issues, she called on insurance companies to develop products that provide cancer-related prevention and early diagnostic tests, and also products that cover genetic testing of tumours to match the best treatment option. At the moment, only 9% understand the need to undergo genetic testing of tumours.

“Genetic testing of tumours is not covered by most insurers in Singapore today, and people pay out of their pockets. One of the things that Medix is going to work on is to introduce new insurance products that are going to cover advice, the test itself, and with the results, what are the best treatment options that should be implemented,” she said. Medix is starting to put together a board of leading oncologists and to work with insurance companies on this.  

She also called on the Singapore Government to take additional steps to better educate Singaporeans about cancer prevention and treatment, and to improve accessibility to subsidised cancer screening tests.

“There is a clear demand for more information around the options available when it comes to healthcare in Singapore,” said Ms Atzmon. “Knowledge is power, and making educated, objective choices should be Singaporeans’ priority. Everyone from insurers to doctors to governments should be offering the necessary resources to provide these options and ensure that everyone is confident about being able to access them.”

About the survey

The Medix Medical Monitor Research investigates Singapore consumers’ awareness and behaviour towards health issues and cancer. The research was conducted by Kantar Millward Brown in August 2018. The research data was collected through computer-assisted web interviews of 600 people who are health insurance policyholders aged 26 to 59.  

Medix was the winner of Service Provider of the Year at the 21st Asia Insurance Industry Awards 2017. Established in 2006, Medix is a global provider of medical management solutions with a client base exceeding three million members in over 90 countries. 

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