Both my husband and I have had family members who have been touched by cancer. I lost my grandmother to lymphoma when I was 1. My husband’s father passed away from lung cancer a little over three years ago. My mom has been a breast cancer survivor for almost 15 years. Needless to say, we know that cancer does not discriminate and is not something that only happens to other people’s families. While we both hope that we never hear the diagnosis ourselves, we are realists and know that the possibility, especially with our family history, is very real.
We’re aware of the statistics that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetimes. However, as medical technology advances and breakthroughs are made, more and more Americans are living with cancer as a manageable disease (Cancer Facts and Figures,” American Cancer Society, 2017). With this in mind, both the hubs and I have been thinking about the future more lately and learning steps that we can take to not only protect our health, but also protect our family in the case of a cancer diagnosis. Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, but I wanted to share my ideas on how to help protect your family in case of a cancer diagnosis.
Having watched family members receive a cancer diagnosis both as a child and as an adult, I’ve seen an array of reactions. I’ve seen shock. I’ve seen grief. I’ve seen resilience. I’ve seen courageous battles waged, and I’ve stood by a survivor’s side and attended a victim’s funeral. The one thing that has been the same through all the cancer battles I’ve seen in my family is that no one has ever said, “I wish I hadn’t prepared.” As adults and as parents, I feel strongly that it’s our job to help protect our children and our lifestyle from the unexpected. For me, I want to ensure that my boys have security no matter what life throws at me. I want to know that no matter what happens in life, their lives will go on relatively uninterrupted and without worries.
Does that mean I stop hoping that a cancer diagnosis never comes? Absolutely not! But as a mom of two boys who need stability no matter what life happens to throw at me or my husband, I subscribe to the theory that it is much better to prepare for the unexpected and never need those preparations than to be caught off guard.
With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few simple steps that are beneficial in not only safeguarding our health, but also protecting our family in the case of an unexpected cancer diagnosis.
Attend Yearly Doctor’s Visits
The way that medical advancements are happening daily, cancer is becoming less of a life sentence in many cases. My doctor has told me repeatedly that catching cancer early greatly improves chances of beating it in most cases. That’s why I think it’s important to attend yearly doctor’s visits on time and without rescheduling when at all possible. Most insurance covers a yearly physical for every member of the family and a gynecological checkup for females. Trust me when I say go to these! I know that at times, it can feel inconvenient to schedule time out of your day, but it’s so important! For me personally, my annual blood work and pap smear are a proactive way that I can keep on top of my health and make sure that I catch anything that is going on with my body quickly. Be sure to talk to your own doctor about what yearly checkup schedule he or she would like you to keep and what tests are important.
Look into Cancer Protection Assurance
Just as I said earlier, I hope I never receive a cancer diagnosis, but as I’ve been researching more and more, I’m seeing a big benefit in helping protect my family with an insurance policy like Aflac’s Cancer Protection Assurance.* Aflac’s Cancer Protection Assurance helps provide financial support to those who are diagnosed with cancer and their families. Anyone who has had a loved one experience cancer knows that the costs associated with cancer care can be crippling. While health insurance does help, Aflac’s Cancer Protection Assurance is not a major medical insurance policy, but instead it is voluntary insurance that provides benefits and care from the beginning of the cancer process through the end, including detection and diagnosis, treatment and even supportive benefits through recovery. It’s a great way to make sure that should an unexpected diagnosis come, you’ve helped protect your family in the best way possible and provided for your own care, taking one major worry off your plate.
In addition to providing financial benefits to help allow you to focus on simply beating cancer without the worry of how it will affect your family, Aflac’s Cancer Protection Assurance also gives policyholders access to CancerCare, a program that provides emotional support from experts like oncology social workers as well as access to support groups and online tools. All these benefits are made even better by the fact that Aflac pays claims fast and your policy can travel with you from job to job and even when you retire. Since it has benefit options that can be paid in a lump-sum amount or upon diagnosis, my husband and I are strongly considering applying for Aflac’s Cancer Protection Assurance for ourselves so that if the unexpected does happen, we don’t have to worry about the costs and can instead focus on beating cancer, becoming survivors and making more memories.
While I know that cancer does not discriminate and is almost always unexpected, I think that there are so many things that we can do to help ensure that should the diagnosis ever come, we’re as ready as possible. I hope I never hear the words that I have cancer, but I gain comfort from the fact that I know if I ever do, I’ve done everything I can to prepare. I’ve talked about it with my husband. I’ve protected the kids. I’ve given myself every tool possible so that should the diagnosis come, I’m ready to wage war and fight.
Now, it’s your turn. If you think cancer can never touch you or someone you know, it can. I hope for a world one day where cancer can’t hurt any of us, and I truly think it will happen, but until it does, be sure you’re doing everything you can to be better prepared.
Tell me, do you know someone who has been impacted by cancer? How would Aflac’s Cancer Protection Assurance have helped in their battle?
Make Exercise and Eating Right a Priority
While there are many different factors that play a part in developing cancer (again, I’m not a doctor, so please speak to your doctor before changing your exercise or eating habits), I believe that keeping your body in fighting shape will always serve you well if a diagnosis does come. Eating a healthy diet and engaging in moderate exercise several times a week has many health benefits. Am I saying that you won’t develop cancer if you do these things? No. My mother is the epitome of eating right and exercising, and she still got cancer, but I do feel that her care for her body over the years helped prepare it to fight a strong battle.
*Aflac Cancer Protection Assurance is a cancer/specified-disease insurance policy. In Oklahoma, Policies B70100OK, B70200OK, B70300OK, B7010EPOK and B7020EPOK. Policy may not be available in all states including but not limited to Idaho, New Jersey and Virginia. The policy has limitations and exclusions that may affect benefits payable. Refer to the policy for complete details, limitations, and exclusions. For costs and complete details of the coverage, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.
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