More than half of people live how they like and “hope cancer doesn’t happen to them”

A doctor sits with a man and points at a laptop screen.

King Charles’ recent diagnosis has sadly shown that cancer can happen to anyone, irrespective of wealth. Indeed, in your lifetime, it is highly likely that either you or someone close to you will be diagnosed with cancer.

However, research by Aviva has revealed that more than half of people live how they want to, and only hope that cancer “doesn’t happen to them”.

Of course, there is immense value to living in the moment and not spending your life in fear of what may or may not be coming around the corner. But a serious illness like cancer can impact wider elements of your life, such as your family and your finances.

So, a bit of preparation can go a long way in providing peace of mind and financial security during such challenging times.

Read on to find out how a serious illness like cancer can impact your finances and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Cancer diagnoses are high, but a large number of Brits say they don’t do anything to reduce the risk

Cancer diagnoses are very common. NHS figures show that 1 in 2 people will get some form of cancer in their lifetime, while Cancer Research UK reports that around 1,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every day.

Despite this likelihood, 59% of Brits said they live on their own terms and hope they don’t get cancer. Furthermore, 1 in 5 admitted they were potentially endangering themselves and putting their health at risk by not doing anything to reduce the risks of developing cancer or other serious illnesses.

Conversely, 42% of Brits reported living very healthy lifestyles and said they adopted at least one healthy behaviour to protect them against cancer and other illnesses. But 67% admitted that there was more they could do to mitigate the risk of cancer.

There are many habits you can adopt to improve your health and reduce your risk of cancer:

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet
  • Limiting your alcohol consumption
  • Quitting smoking
  • Taking regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Staying safe in the sun.

All these habits will boost your overall health, reduce your risk of cancer, and provide your body with the foundation it needs to best fight illness.

However, nothing can guarantee long-term health or entirely eliminate the risk of serious illness, so it is wise to be prepared for such an event – even if you are as healthy as could be.

The financial impact of cancer

Aside from the devastating impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on your personal life, there could also be financial repercussions.

A report by Macmillan Cancer Support found that 83% of people with cancer are, on average, £570 a month worse off because of their diagnosis. This figure comprises a combination of reduced income due to time off work, healthcare costs, and day-to-day expenses.

There are further financial implications that are not accounted for in the report, all of which could result in significant financial setbacks.

For example, the consequences of your diagnosis could lead to a reduction in pension contributions, a loss in savings, or additional costs due to having to retire earlier than you expected.

There is also a possibility that your spouse or partner may have to take time off work to provide further support for you or your children.

In the event of a serious illness, you may have costs that would need to be paid by your family or next of kin

The financial impact of cancer can have considerable knock-on effects on the wellbeing of both you and the people directly and indirectly affected by the disease, including your family and even your business. It can place a huge amount of additional pressure on you at a time when you want to focus on treatment and recovery.

For example, you may still have mortgage repayments and other regular bills to keep up with. In the event of a serious illness that stops you from working and earning, the responsibility to make these payments will fall on your next of kin.

You might also have costs to cover related to your children, such as their school or university fees. You may even need to decide who will have guardianship over your children if you were to pass or no longer be capable of caring for them, and ensure that the guardian has enough income to look after them.

Further expenses could include the cost of adapting your home if you need to make it more suitable for your condition, or the costs of receiving at-home care. There is also unfortunately the possibility your family could be left with funeral expenses, if the worst were to happen.

Protection and financial planning can help to ensure your finances are stabilised in the event of a serious illness

The right protection or insurance cannot stop you from getting a serious illness like cancer. However, it can protect you, your next of kin, or your family against any significant financial repercussions caused by your illness.

Protection could help to replace income, cover costs such as mortgage repayments so your next of kin is not responsible, or even repay debts. Certain types of cover could also ensure your business receives an injection of capital if you are absent for an extended period.

The cover you choose could provide a crucial boost to your finances, ensuring they remain stable and giving you one less thing to worry about at an already stressful time.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you protect your finances in the event of cancer or another serious illness, please get in touch.

Contact us by email at or call us on 01189 876655.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.