Insurers turn away 41% of childhood cancer survivors

There are figures and realities that cannot leave one indifferent.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 May 2023 Wednesday 10:25
25 Reads
Insurers turn away 41% of childhood cancer survivors

There are figures and realities that cannot leave one indifferent. Without going any further, that insurers reject 41% of childhood cancer survivors. This is confirmed by the Spanish Federation of Parents of Children with Cancer (Fepnc), which, within the framework of the European week against cancer, has released the results of a study which also states that 49% of respondents who have an insurance company has been forced to omit their history of cancer to avoid financial rejection, while 51% of those who have managed to contract insurance, a mortgage or a loan have some special condition, such as increased premiums.

On many occasions -the FEPNC, which brings together 22 associations from all over Spain- asserts, people who suffer this discrimination have not experienced a recurrence of the disease for more than two and three decades, but despite this they are victims of this exclusion. And all because, currently, to get life insurance in order to take out a mortgage, for example, it is mandatory to specify all the health data, "even if you suffered from pediatric cancer 20 years ago," he explains to La Vanguard Pilar Flores, manager of the FEPNC. "If you lie, it can have its consequences," she adds.

And of course -he continues-, when you specify it in the questionnaire there is a rejection, "although they don't tell you directly". "We know this because there are cases of couples in which the one who had the disease is not accepted and the other member is." And in case of accepting it, she adds, "it is under much more burdensome conditions, covering you much less things."

This situation does not occur in countries like France, Luxembourg or Belgium, where they do have specific legislation. In this sense, it is worth remembering the recent commitment of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to make the right to cancer oblivion a reality as of June 2023, an announcement considered by the FEPNC as "an important advance in terms of the rights of survivors of childhood cancer, who are the ones who suffer the most from these consequences".

A 2022 European Parliament resolution determined that, in Europe, the right to be forgotten should be a reality in all member states by 2025 for all European patients ten years after the end of their treatment and no later than five years after the end treatment for patients whose diagnosis was made before the age of 18. Spain intends to establish the limit of five years for all survivors.

In this way, the Sánchez Executive intends to follow the example of countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal or Italy, which have already made progress in guaranteeing this right. In the French country they even have some tables -Flores stresses- "where certain types of cancers, depending on the stage in which they were found at the time of diagnosis, that five-year period can be reduced to three, two or one year".

The FEPNC manager recalls that there is not only discrimination against this group at the financial level, but also in the labor and educational field. "At the moment we are focused on solving the financial issue, but we will continue working to alleviate other types of discrimination."

Some people even have a hard time getting back to the job they had before the diagnosis. "We have learned that there is a bill that has been stopped for a year in the Congress of Deputies for the labor and social protection of people who have suffered a serious illness or carcinoma, so we have to work on it," holds flowers.

He defends that the idea is that these citizens can opt for a time and job adaptation, reductions in working hours, the option of teleworking and "even the reservation of employment for a few years."

He explains that, unfortunately, there are cases of layoffs. "Yes, the judges determine that there has been an unfair dismissal and they compensate you, but you go to the street and you only have the resource of kicking."

In the end, he summarizes, it is a question of implanting "protection for all these survivors so that they can return to a normal life, adjusted to what the disease has allowed them, without this type of obstacle." And he remembers: "One in three people will have some type of cancer in her life."