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Cancer and Insurance in Hong Kong: A Pre-Existing Condition?

We all know that cancer is one of the most serious medical conditions out there, but how prevalent is it in Hong Kong? Here, Pacific Prime provides information on cancer in Hong Kong, as well as info on how best to protect yourself from it.

Posted on Jul 02, 2015 by Travis Jones

Cancer incidence in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Cancer Fund provides a comprehensive range of information on disease incidence and treatment options in Hong Kong. According to the Cancer Fund, lung, colorectal and breast cancer are the most common disease types for both Hong Kong men and women. Prostate cancer is also a concern for men with approximately 11 percent of all men’s cancer cases in Hong Kong relating to the prostate.  

Unfortunately, rates of cancer in Hong Kong have been steadily increasing. From 2002 to 2012, cancer cases rose around 2.5 percent every year. It’s a leading cause of death in Hong Kong, responsible for nearly one third of all deaths in the city. Some of these increases in cancer and cancer-related fatalities can be attributed to the fact that people in Hong Kong have some of the longest life expectancies in the world – and the risk of cancer increases greatly with age. There’s also evidence that recent lifestyle changes in the city, including higher-fat diets with fewer fresh vegetables, could also be having an effect on increasing rates of cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment of cancer

Cancer diagnosis normally begins with a recommendation from the patient’s primary physician. It’s important to visit a physician at regular intervals to ensure that at the first sign of cancer, diagnostic services can be employed. The sooner cancer is detected the sooner treatment can begin, and the better chance a patient has of remission.

Diagnostic tools for cancer include a biopsy, in which a thin needle is inserted into the body to extract cells, which will then be X-rayed to check for cancerous cells. An oncologist may also recommend a CT or ultrasound scan to get a better idea of the cancer’s location and its size. Once detected, cancer may be treated through surgery to remove cancerous cells, radiotherapy to kill localized cells or chemotherapy, especially in cases where the cancer is quickly spreading. None of these treatment options guarantee a cure, but all of them can slow the cancer or sometimes lead to remission.

Cancer patients in Hong Kong can access a good level of care and support at both public and private hospitals throughout the city. Hospitals including Princess Margaret Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital offer specialist oncology services, and patients may also choose to visit a private cancer clinic for a wider choice of physician, more privacy during treatment and more convenience scheduling appointments. Patients who do opt to visit a private clinic for oncological care generally prefer to hold an employer-sponsored or independent insurance policy, as private cancer services can be very costly.

Is treatment for cancer covered by insurance?

Many insurance companies cover oncological diagnosis and treatment; however some policies may consider cancer a pre-existing condition and refuse to pay for its care. Pacific Prime feels certain that policy-holders should have access to cancer diagnosis and treatment, which is why we work with coverage partners who don’t exclude oncology care based on pre-existing condition stipulations.

To find out more, contact the experts at Pacific Prime. Not only can they provide you with answers to any and all questions that you may have, they can compare health insurance plans from among the world’s top insurers and provide you with a free quotation.

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