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28/07/2021

Waterford cancer survivors face 'discrimination' when getting mortgages and insurances

Waterford cancer survivors face discrimination when getting mortgages and insurances

Many cancer survivors face discrimination when accessing financial services such as mortgages and insurances.

This is according to Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune, who has called for equal access to financial services including insurance for cancer survivors. 

There is estimated to be over 12 million cancer survivors in Europe including around 300,000 childhood cancer survivors. Often when applying for insurance, cancer survivors can be asked to disclose their full medical history. This could lead to increased insurance premiums.

MEP Clune says with better systems in place now for early detection of cancer, there are now millions of cancer survivors all around Europe and this is increasing by 3% every year. Figures show that around 20% of five-year cancer survivors younger than 50 years are not able to get life insurance. 

With the publication of the European Commission's EU's Beating Cancer plan alongside the establishment of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer in the European Parliament, the momentum for tackling the issue of cancer has never been stronger, says MEP Clune. The Commission has committed to working with financial services to ensure fairness in this area. It  will work with relevant stakeholders to address access to financial products for cancer survivors. 

MEP Deirdre Clune says: “With great advancements and progress in medicine and medical treatments, effective therapies and supportive care, more and more people are surviving cancer. While this is a reason for optimism, there also needs to be appropriate follow-up care, access to social protection and equal access to financial services including insurance. Many cancer survivors face discrimination when accessing financial services such as mortgages and insurances.” 

The right to be forgotten for cancer survivors consists of a proposal of a legal provision ensuring transparency and the interest of former cancer patients in accessing financial instruments.

The exclusion of cancer survivors to contract life insurances or other financial instruments makes property ownership difficult in some EU countries. Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have adopted legal measures to counter financial discrimination against cancer survivors.

Under new laws in Belgium pertaining to the right to be forgotten, insurance or loan contracts no longer need cancer related medical information that's more than 10 years old. For cancers before the age of 18, the limit is five years.

“We need to focus on issues facing cancer patients and survivors. It's time for an EU-wide right to be forgotten for cancer survivors and to do that we need to have legislation that is applicable across the EU,” adds MEP Clune. 

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