The news on cancer is both good and bad. The long retreat of infectious disease as a cause of early death means that cancer is a far more likely disorder. Within that great trend there are other trends, national, and individual factors which affect risk. But this is the key from a recent article:
"Given increasing incidence rates, the average lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer has increased from one in three to one in two. However, as incidence rates have increased, mortality rates have reduced, leading to better outcomes overall. The good news is that cancer survival rates are improving: for patients diagnosed during 2010-2011 in England and Wales, 46% of men and 54% of women are predicted to survive their cancer for 10 years or more. However, the cost challenge for critical illness insurers and reinsurers is likely to persist."
The article "Cancer and cost", by Aisling Kennedy, reports on the latest data on the incidence and risks of cancer, at The Actuary.com - and it is well worth a read.
The implication for individual insurance programmes, I think, is that a good combination of trauma and income protection insurance is ideal. Trauma because it can deliver assistance even before the insured is too ill to work. Income protection because it can provide most of the funds to replace income for a long period of time.