Following on from last week’s insight, this week we take a look at what critical illness conditions male clients are most likely to suffer from at different ages.
Unlike women where different conditions have higher incidence at different ages, for men a stage 1-4 cancer (which is covered by the main cancer definition on all CI policies) is the condition that has the highest incidence across all age bands. The type of cancer a male is most likely to suffer from, however does change with age.
Up until the age of 40, the cancer with the highest incidence is carcinoma of the testis with the highest incidence in the 30-34 bracket. Unlike other cancers, the incidence for testicular cancer decreases as males grow older. The chart below compares the incidence rates (per 100,000 of the population) of 6 cancers with the highest prevalence between the ages of 20 and 49 for males. The incidence for each relates to a diagnosis of between stage 1 and 4 and therefore covered by the main cancer definition in CI policies. These rates do not take into account the in situ incidence as these cancers are rarely diagnosed before the reach stage 1-4 and therefore the incidence of in situ is minimal.
As can be seen the likelihood of being diagnosed with one of these cancers at an early age is relatively low. As a male progresses into his 50’s however we see the likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer increase significantly and different cancers become more prevalent.
Once into the 50s carcinoma of the prostate becomes the highest incidence cancer for males followed by carcinoma of the lung. Both conditions of significantly higher incidence than any other cancer as can be seen from the graph below.
When considering the range of in situ and low-grade cancers covered by many critical illness plans, only low grade prostate cancer has a significant incidence rate and this is only at age 60 and above. The reason for this is there are far more prostate exams carried out in older patients which will pick up prostate cancer at an early stage.
Other cancers are generally not tested for unless there are symptoms by which time the cancer has often progressed passed in situ or low grade to stage 1-4. This is particularly highlighted in the case of testicular carcinoma in situ for which there was not one recorded case in the UK in 2016.
Outside of cancer, the other conditions that have high prevalence for men are largely cardiovascular related. Heart Attack is well known as a condition that critical illness plans pay a lot of claims for but up until a client reaches the age of 70 they are more likely to have a coronary angioplasty than a heart attack. Over the last year we have seen some big improvements in coronary angioplasty definitions from Old Mutual Wealth, Royal London and Zurich with Guardian and Vitality currently providing the broadest coverage. Such improvements should mean we should see more claims for coronary angioplasty over the coming years.
Congestive heart failure is another condition that has been added by a number of insurers in recent times. Whilst at younger ages this has a very small incidence, in later years this has a big spike in prevalence and as such is another condition where we will see more claims in the coming years.
Overall, for males we do not see as much variance in the conditions that are more likely to affect our clients until the more advanced ages. The highest incidence condition across all age ranges is stage 1-4 cancer and so a strong main cancer definition is preferable.
Within our Quality Analyser Critical Illness comparison tool we use incidence data as highlighted in this article in order to understand the conditions a client is more likely to suffer from during the term of the plan. This enables us to weight these conditions more heavily so that the conditions a client is more likely to suffer from have a bigger impact on the score than those that they are not likely to suffer from. This combined with our panel of medical experts’ analysis of insurer wordings means that advisers can be confident that they are recommending the best policy for their client based on their own unique circumstances.