05 April 2022
MLC Life Insurance and TelstraSuper are joining forces to pilot a new awareness program prompting members to check their eligibility for early cancer screening tests.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of Australians have delayed or deferred taking these important tests because of restrictions on social movement and access to health services.
According to figures from Cancer Australia, there were 163,595 fewer diagnostic procedures, such as scans or biopsies, carried out for 14 common cancers, such as breast, kidney, ovarian and cervical cancer in 2020 alone.
Currently, only half of Australians eligible for free cancer checks – such as breast cancer, bowel cancer and cervical cancer – take them up. Because cancer can take a long time to develop, screening tests can detect cancer while it is still in its early stages and therefore more likely to be effectively treated.
Provided free of charge to TelstraSuper members, Aware by CancerAid asks a series of health questions to help them understand which lifestyle habits increase cancer risk and provides recommendations to change health behaviour if required. The questions were created by the doctors, coaches and researchers at CancerAid.
Based on the responses to the questions, members may be offered a free information session with a GP, as well as advice and government resources on how to reduce their risk of cancer through activities such as exercise, diet changes, smoking cessation programs and skin checks.
Chris Davies, CEO of TelstraSuper, said the time is now for Australians to get back on track with health checks.
“The ongoing coronavirus restrictions have caused many of us to put off taking screening tests for some of the most common cancers. Tragically, this will likely lead to many cancer diagnoses being missed early, impacting the potential for a successful health outcome.
Through this pilot, we want to encourage our members to understand how to reduce their cancer risk and to check their eligibility for free screening services. We hope that his program helps save lives and are pleased to be partnering with MLC Life Insurance and CancerAid to increase the number of our members accessing screenings, which is one of the most effective ways to detect the early signs of cancer.”
According to Cancer Australia, more than 150,000 Australians were diagnosed with cancer in 2021.
Andrew Beevors, Chief Claims Officer, MLC Life Insurance, says that any proactive intervention from funds and insurers in the health of members can make a difference.
“We see the impact of cancer daily in the claims we pay to members and their families. When it comes to cancer, early detection and intervention is key to better health outcomes.
“We know the enormous emotional and physical toll a cancer diagnosis can have, which is why we invest in programs that support people with cancer, such as CancerAid.”
Through its longstanding relationship with CancerAid, MLC Life Insurance offers all members with a cancer diagnosis free access to the CancerAid Coach Program, a digitally enabled course that guides customers through cancer treatment. It brings together the individualised attention of professional health coaches, a smartphone app along with a researched curriculum and manageable goals.
The program is offered in conjunction with access to the CancerAid App, which organises medical records and streamlines information on appointments, treatments, and specialists. It gives patients and caregivers medically reliable information about their illness and treatment plan, a symptom monitoring tool and access to a supportive community of patients and carers.
TelstraSuper is a leading profit-to-member super fund, representing current and former Telstra Group employees and associated employers as well as their friends and families. It has approximately $25 billion in funds under management.