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by ConsultaPanel Team, 01 Jun 2012

Female-specific cancer

Market research online community members recently took part in a research initiative that was targeted at women to determine their perceptions about various things relating to cancer. Women are often exposed to a different set of dangers relating to cancer than their male counterparts. Also, as caregivers (and often the head of single parent households), South African women have a completely different set of fears, challenges and needs when it comes to coping with a possible cancer diagnosis and making the necessary preparations to make sure they can deal with the situation.

Approximately 7000 women of all income levels, race and age took part in our online survey. In the first part of our research, wanted to determine the level of awareness regarding female-specific cancer and we asked panelists whether they knew somebody who had been diagnosed with female-specific cancer.

35% of respondents said they had a family member who had been diagnosed with female-specific cancer, 29% knew a friend that has been diagnosed, 12% had a colleague that has been diagnosed and 4% of respondents have been diagnosed with a female-specific cancer themselves. Also, 20% of the respondents didn’t know anyone who had been diagnosed with female-specific cancer.

When asked about their awareness of risks and how proactive they are about taking a preventative approach to reduce their risk of female-specific cancer, 69% of respondents said they are completely aware of the risks and dangers and they are putting effort into reducing their risk. A further 20% said that while they are completely aware of the dangers, they are not putting effort into reducing their risk. 7% of respondents said that they are not fully aware of the dangers and risks of female-specific cancer, but they understand the importance of becoming more informed.

Main concerns if diagnosed with female-specific cancer

 Many of the women gave us great insights into the main fears and concerns they face with regards to being diagnosed with a female specific cancer. These fears ranged from receiving the best medical treatment, to worries about costs and that their womanhood might be taken away (seeing as breast cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer are female-specific cancers).

Here are some of the answers that respondents gave about their main concerns of being diagnosed with a female-specific cancer (we’ve removed the names because all community research is 100% confidential and your personal details and names will never be published or exposed after taking part in our research):

•"That you are treated with human dignity. That you will get the best advice and help possible. That there will be ample funds available for this help."
•"Whether it is terminal or not, whether the insurance will cover everything required so that you can concentrate on getting better"
•"Of course, death is always the first thing that comes to mind when the word cancer is mentioned, then the extra cost involved in the treatments and the possibility of not being able to work."
•"It's a very emotional thing and difficult to explain. It's almost as if your womanhood is in question. What makes me a woman? My breasts, my cervix, my ovaries - What am I without it?"

Female-specific cancer – who’s covered?

Questions about insurance policies also showed that while 79% of respondents had car insurance and 59% had life insurance, only 19% had cover for female-specific cancer.

Some of the respondents said they didn’t feel that female-specific cancer insurance was needed for a number of reasons, such as the assumption that medical aids would cover their illness to a lack of confidence in insurance companies.
On the other hand, there were also a number of women who felt that cover for female-specific cancer was a very necessary type of insurance to invest in. Some of the women said that peace of mind regarding medical costs, cash payouts that one may receive upon diagnoses and the unpredictability of the disease (cervical cancer, for instance, doesn’t show many symptoms) are some of the main reasons why they would consider investing in this type of insurance.
Thank you to all of the market research online community members who helped us to gather this valuable information regarding women and female-specific cancer. We value your input and your willingness to share your thoughts and opinions on this tough subject. Keep an eye out for more community surveys coming your way soon!

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