Serious Illness Definition

Cancer is one of the illnesses covered by our Serious Illness Benefit. We define it as cancer that has progressed to at least pathological TNM classification equivalent of stage 2 as diagnosed by an oncologist or pathologist. The term cancer includes leukaemia, lymphoma and sarcoma.

The following will not be paid under this definition:

  • small cancers that are only present in the organ in which they started
  • benign tumours, and
  • all cancer of the skin except cancerous moles (melanoma) that have spread beyond the skin

When the policy would and wouldn't pay out

Not all cancers are the same. The TNM classification of cancer staging describes the severity of an individual's cancer. This is based on the size of the original tumour as well as the extent to which the cancer has spread through the body. Some cancers are classed as early stage or less advanced. They are more easily treatable and less likely to invade tissue and spread to other areas of the body. These are not covered by this policy.

Cancers that have progressed to stage 2 and beyond are typically larger in size and may have started to spread to other parts of the body. They are likely to have a larger impact on an individual life and are usually treated with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other drug therapies. These are covered by this policy.

See below further information about the various stages of cancer and which are covered by this policy.

Stage Description Typical Treatments Covered?
0 Means that there is a group of abnormal cells in an area of the body which are contained and have not yet spread into nearby tissues. This stage of cancer is often highly curable, usually by removing the entire tumour with surgery. No
1 The cancer is relatively small and contained within the organ it started in. It is often called early-stage cancer. Typically the tumour is removed with surgery and radiotherapy is required after the surgery. Occasionally chemotherapy is necessary. No
2 The cancer has not started to spread into surrounding tissue but the tumour is larger than in stage 1. Sometimes cancer cells have spread into lymph nodes close to the tumour.

Usually treated with a combination of:

  • Surgery,
  • Chemotherapy,
  • Radiotherapy,
  • Hormone therapy and;
  • Other systemic drug therapies.
3 Means the cancer is larger. It may have started to spread into surrounding tissues and there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes in the area. Yes
4 Means the cancer has spread from where it started to another body organ. It may also be called advanced or metastatic cancer.


Serious Illness Benefit - extra protection for your family