Passengers queue for checked baggage at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 in west London (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
A cancer charity has uncovered a “scandal” of patients being denied valuable relief on holiday because they are unable to get affordable travel insurance because of their “misunderstood” illness.
The Southampton-based charity Planet’s Cancer describes the condition as a “scandal” which means that some patients are unable to enjoy holidays due to the necessary break in treatment.
The organization says one patient is being offered £7,000 for insurance for a two-week trip to Canada and another patient is being offered £1,000 to stay in Spain.
Both patients have neuroendocrine tumors called NETs, which are most commonly found in the pancreas, intestines, or lungs, but can develop and grow slowly in other parts of the body, including: many of whom live with stable disease.
Neil Pearce, co-founder of a charity that helps patients with pancreatic, liver, colon, stomach and neuroendocrine cancers, said other patients have been denied insurance because of their current or past illness.
He added: “The difficulty of getting travel insurance for cancer patients or dealing with inflated premiums is a scam and something the industry needs to do as it is currently holding on to the boot.
“For many people, the relief and morale stoked by a holiday with family or friends is invaluable to their lives, but we find ourselves in a difficult situation where little effort is made to establish an individual’s status . “
Horseshoe Falls, part of Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)
Planets has started a petition calling on the travel insurance industry to review their processes for accessing affordable insurance for cancer patients and create a model in consultation with cancer organizations and charities.
Mr Pearce said: “I have written letters to insurance companies on behalf of patients in the past and I’m sure many other professionals have done the same, but it shouldn’t be left to the lottery to find a company that supplies a letter . Will be accepted
“Yet it can make little difference and as a result the options are limited.
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“We call on the industry to address this issue and find a solution to ensure cancer patients have fair access and are not discriminated against.”
Mr Pearce said that for some patients, such as those with NETs, the potential for emergency situations is extremely rare and poses little risk to insurers.
He said: “No effort has been made to understand this as it is currently a one-size-fits-all approach where any utterance of the word cancer means a person will either be rejected or coerced. Restoration is costly and often not affordable.”
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