How a new mom faced and fought cancer

By Drum Digital
28 October 2015

“One in 3 000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer either during their pregnancy or while breastfeeding.” – CANSA: Fact Sheet on Breast Cancer, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.

“One in 3 000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer either during their pregnancy or while breastfeeding.” – CANSA: Fact Sheet on Breast Cancer, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.

“The physical and emotional strain of going through treatment is bad enough as it is. Your focus should be on your health and getting through treatment – not on how you are going to pay for it.” – Lorraine

Lorraine was 33 weeks pregnant, newly married and had just bought a house with her husband. Life was  going according to plan. Then she was diagnosed with stage one aggressive breast cancer – and her world changed. “It felt surreal and I was frightened and unsure,” she recalls. “I was about to start a terrifying journey of being a mother while also undergoing cancer treatment.”

‘It felt surreal and I was frightened and unsure’

Apart from having to deal with the emotional and psychological impact of her diagnosis, Lorraine was surprised at the unexpected financial cost of cancer. “Your medical aid is unlikely to cover all the costs related to oncology. Some women need further treatment after chemotherapy which can cost up to R400 000.”

“Although most of my treatment and surgeries were covered, my private care treatments resulted in unexpected co-payments.”

Lorraine is currently in remission but this experience has taught her that while one can never fully prepare for life’s curve-balls you can ensure that you are covered financially.

“None of us like to think that we’ll get sick. I thought I was young and invincible. But, my journey has taught me that I need to be prepared to expect the unexpected.”

Lorraine is currently in remission. Lorraine is currently in remission.

When you are diagnosed with a dread disease such as cancer the financial implications stretch far beyond the cost of your treatment.

For instance, you may need a lot of time off work and your normal expenses will still have to be covered. Not having the right cover in place for costs not covered by your medical aid, can have a devastating impact on your finances. Dr Jack Van Zyl, medical adviser at Sanlam, says people need to consider three critical areas of cover:


Aside from medical aid, this is the most important cover, especially if you’re self-employed. Income protector benefits have different waiting periods which determine how soon you’ll be paid out after being diagnosed. This will impact the affordability of the product. The shorter the waiting period, the more expensive the benefit, but then your claim will be paid earlier during the period of disability


Dread disease cover offers critical financial assistance by giving you the funds to pay for treatment your medical aid may not cover, such as reconstructive surgery in the event of breast cancer, or expensive biologics used to treat various types of cancer.

It also helps by providing for non-medical expenses such as travelling costs to specialists, lodging fees for family and friends, or additional care for your children.


If you have debt liabilities, you should also consider taking disability cover which pays a lump sum if you develop a permanent disability as a result of your illness. Should you want disability cover, a needs analysis will be done taking into account your income and how much existing disability cover you have.

For Lorraine’s full story, click here

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