• Cancer Insurance Glossary

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    Adjuvant therapy

    It refers to the treatment given to a cancer patient after surgery. The main purpose of this treatment is to destroy the remaining cancer cells and eliminate the possibility of cancer coming back. Some of the procedures involved here include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, etc.

    Associated costs

    These are additional costs that are not directly related to cancer treatment. Hospitalisation involves a lot of additional expenses other than medical treatment. For instance, transportation and comfort-related expenses are some of the associated costs of cancer treatment.


    Since cancer covers pay a lump sum upon the first diagnosis of cancer, the beneficiary of a cancer insurance policy is typically the policyholder.

    Benign tumor

    It refers to tumors that are not cancerous (malignant). These tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, and they typically do not result in any major health issues. However, in some cases, they can be serious when they are pressed against a particular blood vessel. Unless there is a serious effect, medical treatment is not needed for the treatment of benign tumors.


    This is a procedure in which some sample tissue of the cancer region is taken and examined. This is done mainly to determine whether the cancer is malignant or benign. Though other tests are available to check for cancer, a biopsy is the most definitive test that can establish the presence of cancerous cells.

    Bone marrow transplant

    This is a procedure in which the bone marrow of a patient is replaced with the bone marrow of a healthy person.


    It refers to a type of cancer in which cancer cells affect the skin lining various internal organs. They are able to spread to other parts of the body by dividing without any control. This is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world.


    This is a type of cancer treatment where anti-cancer drugs are used to destroy cancer cells. This is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment. In many cases, chemotherapy is used after cancer surgery to destroy the remaining cancer cells in the body. While radiation and surgery are used to treat cancer in a specific region, chemotherapy works all over the body.


    In an insurance claim, copayment refers to the predetermined percentage that must be paid by the insured. For instance, if the copayment is 20%, the insured must pay 20% of all claims. The insurer will cover the rest of the claim amount.

    Critical illness cover

    It is a fixed-benefit insurance plan offered by both health and life insurance companies in India. This policy provides coverage against a range of critical illnesses including cancer, heart disease, stroke, kidney ailments, etc. When it comes to cancer, critical illness policies provide coverage only for diagnosis at advanced stages.


    It refers to the fixed amount that must be paid by the insured person before the insurance coverage can kick in. Health insurers offer compulsory or voluntary deductible options in certain policies they offer. This is not a common feature of all health and life insurance plans.


    These are specific conditions for which the insurer is not liable to provide any compensation. For instance, if a specific cancer case can be attributed to a sexually transmitted disease, the insurer is not required to provide any compensation to the insured person.

    Follow-up care

    Cancer treatment requires frequent follow-up checks with the physician to monitor the progress after the active treatment. This is vital in ensuring that cancer does not come back.

    Hospice care

    This is a type of care where the cancer patient is provided with physical and emotional support during the time of treatment. Cancer treatment takes a heavy toll on the body as well as the mind. Hospice care aims to address the issue and make it easier for patients to take care of their treatment. This care typically provides service through medical practitioners, mental health professionals, spiritual leaders, and social workers.

    Hormone therapy

    This is a type of cancer treatment in which the hormones that cause cancer growth are removed in order to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. This is one of the commonly used treatment procedures for cancer. In most cases, this is used along with other cancer treatments to combat cancer.

    Imaging test

    This is a type of test where pictures of internal body parts are used to make a diagnosis of cancer or analyze the progress of treatment. This method is useful in understanding the progress of the disease over a specific period of time.


    This is a type of cancer treatment in which the body’s natural immune system is boosted to fight cancer cells. This has been proven to be effective in stopping or slowing down the growth of cancer cells.

    Indemnity plans

    These are traditional health insurance plans that offer coverage against the medical expenses incurred. There are some cancer insurance plans that offer indemnity type coverage against the actual medical expenses. Here, the insured must provide medical bills, physician reports, pharmacy receipts, diagnostic reports, etc., in order to file a claim with the insurer.


    This refers to the growth of cancer cells in the blood. It occurs when the white blood cells of the body undergo changes and grow without any control. Leukemia typically originates from the bone marrow of the body. This is also one of the most common forms of cancer in the world.


    It refers to the growth of cancer cells in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is vital for the effective functioning of the immune system of the body. In this case, cancer cells originate in the lymphatic system and grow uncontrollably.


    It refers to the development of secondary cancer in a different part of the body. Cancer cells can travel to other organs through blood and result in the formation of secondary malignant growth.


    It refers to the study of cancer. Physicians who provide treatment for cancer are known as oncologists.

    Out-of-pocket expenses

    These are expenses that are not covered by a cancer insurance plan. While these primarily include the non-medical expenses arising at the time of cancer treatment, they may also include other costs like lost wages during the time of treatment. Insurance companies do not have any provision to provide reimbursement for these expenses.

    Pre-existing condition

    A medical condition that exists at the time of purchasing a policy. Cancer insurance does not provide any coverage if the disease is pre-existing in the insured. The company may also deny coverage to an individual due to other pre-existing conditions not related to cancer.

    Preventive mastectomy

    This refers to the surgical removal of one or both breasts to prevent the onset of breast cancer. This is recommended for people who are at a high risk of getting breast cancer. Individuals with a family history of breast cancer may undergo this procedure after a certain age to protect themselves from cancer.

    Radiation therapy

    This refers to the use of high-energy radiation to kill or slow down cancer growth. The controlled use of radiation for cancer treatment is performed with the help of an expert. This is one of the most common treatment methods used in the treatment of cancer.


    This refers to the reappearance of cancer following its successful treatment. If recurrence happens in the same region of primary cancer, it is known as local recurrence. In certain cases, cancer may also return in other parts of the body. This is known as distant recurrence.


    The disappearance of cancer cells from the body is known as remission. This could be a response to the treatment provided for cancer. In certain cases, remission can only be temporary.

    Surgical treatment

    Surgical removal of cancer cells is often recommended for the treatment of cancer. By removing the cancerous tissues from the body, this treatment procedure aims to remove cancer altogether. This may also be followed by other procedures like chemotherapy or radiation therapy to remove the remaining cancer cells.

    Survival period

    Insurance companies typically have a survival period clause before providing the claim settlement amount. It means that the insured must survive a specific period of time after the diagnosis of cancer. If the insured dies within the survival period, the company will not provide any settlement amount. This survival period clause is common in both critical illness covers and cancer insurance covers.

    Targeted therapy

    This is a type of chemotherapy that uses drugs for the treatment of cancer. Unlike regular chemotherapy, this procedure targets specific genes to fight cancer. This is one of the advanced treatment procedures used for cancer treatment.


    A tumor is a mass formed due to the uncontrolled production of cells. Tumors can be both malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous), and it may affect different parts of a body.

    Waiting period

    Cancer insurance policies typically have a specific waiting period before the coverage can kick in. If the disease is diagnosed during this waiting period, the company will not provide any coverage. The number of days in the waiting period may differ from one insurer to another.

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