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BMO Insurance Study: More than Two-thirds of Canadian Women are Concerned about the Financial Costs of Cancer

- Sixty-eight per cent of women report being personally impacted by cancer-related illnesses

- Seventy-eight per cent are concerned about being diagnosed with cancer

- More than half have conducted a proper breast cancer self-exam within the last year

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 29, 2013) - As Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close, BMO Insurance has released a study which found that more than two-thirds of Canadian women (67 per cent) are concerned about the potential financial implications of being diagnosed with cancer.

The study also revealed that 68 per cent of women have been personally impacted by cancer (either having been diagnosed with cancer themselves or having an immediate family member and/or close friend battling the disease) and 78 per cent are concerned about the possibility of being diagnosed with cancer.

"Most of us are being touched by cancer in some way, whether being diagnosed with a form of cancer ourselves or supporting a family member or friend with their battle," said Julie Barker-Merz, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, BMO Insurance. "The good news is that advances in medicine have meant that an increasing number of Canadians are beating the disease. However, the costs associated with treatment have also risen, which can put a strain on personal finances. When you're fighting cancer, the last thing you need is to be dealing with stress about money related issues."

Ms. Barker-Merz noted that, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, the annual household wage loss in Canada from cancer was nearly $18,000. Additionally, one-in-six Ontario cancer patients reported that out-of-pocket costs were significant or unmanageable.

To help ensure that women do not have to worry about the financial costs of fighting cancer and can focus on recovery, BMO Insurance introduced Well Woman. The plan helps individuals who are impacted by one of seven female-specific cancers and provides a cash payment each month for 12 months, as well as cash for hospital stays or surgery. Cash benefits are paid directly to the individual to use in any way she chooses.

Women are Taking Action Against Breast Cancer

The BMO Insurance study also examined what types of precautions Canadian women are taking in the fight against breast cancer. According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women over the age of 20 and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in Canadian women. The study found that, in the last 12 months:

  • Fifty-one per cent of Canadian women have conducted a proper breast self-exam.
  • Forty per cent have had a mammogram.
  • Thirty-eight per cent have had their doctor conduct a breast exam.
  • Twenty-six per cent have spoken to their doctor about breast cancer.
  • Half of Canadians (men and women) have donated to breast cancer charities.

"As a society we're becoming increasingly aware of the importance of early detection of breast cancer," noted Ms. Barker-Merz. "However, the study's numbers indicate that we still have some way to go. If they haven't already done so, I encourage women to consult with their doctor and determine what tests might be appropriate for them."

For more information on BMO Insurance and the Well Woman plan, please visit

Regional Breakdown:

Region % of women concerned about financial cost if diagnosed with cancer % of women who have been diagnosed or have had a family member or close friend diagnosed with cancer % of women who are concerned about getting cancer
National 67 68 78
Atlantic 78 80 78
Quebec 73 59 85
Ontario 67 70 78
Praries 65 64 80
Alberta 63 72 80
B.C. 56 70 65

The survey was conducted by Pollara between October 11th and October 16th, 2013 with an online sample of 1,215 Canadians. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.

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For further information:
Media contacts:
Veronica Bart, Toronto

Valerie Doucet, Montreal

Laurie Grant, Vancouver