Cancer and Insurance in Dubai: A Pre-Existing Condition?
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Cancer and Insurance in Dubai: A Pre-Existing Condition?

Cancer is one of the most serious illnesses that a human being can have. In the Middle East, the UAE, and Dubai in particular, is one of the most important places with regards to cancer, since it has some of the best medical facilities in the region. Find out more about cancer in Dubai and how to protect yourself from it here.

How prevalent is cancer in Dubai?

It is a sad truth that as countries develop economically, their rates of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, grow too – as Dubai knows only too well. The Centre for Arab Genomic Studies, based in Dubai, has reported that in the past 30 years cancer incidence in Dubai has increased significantly. Colon, cervical and prostate cancers are on the rise, cancer is number three in leading causes of death across the UAE (accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in 2010), and the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies has also shown that in the UAE, women get breast cancer around 10 years earlier than in other parts of the world.

Cancer incidence in Dubai and across the UAE is expected to double by 2020 for lung, colorectal and breast cancer in particular. The growing trend of cancer in Dubai is partially explained by economic growth that’s linked to residents living longer (more than one third of all cancer cases around the world occur in people over the age of 75), as well as lifestyle changes in diet and exercise that reduce overall health and increase the risk of cancer.  

What cancer care can patients in Dubai expect?

In the past decade Dubai has invested a great deal of money and political capital into developing its health care infrastructure. Today, the territory has world-class facilities for care and research, and attracts many medical tourists interested in first-rate medical services, internationally-trained doctors and affordable prices. In 2014 Dubai Healthcare City opened the emirate’s first cancer hospital, and cancer treatment – including radiology and chemotherapy – are available at public and private facilities around Dubai.

Although a cure for cancer has yet to be discovered, oncologists in Dubai can guide a patient through treatment options including surgery, localized radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Breast cancer, one of the three most prevalent types of cancer in Dubai, is often treated by mastectomy, wherein the breast and cancerous tissue are removed. In its early stages, colorectal cancer can also be treated with surgical removal of tissue. Patients with lung cancer or other later-stage cancers are normally advised to undergo comprehensive chemotherapy to try and rid cancerous cells from multiple locations in the body.

Is treatment for cancer covered by insurance?

Up until 2011, the government of Dubai provided free chemotherapy to both residents and expats. Nowadays that provision has been worked into the emirate’s universal health care system, but many residents, expatriates in particular, prefer to visit a private hospital – which means to make their cancer care affordable, they need to hold a supplemental insurance policy.  

Cancer care is neither an inexpensive nor a simple process, but oncological treatment is easier with the right team of doctors and a secure insurance policy. Unfortunately, many insurance plans consider cancer to be a pre-existing condition (even if it wasn’t diagnosed until after purchase of the policy), and, therefore, will not pay for its diagnosis or treatment. UAE Medical Insurance believes that cancer care is an essential medical service. That’s why we partner with insurance brands that don’t deny cancer coverage under a pre-existing conditions clause.

If you have questions on how you can obtain medical insurance coverage for cancer, contact the knowledgeable experts at UAE Medical Insurance. They can provide you with any information you might need, as well as free quotations and plan comparisons from the best insurance companies the Middle East has to offer.


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