Cancer Care

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be the start of a challenging journey. For every patient, the experience is different. But whatever happens, Irish Life Health will be there to support you at every step.

This guide explains how Irish Life Health hospital plans can help at each important milestone…


Screening tests and programmes to support early detection

Generally speaking, early detection of cancer means more treatment options are possible. To help ensure you are diagnosed quickly, all of our hospital plans offer fast and unlimited access to virtual visits with Irish-based GPs, dieticians and other relevant healthcare professionals via MyClinic. At the same time, many plans offer screening and programmes that focus on detecting cancer, even before you see or experience any signs or symptoms.

Here is a list of some of the benefits available across a range of our hospital plans. Together, they are designed to support earlier diagnosis and reduce your risk of developing cancer:

  • In-person GP consultations
  • Men and Women’s cancer screening
  • Female Health consultations
  • Genetic TestingYou can claim for an initial consultation to see if testing is needed, or for tests to identify if you are affected by specific genetic mutations.
  • Prostate screening
  • HPV Vaccines
  • Executive health screening - This can include screening for specific types of cancer including colon, testicular, prostate and breast. 



Get faster access to the professionals, centres of excellence and tests that can assess your condition ​

If you are concerned about cancer, you’ll want to be assessed quickly. Irish Life Health covers all the standard diagnostic options; it’s also reassuring to know that we offer access to a wide network of fully covered scan centres, without asking you to pay an excess. You can easily check which investigations you’re covered for using our Am I Covered tool or by phoning us on (01) 562 5100.

We offer many relevant benefits across a range of plans:

  • Access to the country’s leading oncology consultants.
  • PET-CT, MRI & CT scans -  You can see what is available to you by clicking here to view your hospital list. This list includes treatments and scan centres; you can see which hospital list applies to you by checking your Tables of Cover.
  • Pathology Cover - This contributes towards the cost of pathology e.g., blood, stool and smear tests.
  • Radiology Cover - This benefit refers to procedures such as mammogram and ultrasound tests and consultations.
  • International Second Opinion Service - Get access to a medical second opinion so you can be confident about the diagnosis you have received.


Treatment + High Cost Drugs

Supporting your care in public, private and high-tech hospitals

When you have been diagnosed with cancer, it’s essential that you quickly receive the best and most appropriate treatment. Irish Life Health offers access to care in public, private and high-tech hospitals, with all our plans covering the eight designated cancer centres.

All our hospital plans cover the vast majority of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments available in hospitals. At the same time, our Health in the Home benefit can help avoid inconvenient trips back to the hospital to have your chemotherapy disconnects, where you are able to start your chemotherapy in hospital and have been discharged to continue it at home.

In addition, we cover important specialised tests. These include Oncotype Dx testing which indicates the likelihood of breast cancer returning in the future. If necessary, Irish Life Health’s hospital plans also cover you if your surgery takes place in a pre-approved facility abroad.

Other benefits available across a range of plans include:

  • FoundationOne CDx Oncology Genetics - These tests can indicate if a particular drug could be an effective treatment for your specific condition.
  • DEXA Scans - These analyse bone density to indicate the chances of developing bone loss due to certain treatments.
  • Medicall ambulance - This covers the cost of an ambulance if you need to be transferred between medical facilities.
  • Elective surgery overseas (subject to pre-approval)
  • Psycho-oncology counselling - Claim back some of the costs of psycho-oncology counselling carried out by a registered psychologist.
  • Psychotherapy and counselling - If you need their assistance, you can claim back some of the costs of attending an approved psychotherapist or counsellor.
  • Post-cancer treatment sleeping caps - If treatment has led to hair loss, you can claim towards the cost of caps worn to reduce scalp irritation while sleeping.
  • Cancer Support Benefit - This pays towards accommodation expenses you incur if you have to travel more than 50km for treatment.

Treatment + High Cost Drugs

Chemotherapy & Immunotherapy Treatments

  • Irish Life Health covers the majority of medicines (including high-cost drugs) prescribed by a Consultant, administered in a hospital and used for cancer treatment.
  • We occasionally receive requests to cover certain high-cost cancer drugs for our members. These requests follow a standard process, with the majority being approved quickly.
  • In some cases these drugs are not currently approved by the HSE, the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics or the National Cancer Care Programme. In these cases, Irish Life Health will approve high cost cancer drugs once they have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. Decisions on individual cases will be taken on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with an independent panel of clinical experts who will advise on clinical effectiveness and patient safety. ​


Get the supports you need on your recovery journey

Recovering from cancer can take time and present new challenges. Because the experience of illness and subsequent treatment can affect your quality of life, Irish Life Health offers benefits across a range of plans. These include:

  • Access to Allied Health professionals and complementary practitioners - These include Dieticians, Occupational Therapists, Masseurs and Speech Therapists.
  • Health in the Home - To reduce the stress of travelling for treatments, we pay towards the cost of delivering services such as line management, dressings and medication administration in your own home, as part of your ongoing cancer treatments.
  • Home Recovery Benefit - Claim back some of the cost of home nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and carers, for up to three weeks.
  • Post-mastectomy prosthesis and/or wig - If they are needed after chemotherapy or radiotherapy, we pay towards your breast prosthesis and/or wig.
  • Convalescence benefit - This covers some of the cost of staying in a convalescent home immediately after your treatment.
  • Post-operative home help - Following certain procedures, we pay towards domestic support when you return home.
  • Nutrition recovery benefit (following certain procedures)
  • Manual lymph drainage - You can claim back some of the costs of treatment provided by a member of Manual Lymph Drainage Ireland or a physiotherapist.
  • Eyebrow tattooing - If you need it following treatment, we can make one payment per policy year towards eyebrow tattooing.
  • Psychotherapy and counselling benefit - You can claim back some of the costs of seeing an approved psychotherapist or counsellor, if you need their assistance.
  • Post cancer treatment sleeping caps - Claim a contribution towards the cost of caps worn to reduce scalp irritation while you sleep, if you have experienced hair loss following treatment.


Please remember that any services you claim for must be carried out by registered practitioners, and benefits depend on your individual level of cover.

Full details of what you are covered for can be found in your Table of Cover and the current Membership Handbook. Alternatively, check our  Am I Covered tool or call us on (01) 562 5100.

Terms and conditions apply. Details above are correct as of 12th June 2023.