How AIA Vitality helped one woman detect breast cancer

When Joanna’s Garmin watch broke, she could never have predicted that it would lead to a shocking discovery about her health.


The broken fitness tracker was expensive, so Joanna decided to use some Shopping Rewards vouchers she’d earned through AIA Vitality to replace it. Joanna knew if she reached Platinum Status, she would earn another Shopping Rewards voucher that could help cover the cost of the device. A screening test or check-up would get her the points to achieve Platinum Status.

A fit and healthy 41-year-old, Joanna went off to have a mammogram screening expecting an all-clear. But, it revealed a hidden carcinoma that had spread to a lymph node in her breast.

“At my diagnosis I heard the words, ‘early’ and ‘treatable’, but my surgeon did say to me that if I hadn’t had that mammogram, it would have been six to 12 months later that I would have felt something – by that stage it would have been a totally different conversation.” says Joanna.

Joanna quickly had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. More than a year later, she’s well on her way towards remission, and is now a strong advocate for lowering the invitation age for mammograms. “I think a lot more women would be diagnosed earlier,” she says.

Although Joanna has a family history of breast cancer, a mammogram wasn’t really “on her radar”. That’s where the AIA Vitality wellbeing program can play an important role in nudging members towards positive actions, says Candice Smith, AIA’s head of wellbeing.

Based on the science of behavioural economics (the psychology of decision-making), the program uses research-backed strategies to incentivise and reward healthy actions and choices, such as undertaking routine screening and exercising.

“While we believe that insurance cover is important, we believe that living healthily throughout your life is just as, if not more, critical. AIA Vitality leverages behavioural economics to make those things that we would otherwise potentially not get around to, relevant today.” Smith says

There are three pillars in the AIA Vitality program, aimed at knowing your health, improving your health and enjoying the rewards, each with different ways to encourage healthier behaviours.

In the Know Your Health pillar, tests that offer insight into your current health status are incentivised with points, while in Improve Your Health you have access to discounted gym memberships and smoking cessation programs to help you make healthier choices.

As your Status grows with the Points you earn, you are then able to access more rewards including cashback on flights and discounted spa vouchers.

In Joanna’s case, the mammogram was worth far more than the 1,000 Points she earned for attending her mammogram.


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