Breast Cancer

Article published on 8th May 2008

With over 40,000 cases diagnosed every year, as many as 1 in 9 women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, making it the most common form of cancer within the UK and the leading cause of death for middle-aged women (men develop the cancer only in very rare cases).

This means that the UK has the highest breast cancer related death-rate in the world - and this is in spite of advancements in detection and treatment.

Depending on the size of the tumour in question and the existence of secondary cancers, successful treatment is possible however. If the cancer is contained to one tumour it is often possible to have this lump removed with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. However mastectomies (the removal of the breast) cannot be ruled out depending upon the size of the tumours in relation to the breast.

Regardless, it is likely that post-operative radiotherapy will be recommended to further reduce the probability of another tumour developing. Doctors may also take samples from the lymph nodes under the patients arms to determine whether the cancer has reached them. The lymphatic system connects most of the body and so if a cancer reaches its nodes there is a greater chance of secondary cancers throughout the body.

Reconstructive surgery is possible after masectomies and indeed can be carried out as soon as any lumps or tissue removal has occurred.

It is also worth noting that AXA provide cover for masectomies under their critical illness insurance contract. At the time of publishing they are the only company offer such a feature with critical illness cover.

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