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The Future of Cancer Treatment

The Future of Cancer Treatment within the Private Sector

New drugs are making the treatment of cancer much more expensive and Insurers such as AXA PPP and BUPA are revising their policy working and reconsidering their position regarding covering some cancer of the new cancer treatments.

Traditional cancer treatment has been provided on a the basis of a combination of surgery followed by a course of radiotherapy or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is generally administered via six short burst courses with time for the body to recover between bursts.

With medical advances the new breed of cancer drugs specifically target cancerous cells rather than the more blanket approach of traditional chemotherapy. The modern drugs work in a different way. Rather than kill the cancer sells outright, some are designed to attach themselves to the cancer cells and prevent them from dividing and growing.
Others drugs are designed to stop blood vessels from feeding the cancer, which effectively starves the cancer. Unlike chemotherapy these drugs need to be administered over a much longer period of time to keep up their effectiveness.

Although many of these new drugs are in the latter stages of development and they will be introduced over the next few years. However many are already licenced for certain types of cancers.

Treatment costs are very high. For example a years course of Avastin, which is licensed for metastatic colon cancer, can cost up to 69,000 including associated care. Another example is Herceptin, which is licensed for early and metatastic breast cancer, can cost up 30,000 per years course.

As a result of these larger treatment costs the Insurers are rapidly changing their rules and benefits allowing their subscribers the choice to pay a little extra in their premiums for inclusion or to have cover limited or excluded for a reduced premium.

Some healthcare insurers are developing contracts specifically designed to offer cover for cancer treatment.

If you would like to know what treatment you are currently covered for or would like to discuss the options available please contact James Henson on 024 7651 6096 or via email at

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