Cancer – Hope For A Brighter Future

I was listening to the radio on the way in to work today, when I heard the news that the UK’s first proton beam centre in the UK, based in Newport (South Wales), will start treating cancer patients in the last quarter of 2016.

The statistics of those affected with this awful condition are quite frightening. A recent statistic from Cancer Research UK suggests that 1 in 2 people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime.

Professor Karol Sikora, former head of the World Health Organisation’s cancer programme and chief medical adviser to Proton Partners International, told an audience of international life sciences and healthcare experts that proton beam therapy will ‘transform’ care in the UK “There are more than 150,000 cancer patients in the UK every year, treated with radiation therapy. At least 10% of these people might be better treated with proton beam therapy.”

Across the world proton beam therapy has been shown to deliver significant results for patients, especially in lowering side effects, but in the UK we are yet to start. This will transform treatment provision for NHS and privately-funded patients who, at present, have to be sent abroad to received proton beam therapy.

This news article was of particular interest to me as just last week I spent some time to speak with some of our clients who took out Critical Illness policies through Vita who have later successfully claimed on their policies following the tragic event of being diagnosed with Cancer, who’s site of the illness included Breast, Lung & Thyroid.

The stories they tell are very personal, hard hitting and as you can imagine, quite upsetting, however they all have one thing is common – the positivity that they exude through what is inevitably a very dark period in their life, is remarkable.

All of those I spoke with went on to explain the financial relief that a Critical Illness insurance claim has made to their circumstances. One client commented:

It has been a relief not to have to worry about finances after the insurer accepted the critical illness pay out”

Diagnosis, and subsequent ongoing recovery can transform the whole outlook on life. Another client, now 3 years since original diagnosis of aggressive Breast Cancer commented:

I think, all things considered, I coped with the treatment, but I am very glad that it is over. My hair has grown back, and I am looking much like my old self. I am now living in upstate New York! In 2015, I hiked solo 273 miles in Vermont on the Long Trail, with a back pack. It took me a long time – 43 hiking days – and not all at once, but it was a fantastic feeling reaching the end at the US/Canada border. I did not stop there, and I just ran my first marathon at Walt Disney World, last weekend. I am working hard to get back to feeling fit and healthy. I still have a port in my arm, and I expect it will be there until later in the year. I have another surgery planned for the autumn and I hope that will be the last of it.”

Whilst the outlook of serious illnesses in terms of statistics can be very intimidating, the advancements in treatment and the positivity & sheer grit and determination from people show that there is real hope after diagnosis.

Paul Reed – Protection Specialist and Co-founder of Vita – an independent, national award winning, insurance brokerage in Cardiff.

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