March is Ovarian Cancer Month, raising awareness about this often misunderstood disease. Whilst 6,700 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK, many are unaware of whether private medical insurance will fully cover all stages of the condition, from diagnosis through to recovery.
Cancer of the ovary is the fifth most common cancer among women, and can affect women of any age. As the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague- pain in the pelvis, persistent bloating and difficulty eating- it has traditionally been known as the ‘silent killer’.
Advanced ovarian cancer may not be treatable, but early detection of ovarian cancer offers a 90% cure rate. All private medical insurance policies offer cover for diagnostic tests and scans, although budget policies may have an annual limit on the amount you can claim. For women without symptoms who are simply looking for peace of mind, Spire Healthcare offers ovarian cancer screening on a one-off fee basis.
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will usually need surgery followed by a course of chemotherapy. If specialist cancer treatment is important to you, compare health insurance quotes with full cancer cover. Full cancer cover will cover the cost of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy with no monetary or time limits.
Some insurers also cover the costs of drugs not available on the NHS. Avastin has recently been licensed as the first targeted drug for women with advanced ovarian cancer after surgery, but will not be reviewed for use on the NHS until 2013. Aviva, AXA PPP and Bupa have all recently removed limits on their cancer cover and will meet the cost of licensed cancer drugs, including Avastin.
All cancer drugs, including Avastin, are tested in clinical trials prior to being licensed for use. Participants in clinical trials are often among the first to benefit from experimental drugs before they are brought to market. If you want to be covered for taking part in a trial for ovarian cancer treatment, compare health insurance policies with cover for experimental drugs. Aviva will cover experiment treatment in full if there is enough medical information to support its use.
Whilst women with advanced ovarian cancer are now living longer and fuller lives, sometimes palliative care is needed when the cancer is no longer treatable. Chloe Hibbert of health insurance comparison website http://www.activequote.com said: "Private medical insurers differ in their stance on palliative care, so it is important to compare health insurance policies online to make sure you know at what stage your cover will cease. Aviva, Bupa and Exeter Family Friendly cover the cost of palliative care, even if the cancer is incurable."
Scientists do not yet know what causes ovarian cancer, but with a better awareness of symptoms and improved drugs the diagnosis does not have to mean the worst. If you carefully compare health insurance policies you will be able to choose the best treatment the UK has to offer, and gain peace of mind about your future health.
ActiveQuote Health Ltd is a health insurance broker, fully authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) number 501109 as a health insurance intermediary.
ActiveQuote offer free advice on private medical cover in the UK.
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