In the wake of the NHS admitting their recent mistake which has lead to an estimated 450,000 women missing their breast cancer screening, we ask what are the risks and what can you do to help?
What are the risks?
In short, the risks are significant. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the UK.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their life.
What can you do?
If you are over the age of fifty, it is recommended that you take advantage of the NHS Breast Screening Service which offers three-yearly mammography’s to women 50+ (a mammography is a simple X-ray of the breast).
It is also recommended that you regularly check your breasts yourself. It is important to understand how they normally feel and regularly check for any unusual lumps or thickening. Puckering and/or dimpling of the skin and changes to the nipple can indicate a reason for further investigation.
When checking; your breast, armpit and area between the breast and collarbone should be checked.
What to do if you find something?
Consult your GP as soon as possible. They will conduct an initial examination and ask questions to establish an understanding of your risk factors. If necessary, they will then refer you for further tests.
What if I don’t want to rely on the NHS?
Many clients come to us because they don’t believe the NHS will quickly and accurately diagnose a serious health condition. This is typically because a close friend or family member has been failed by the NHS in the past. Or, it can be driven by the constant stream of NHS “failures” featured on the news.
As an industry specialist in protecting our clients health, we have a number of products available that can support you:
For example a number of life insurance providers now offer Private GP services allowing you to have a video or conference call with a Private GP within 2hrs. These GP’s are authorised to make ongoing referrals to NHS or private consultants for further investigations.
Private Health Insurance will also allow you to receive free or heavily discounted health checks to check for conditions such as breast cancer or the associated risk factors (for example diabetes).