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"Timing Lousy, Prognosis Good." Nick Robinson's Words Are Increasing Applying To More And More Cancer Sufferers, Says Medicare International

The ink had barely dried on a new paper published by Cancer Research in the UK in February announcing that one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, when the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, revealed he too was suffering from the disease and will be undergoing surgery to remove a lung tumour.

Cancer Research's more pessimistic prognosis of the number of people who can expect to get cancer is derived from a more accurate way of calculating the risk, rather than through any change in environmental factors. It means that half of those born after 1960 can now expect a diagnosis at some point in the future. For those born earlier, the risk remains at one in three.

Nick Robinson's case is an example of the way cancer is increasingly being seen as a treatable disease. According to Cancer Research, cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years as earlier diagnosis and treatment have both improved.

Now, 50% of adult cancer patients diagnosed in 2010-2011 in England and Wales are predicted to survive 10 or more years, all of which underlines the importance of expatriates having the correct international private medical insurance to cover cancer diagnosis and treatment, especially once they have moved abroad.

In Nick Robinson's case, his prognosis is good. Although lung cancer is the most lethal type of cancer in the UK, claiming around 35,000 lives per annum, Robinson is among the 1-2 per cent of lung cancer patients who have a very good chance of survival, because he has a rare carcinoid tumour. Carcinoid tumours are usually found in people aged over 60 (Robinson is 51) and they can exist for many years without causing any symptoms.

Nick Robinson was apparently diagnosed after feeling ''under the weather'’ for some days. His symptoms might have included something as mundane as a chest infection or possibly coughing up blood. The cancer would have been spotted following chest X-rays, CT scans and a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Surgery is the accepted treatment for an operable carcinoid tumour, as there is no substantial evidence that chemotherapy or radiotherapy are effective. Cancer can be treated, but the costs associated with this are often high.

Medicare International, a specialist international private medical insurer, reports that a significant and slowly rising percentage of its policyholders have suffered from cancerous conditions and for these clients, Medicare International has been meeting all associated expenses. Cancer costs can easily reach something in the region of £50,000 - £100,000, when complex drugs and treatment are needed. One patient living in Switzerland suffering from rectal cancer had to claim across three policy periods, with treatment costing £12,354, £35,829 and £36,550 - giving a total paid by Medicare International of £84,734. Another patient with breast cancer and based in the UK successfully recovered from the condition, with claims paid across two policy periods of £19,055 and £48,937 - total paid £67,992.

MediCare International managing director Debbie Purser comments, "Cancer treatments have advanced significantly over recent years, but are expensive, as many of the drugs needed are cutting edge. MediCare International health insurance policies cover not only the initial treatment, but also any ongoing costs associated with the condition. Our policies offer one of the most comprehensive levels of support for the treatment of cancer and chronic conditions, something we are justifiably proud of. There is clearly a higher risk with people who have already had cancer, but with the advances in technology, together with the high rates of cancer globally, Medicare International took the view that it was important to provide adequate cover for this category of client too wherever possible and without penalising them unduly for potential care costs in the future. Our position therefore is that we are able to ensure their care and prescriptions are paid for, without question, once they have qualified for one of our international healthcare insurance policies."


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