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Huge advances in prevention of Ovarian cancer

  We were very interested to read about the pioneering surgery that has combined cancer surgery with a caesarean section.   It marks a huge turning point for cancer prevention and women’s healthcare.   Earlier this month, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published details of four women who underwent a dual-operation to remove their ovaries and fallopian tubes moments after giving birth by c-section. The operations, (which took place between March 2018 and March 2022) were performed on women who had inherited gene variants in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, giving them a significant risk of developing cancer.

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What are the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene variants?

  While it’s not yet possible to determine if cancer is an inherited trait, it is known that many cancers (including ovarian, breast, prostate and colorectal) are highly influenced by genes.   If your BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes are altered, there is a substantial risk that you are more likely to develop cancer at some stage of your life.   For example, most women in the UK have a 1 in 7 (15%) chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Out of every 100 women who have a BRCA1 gene mutation: 65 to 85 will develop breast cancer in their lifetime (65 to 85% lifetime risk) 40 to 63 will develop ovarian cancer (40 to 63% lifetime risk) Out of every 100 women who have a BRCA2 gene mutation: 40 to 85 will develop breast cancer in their lifetime (40 to 85% lifetime risk) 10 to 27 will develop ovarian cancer (10 to 27% lifetime risk) Women with BRCA mutations are also at increased risk of developing breast cancer at a younger age. Source: NHS

Why is this such a breakthrough for ovarian cancer?

  The pioneering operations are considered a huge breakthrough for cancer prevention, because it combined two surgeries in one. The women involved were all undergoing serious surgery as part of their c-sections, and by following on with the ovary and fallopian tube removal, it meant that they didn’t have to undergo a second major surgery at a later date.   Of course, there are any risks with any surgical intervention, but Professor Adam Rosenthal from UCL, who performed the operations, told BBC Radio 4 on the Today programme that he was sure that more women would become eligible for the operation.   “I’m sure we’ll be getting more requests for it, but I think it’s important to remember that women are getting older when they have children now and the older you are, the more appropriate it is to have your ovaries removed because your risk of ovarian cancer if you’ve got one of these genes increases with age. There’s also an increasing rate of Caesarean section. “So we anticipate that, over time, more women will be eligible for this kind of procedure.” In the same interview, Prof Rosenthal stated that the risk of ovarian cancer could be reduced by as much as 9 in 10 once the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed.  

Are you worried about the risk of cancer?

  1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Females have the highest lifetime risk of breast, lung and bowel cancers. Males have the highest lifetime risk of prostate, lung and bowel cancers. Source: Cancer Research UK   With so many of us likely to be affected by cancer in our lifetimes, it’s important to celebrate any breakthrough that could prevent anyone from this awful disease.   As life insurance experts, we’ve seen first-hand how cancer can devastate families. It’s not just the diagnosis and treatment, it’s also the fear that you could be affected by cancer if there is a history of it in your family.   While we can’t do anything to help prevent cancer, we can help you and your family protect yourselves from the financial burden that cancer can cause.  

Life insurance protection is available for cancer

  One of the questions we’re most regularly asked is “can I get life insurance, if I’ve had cancer, or there is a history of cancer in my family?”   As with any medical condition, the answer will always depend on your personal circumstances.   But the great news is that cancer treatments are continuing to improve, and more and more people are living longer lives after overcoming a cancer diagnosis.   This is fantastic news, and we hope that that new research will continue to find new ways to tackle this awful disease.   The pioneering surgery is just one example of how new advances in medicine are helping to overcome cancer and help save lives. Just last week NHS England declared that they believe they will eradicate cervical cancer by 2040.   This means that it’s becoming far easier to get cancer life insurance.   Insurers know that cancer is now becoming more treatable, especially if it’s caught early.   If you are looking for a life policy to financially protect your loved ones, then please talk to us. We’ll talk to you about your cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, or if you’ve been given the all-clear (or you have a family history of cancer), we’ll talk to you about your general health and we’ll be able to give an accurate assessment to a life insurance underwriter.   With our help and support, we can find you a life insurance plan, a critical illness policy or even an income protection plan that will ensure you and your family remain financially secure.   All you need to do is pick up the phone and give us a call.    
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