Bupa health insurance urges breast screening for women in their 40s

03 November 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Bupa Wellness is urging women in the 40s to have a breast screen, as more than half of women diagnosed with breast cancer by Bupa last year were under 50 years old.

These cases would not have been detected by routine NHS screening, which only screens women once they are 50, but Bupa believes early detection is crucial and can save lives.

Dr Janet Donaldson, lead physician at Bupa Wellness said: "It is important for all women to be breast aware. We all lead incredibly busy lives and it is only too easy to ignore minor changes, when a simple check could make a difference. Breast screening from the age of 40 gives women the best opportunity to detect any abnormalities early and offers a much greater chance of successful treatment if any are detected."

While Dr Donaldson recognises that many women might find mammograms a daunting prospect, she reassures them that it is an x-ray that takes just a few minutes.

Many women might be put off going for screening, but, Dr Donaldson says, "The benefits are significant because it can reveal abnormalities before they can be felt. If you are a woman over 50, you should definitely attend routine NHS breast screening appointments and if you’re younger, consider having a regular mammography in your 40s – whatever you do, don’t put it off," she said.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the UK, with almost 46,000 cases diagnosed each year.

Bupa health insurance offers prompt access to eligible treatments, including the most extensive private cancer cover available in the UK.

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