Life with bowel cancer


NHS v private

Hi, my husband is currently on 5fu pump. And panitunimab. He was on Oxy but stopped due to intestinal swelling. May go. Back. On at reduced dose depending on scan results.
He has private medical. Insurance which is not brilliant and although covers for. Cancer treatment will only. Cover for 1 year of panitunimab.
He can claim. For his appointments for his treatment on the policy(in money) but then cannot get treatment on the policy.
As yet he done neither as so many conflicting reports to say once a clinical. Decision has been made then even privately this wouldn't change anything and he may be getting all he needs on NHS.
What's your opinions on this? NHS able. To. Provide enough? He is stage 4, non operable atm
Thank you


Hi @lottie77 - I am stage 3, so may not be as relevant, but as no-one else has replied yet, I might as well throw my thoughts in.

When a nurse rang me to tell me about my diagnosis back in 2015, I said I had private health care and she replied that it wouldn't make any difference as the drugs and treatment were the same.

But half an hour later her colleague rang me back and said she couldn't help overhearing and that if she were me, she would definitely recommend using it.

The upsides were I was treated in much nicer surroundings (private cubicle in a purpose built oncology unit, 3 nurses for about 8 of us, choice of food, and a good after service care). I had the same oncologist as a friend being treated as an NHS patient on here, and she had a totally different opinion of him to me.

I also had more choice of drugs - chemo drugs were the same, the add-ons i.e. anti emetic and booster drugs - were standard for private patients, whereas on the NHS you had to be worse-case scenario to get them.

The downside is that once my insurance had run out, the premiums went sky high. I remember my first NHS scan, where a nurse came out, yelled out my surname, then plonked the iodine solution next to me with and barked "Drink that" and stomped off. Back to earth with a bump - I was more used to the hushed, slightly reverent tones of the private care system!

Bear G

Hi @lottie77
The problem is, as your husband has found, not all private insurance policies are equal. He’s in a similar situation to @Terrish in that the cover is limited.

It really depends what he’s covered for and what’s likely to be upcoming - like Terrish, I find I get a nice service in the private care: more time with my consultant, quicker results from scans etc and a private room with en-suite for hospital stays (I’ve had 7-day and 14-day stats so it was greatly appreciated).

Depending on the policy it can give access to treatments that aren’t on the NHS (such as Avastin) and hrs more likely to be offered better support meds earlier like Emend for nausea.

Additionally, I now get my chemo at home which is much easier than going into hospital, I don’t know if that’s an option on the NHS.

Big hugs


Hi @lottie77 i agree with everything that has already been said. Initially I was going to stay on the nhs because if I did do private insurance would give me some money which I was intending to use for help my family come and stay in London whilst I was under treatment. In the end though because I was braf it became clear private was a better option because I could get avastin. Now I am I don’t think I would go back. As @Bear G has already mentioned quicker results and a private room has helped me because I too have had long stints staying at hospital.

I see your husband is braf? If so it might be worth investigating avastin if it’s covered and your oncologist thinks it’s a good idea. :x::x:

lottie77 all. I love you all on here so helpful :x: