In another of our useful guides to the conditions that qualify our customers for VAT exemption, we take a look at cancer.
Cancer is a very common condition. More than 45,000 individuals in Ireland are diagnosed with cancer each year. There are over 200 varieties and one in three people will suffer from it in some form during their lives.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body replicate abnormally. This causes a mass called a tumour to form. As the abnormal cancerous cells multiply and the tumour grows, the function of the tissues or organ they are attached to can be severely hampered.
Around 95% of cases are down to environmental and lifestyle factors. Smoking and eating habits can massively increase the chances of getting it, as can over-exposure to pollution and other environmental factors.
Affected cells can spread through the bloodstream. For example, a patient with kidney cancer may end up with cancer elsewhere in their body. This movement is known as metastasis.
Obviously the more specific symptoms depend on the variety of the condition that someone has, but generally they involve noticeable changes to normal bodily processes. They may include:
- Finding an unexplained lump.
- Unexplained bleeding in stool, in urine, when coughing, or when vomiting.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Coughing or breathlessness for over three weeks.
Of course, many of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, but seeking help early can be the key to effective cancer treatment.
The preferred treatment for most varieties is surgery to remove the tumour. This often proves effective if the condition is diagnosed early enough.
If surgery would prove too difficult, patients can undergo chemotherapy, which involves taking very powerful anti-cancer medication. The side effects of chemotherapy can be quite severe, and include extreme fatigue, nausea and hair loss.
The third main treatment is radiotherapy, whereby concentrated X-Rays are fired at the cancerous cells in order to kill them. Side effects are much less severe than those of chemotherapy, though the two treatments are often used in tandem.
Depending on the type and nature of the condition, people with cancer may qualify for VAT exemption when ordering a personal alarm system from Lifeline24. HMRC state that a product which has been “designed or adapted for a disability” qualifies for VAT exemption.
Remember to always consult a medical professional if you are worried about your health or are planning to make lifestyle changes.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 13th October 2021 to reflect current information.