Sara Cutting was 47 when she was diagnosed with cancer. To raise £10,000 for Macmillan cancer support she has published a photograph of herself on Twitter every day since her diagnosis in October 2014 wearing something outrageous on her bald head. Head gear has included a vintage radio, a teapot, purple orchids donated by celebrity hatter Philip Treacy and a fascinator donated by her Mum. Cutting regularly exhorts her thousands of followers to, “now go check your tits.” (You can follow Sara - @fizzysnood)

There will be 2.5 million people living with cancer in UK in 2015 according to Macmillan Cancer Support. The majority of these people will survive five years. Most of these people will face significant financial hardship . Some will lose their homes and their businesses, many will never recover their financial equilibrium.

According to Robert Watkins of Macmillan, four in five (83%) of cancer patients are hit with an average cost of £570 per month as a result of their illness – comparable to a mortgage payment. Additionally one in three (33%) are losing an average of £860 per month in earnings because they are unable to work or have to cut down their hours.

Everyone of those 2.5 million people would benefit from having appropriate insurance to draw on in their hour of need. There is no doubt that financial worries contribute to the appalling stress and trauma that a cancer diagnosis brings. One patient says:

“I had everything ripped away from me. I lost my business, I lost my home – all because of my cancer diagnosis. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I spent sleepless nights alone worrying about where the money was going to come from for basic living. It was very scary.”

The hardest part of this is that there is very little a financial planner can do to protect people who have already been diagnosed with cancer, other than help them to minimise the damage to their finances. It is only those who are not yet affected who can truly protect themselves from these consequences.

But we don’t want to think about it... do we?

I’m pretty sure everyone of those 2.5 million people wish they had.

Protection from the financial consequence of serious illness and disability should always be the foundation of a financial plan. It’s so easy to arrange now, so difficult to find when it’s too late.