Friends Life has urged women of all ages to ensure that they are ‘breast aware', as women under the age of forty accounted for 25% of all breast cancer claims it paid out last year.
In 2012 Friends Life paid out over £22M in breast cancer claims, a quarter of which were for claimants under the age of forty.
Women in their forties made up the majority of claims, with 49% of all breast cancer claims paid out being for women aged between forty and fifty.
According to Breast Cancer Care, the charity behind Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing, but survival rates are improving.
The charity said this is due to more targeted treatments, earlier detection and better breast awareness.
Chris Pollard, head of claims and underwriting at Friends Life said: "Last year, women in their forties accounted for the majority of breast cancer claims we dealt with, but that's not to say that younger generations should be complacent.
"This is shown by the fact that a quarter of the breast cancer claims we last year were from women under forty. Being breast aware is key to maintaining early detection, and thus survival rates, regardless of age."
Pollard added: "Learning to adapt to life with cancer is hard for any family. Through our charitable partnership with Macmillan, we are acutely aware of the financial pressures sufferers of cancer often find themselves dealing with, on top of the obvious emotional and physical upheaval.
"The financial lifeline that a critical illness plan can provide is, for most people, invaluable. Given the ever-increasing financial role that women have, it really is important have some financial protection in place if they do suffer a critical illness."
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