Breast cancer is the #1 cancer affecting Singaporean women. Every October, the breast cancer foundations locally and worldwide launch awareness and prevention campaigns to improve the rate of recovery in women with the disease. One such foundation is Pink Ribbon Singapore.
Sharing the theme ‘Shared Courage – Stronger Together, We Overcome’ this year, Pink Ribbon Singapore campaigns in fostering solidarity among and with women afflicted with breast cancer. It does so by increasing the awareness of the disease and advocating for early detection through screening.
With over 2 million cases in 2018 and 29.4% breast cancer cases in Singapore, offering the right education around the topic needs to become a priority in healthcare circles. Preventative care through regular screenings, self-examination and healthy diets should be discussed.
Having worked with many expat individuals on the topic of medical needs and medical insurance in Singapore, our team of leading brokers can help you figure out the right type of plan for you – be it critical illness or cancer insurance.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Before you can conclusively do anything about it, you need to understand the disease first. In the case of breast cancer, awareness is incredibly important – so much so that early detection is pivotal to catching the disease when it is most treatable.
By learning how to conduct self-examinations, women can immediately recognise and report any changes in how their breasts look or feel, increasing the chances of catching the disease before it even develops any symptom. Education comprises learning what risk factors are, what changes to look out for, health mindsets around regular mammograms as well as leading well-balanced lives.
Because breast cancer is a type of critical illness, women are recommended to supplement their medical policies with comprehensive cancer insurance before they are diagnosed. When it comes to your personal health and well-being, being safe is better than sorry – so insure yourself before you get older and run the risk of a possible diagnosis.
What are the risk factors & symptoms of breast cancer?
Breast cancer can affect women of all ages and backgrounds. A disease in which the malignant (cancer) cells form in tissues of the breast, there are many different types of breast cancer. While the exact causes are hard to determine, it almost certainly happens because of damage done to a cell’s DNA, be it genetically or environmentally.
Some of the risk factors for the disease include:
- Genetic factors like gender, age, family and personal health histories, certain genome changes and dense breast tissue.
→ Women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men.
- Environmental factors like lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, obesity and poor diet.
Women are encouraged to conduct a breast self-examination from the age of 30, every month a week after the menstruation cycle. Mammograms are recommended once every two years for women above 50 but 40 year-olds and above can consult the efficacy of one for them at that age. If done, it should be once yearly.
Stages of Breast Cancer
What are the stages of common breast cancer?
Although there are many different types of breast cancer – from metastatic and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to triple negative and inflammatory breast cancer, these are the commonly referred to stages to know on the whole.
Stage 0: Referred to as non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Stage 1: Breast tumour is a little less than an inch.
Stage 2: The tumour is larger than 20mm but not 50mm.
Stage 3: The tumour has gotten larger than 50mm.
Stage 4: The tumour has either grown into the chest wall, skin or inflammatory.
Breast Cancer | Treatment Costs & Insurance
With early detection, breast cancer is one of the more treatable types out there. Although medical treatments in Singapore cost a lot, they’re also administered by some of the best doctors in the world. Living and working here as an expat also means that national funded schemes like MediSave will not be part of your health cover. Thus, acquiring policies that include hospital and surgical as well as critical illness insurance becomes crucial in your financial planning.
The costs for chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, immunotherapy and hormone therapy can vary quite a bit between government and private hospitals, with the latter costing a lot more. Cancer treatment can very quickly inflate costs if the tumour keeps coming back or if you need a longer course of treatment. And, as expats, the lack of subsidies can make paying for cancer treatment costs painful. The best way to go about this is to take out a critical illness insurance plan so that you are protected in the event you are diagnosed with breast cancer. Buying critical illness cover after diagnosis will not help in any way – so be sure to discuss all possible risks and plans available when you are sorting out your health cover.
Why do you need critical illness cover? Learn more.
Should I Get Critical Illness Insurance?
Critical illness insurance will protect you and your family from any sudden detrimental financial impact brought on by a disease like breast cancer. There are a number of ways to tailor an insurance plan to cover you for any critical illnesses or major diseases. Similarly, a good cancer insurance plan is no good without its balance of a proactive and healthy lifestyle. Similarly, cancer insurance plans must be acquired prior to any dips in your health or diagnosis. Eating a proper diet, lowering alcohol consumption and going for regular check-ups are all ways to take better care of your health.
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