Things you need to know to protect yourself against breast cancer

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    Did you know that breast cancer accounted for one-third of new cancer cases for females in the Philippines in 2018? According to The Global Cancer Observatory, the international agency for research on cancer, breast cancer cases amounted to 25,000 out of the almost 80,000 local cancer cases reported last year.

    While most experts point out that there is no known cause of breast cancer, most agree that there are ways to reduce the risk.

    AXA Philippines, one of the leading insurance providers in the country, offers various health insurance plans to help you prepare for unexpected health setbacks. Prevention is also important. Dr. Rachael Marie Rosario, executive director of the Philippine Cancer Society, a non-profit organization that seeks to help the Filipino cope with cancer through education, has these tips to help you protect yourself against breast cancer:

    Have regular health checkups. “Early detection can save lives. It improves the chances of getting cured,” says Dr. Rosario. She adds that when breast cancer is detected early, patients only needed a one-time operation. The American Cancer Society has said that a patient would need several treatments, depending on the stage of the disease, if breast cancer was detected late. Treatments usually include surgery and radiation therapy, often along with chemo or drug therapies before or after surgery. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) is usually a systemic (drug) therapy. Experts advise women to do breast self-examination once in a while and to consult a doctor if they suspect something is wrong. Check out this link for the how-to on the breast self-exam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtJPJrCeKdg

    Live a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is primary prevention. This means a balanced diet and maintaining an ideal weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, says Dr. Rosario. If you do not have the time to go to the gym, even the simplest physical activities like walking and cleaning the house will help.

    Educate yourself. Dr. Rosario says that there is a lack of awareness of breast cancer among Filipinos. Many patients would consult a doctor only when the cancer was in a late stage.

    She says there were many factors that could increase the risk of having breast cancer such as having no children by the age of 30, a family history of breast cancer, and early menstruation or late menopause. If a woman has one or more of these factors, she should see a doctor regularly.

    Avoid vices. Aside from being conscious about what you eat, you should also avoid smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Medical experts suggest that these habits can increase breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women.

    Get critical illness insurance coverage. Many people are intimidated by cancer because they worry about the medical cost. Women avoid screening for breast cancer for fear they will not have enough money and also will no longer be able to work. AXA Philippines’ Health

    Start and Health Max offer you and your family protection from life-threatening illnesses at an affordable price. The insurance plan covers critical illnesses, including cancer, stroke, and heart attack.