Breast cancer: Are you covered?

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Recent research has shown that as many as one in every 33 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.

This is a disease that often robs a woman of her identity, and is one that needs to be detected as early as possible as it can become very aggressive, very quickly. It has been proven that women diagnosed with stage one cancer have an 88% chance of survival, and this is where early detection comes into play. Women need to ensure that they are adequately covered as medical costs can be extremely high.

Here are some ways to stay on top of your health and reduce your chances of being diagnosed with stage two or three breast cancer.

– Make mammograms mandatory 

Most medical schemes cover one mammogram per year as part of your preventative benefits. Find out from your medical aid and make sure you go once a year.

– Take the BRAC gene test

Dr Ali Hamdulay from Metropolitan’s health division, one of the largest administrators of medical schemes and health risk management, says:  “The BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes are most susceptible to breast cancer, and women who inherit a mutation of one of these genes are at greater risk,” she says. “Some medical schemes cover a BRAC gene test from your insured or day-to-day benefits. If you have a higher-than-normal risk contact your medical provider to find out if your policy covers this test.”

– Clinical breast examinations for peace of mind

Although most women can should be doing self-checks on themselves on a daily basis, the best time to do so is in the shower or bath, it is a good idea to get a medical practitioner, like your gynecologist, to serve as a second opinion. Most medical schemes cover clinical breast examinations as part of your preventative benefits.

– Critical illness cover is a must

When you take out life insurance, you will see that cancer is classified as a critical illness. Cebisa Mfenyana from Metropolitan explains: “Critical illness cover pays out a benefit amount when you are diagnosed with a critical illness such as cancer. This is often used to pay off debt for medical aid shortfalls among other unexpected expenses.” For personalised advice, speak to a qualified financial adviser about critical illness cover to meet your needs.

Being diagnosed with a critical illness is enough to deal with on its own, never mind when you are not prepared financially. Our advice is to get hold of your medical aid and find out what you are covered for when it comes to your health and the health of your loved ones, before you are caught off guard.

By Samantha Parrish – Features Writer