Breast Cancer Awareness

Is the expense of breast cancer treatment covered by health insurance?

Health insurance is undeniably significant and necessary for society’s social and family stability, The Council of Cooperative Health Insurance had previously confirmed that, health insurance companies are obliged to cover the cost of treatment of benign tumors and cancer, especially breast cancer, to the maximum benefit. The council spokesman Yasser Al-Maarik on the occasion of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which begins on the first day of October and continues until the end of it each year, said that “The maximum benefit limit for the treatment of breast cancer amounts to 500,000 Saudi Riyals during the term of the policy, including all medical examinations, diagnostics, treatment, medicines and reconstructive surgeries’ expenses.

Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast divide and grow without their normal control. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the KSA. Over 50% of breast cancer cases in the Kingdom are detected at a late stage, compared to 20% in advanced countries. The incidence of breast cancer rises after age 40, and the highest incidence (approximately 80% of invasive cases) occurs in people over age 50. Although it is associated with women, breast cancer can also affect males in similar proportions.

 

Diagnosing Breast Cancer:
  • Breast Examination: Your doctor will check both of your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities.
  • Mammogram: Mammograms are commonly used to screen for breast cancer. Breast Ultrasound: Ultrasound may be used to determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
  • Removing a Sample of Breast Cells for Testing (Biopsy): A biopsy sample is analyzed to determine the type of cells involved in the breast cancer, the aggressiveness (grade) of the cancer, and whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors or other receptors that may influence your treatment options.
  • Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI machine uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of the interior of your breast.

 

 

Several factors can increase the chances of getting breast cancer. In magnitude order they are
  • Getting older: The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are found after age 50 and they are a lot more common over 60
  • Genetic mutations: Inherited changes (mutations) in certain genes
  • Family history of breast cancer: The risk for breast cancer is higher if a close family member has had breast cancer.
  • Radiation therapy treatment: People who underwent radiation therapy to the chest have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy treatment: Remedies containing estrogen can increase breast cancer risk.
  • Overweight and obesity. People who are overweight or have obesity have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than at a normal weight.

 

 

Most breast cancers are sporadic, meaning they develop from damage to a person’s genes that occurs by chance after they are born. You can’t change some factors but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or similar, ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your genes, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your risk.

 

Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.

 

Early detection and management are the keys to improving survival in breast cancer patients. It can help in preventing the morbidity and mortality associated with breast cancer. When detected early the survival rates are high with breast cancer and a 5-year disease-free survival has been reported to be 35-65%. Being surveillant is key for identifying problems and developing appropriate and timely interventions. The aims of surveillance activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Estimating the burden of disease;
  • Identifying the risk factors that increase the incidence of breast cancer; and
  • Building the basis for appropriate clinical interventions.

 

 

Why Early Detection of Breast Cancer by Mammography Is Important?
  • Early detection is among the most important breast cancer prevention strategies.
  • Mammography is aimed to detect breast cancer at an early stage, which makes it easier to treat the disease at hospitals.
  • Early detection of breast cancer is essential for treating the disease, raising the potential for cure by over 95%, and reducing mortality by up to 30%.

 

Symptoms:

 

In most cases, breast cancer does not develop any symptoms at early stages. Symptoms start to appear as the disease develops, and the tumor grows. Breast cancer causes changes in the shape or feeling of the breast. Those changes may include:
  • A breast or armpit lump that feels different from before, or from the surrounding tissue;
  • Change in the breast shape or size;
  • New, continuing pain in the nipple;
  • Peeling, redness, scaling, crusting or flaking of the breast or nipple skin;
  • Newly inverted nipple;
  • Nipple secretions.

 

 

Based on the most recent data, relative survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer are:
  • 91% at 5 years after diagnosis
  • 84% after 10 years
  • 80% after 15 years

 

 

Stage at diagnosis
Stage at diagnosis is one of the most important factors affecting prognosis. Five-year relative survival rates for breast cancer are:
  • 99% for localized disease
  • 86% for regional disease
  • 27% for patients diagnosed with metastatic disease

 

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