Indian culture, just like most cultures in the world, bases a woman’s femininity by their breasts. Fashion is a large industry and marketers along with big corporates are constantly trying to sell products designed to make them look as appealing as possible.
However, beyond that elite spectrum, not much is said about breasts. It’s a part of our bodies that is hushed about, hidden from family discussions and parental talks. You can only stare at them in secrecy, but don’t think you can speak about them openly. Especially in more conservative parts of India, breasts and their problems are ignored, muted or simply not known.
And that is one of the biggest threats to health care we have today. Not just suppression, but ignorance. Breast cancer is one of the fastest growing epidemics affecting women and men alike everywhere. For Indians however, is it a bigger issue to tackle for multiple reasons listed below:
Lack of awareness
In a bid to gauge breast cancer awareness in Indians, Aegon Life Insurance, a new-age digital insurer, reached out to 500 respondents across major metro cities. From the results of their study, it is evident that accurate knowledge about breast cancer and its causes are lacking in a wide majority of people.
Out of the total 500, 73% respondents are not certain if men are also afflicted with breast cancer. The study also revealed that 24% of respondents have never discussed breast cancer with their friends and family. 60% of the respondents associated hormonal issues as the leading cause of breast cancer, while 48% believed it’s a hereditary disease. These statistics indicate the skewed information about what causes breast cancer.
Rising medical costs
Breast cancer is an expensive disease to tackle. Cancer treatments, including surgeries, drugs, post-surgery check-ups, and other assistive medical care, requires a lot of financing. Without proper financial planning in place, the inflating costs of treatments can lead a family to financial ruin. Despite this, you will find only a small section of society is covered with health insurance policies that aim to protect them against such critical illnesses.
As per the study, about 60% of the respondents said that treatment cost for breast cancer is more than Rs. 5 lakhs, yet only 13% have an insurance product to cover such expenditure. This is troubling to say the least, as health insurance is one of the most important and useful decisions one can make for themselves and their family. A comprehensive health coverage, like Aegon’s iCancer Insurance plan, is a sound barrier that allows the patient to fight cancer with all their strength without worrying about how much it costs.
There is a lot of mist surrounding breast cancer and what causes it. A leading oncologist, associated with Aegon Life Insurance’s study, said, “there are several causes of breast cancer like long reproductive life, early menarche, early puberty, late menopause, lesser number of children, limited breast feeding, severe stress, and more. Along with these, lifestyle factors including obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking also contribute.”
Urban life is hard, fast and reckless. In the pursuit of success, we often forget that we need a healthy body to climb those heights. As revealed by the survey, about 55% of respondents – both men and women in equal measure – said they did not engage in any fitness activities to maintain their physical health. In fact, over 50% respondents have rarely or never got a health check-up. Disconcerting, to say the least.
Breast cancer is not just beatable, but also avoidable. All we need is an active effort from everybody to spread the light of awareness and fight the darkness of cancer. It’s better to be safe than sorry.