Breast Cancer Awareness

Mumbai, October 24, 2017: Breast Cancer has emerged as one of the commonly diagnosed types of cancers among Indian women especially in urban areas. While there is a considerable awareness about the inflating cost for treatment of breast cancer, only a minuscule section has an insurance to cover such costs, a survey by Aegon Life Insurance showed. 

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.  

Aegon Life Insurance, a new-age digital insurer, reached out to 500 respondents across major metro cities to gauge their awareness about breast cancer.

“Educating and creating a widespread awareness about breast cancer is crucial right now. A robust understanding about the disease will enable people to become aware of the healthcare costs associated with cancer treatment, which has been on the rise for years now. We, as a life insurance company, have a greater responsibility to encourage healthier living and financial well being along with it,” said Aegon Life Insurance Chief Financial Officer Rajeev Chugh.

A staggering 73% respondents are not certain if men are also afflicted with breast cancer. While the incidences of breast cancer are higher in women, about 1% of cases occur among the male population. 

Impact of Culture

Research found that Indian culture has a considerable impact on the understanding about breast cancer at large. The Indian society has deemed several aspects of human physicality as taboo which creates an obstacle to a free discourse on breast cancer and self checking for lumps.

Among the women respondents, 50% agreed and 27% believe that factors like secrecy surrounding menstruation and sexuality may serve as a hindrance to openly talking about such diseases.

Many respondents said that several cultural factors dissuade women specifically from discussing certain physical ailments with their family, which eventually might lead to a delay in accessing the required healthcare. The survey shows that 24% of respondents have never discussed breast cancer with their friends and family.  

About 60% of respondents believe hormonal issues are the leading cause of breast cancer while 48% believe the disease is hereditary, indicating a skewed thinking about the causation of breast cancer. As a matter of fact, a person’s lifestyle plays a crucial part.

Fitness habits

Aegon Life Insurance consulted with various doctors to understand the causes of breast cancer. A leading oncologist 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.” 

About 55% of respondents – both men and women in equal measure – said they did not engage in any activities to maintain their fitness and physical health. This indicates a pattern of unhealthy living and a disregard for fitness. In fact, over 50% respondents have rarely or never got a health checkup.