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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, VUMI® joins in this World Health Organization (WHO) initiative with its award winning “Let’s Go Hand in Hand” campaign. Our goal is to provide relevant information about breast cancer, and to promote early detection. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, in 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and global 685,000 deaths. Below we examine some common myths in the hopes that providing accurate information will help in the fight against this disease.

WHO Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s goal is to prevent the 2.5 million deaths worldwide from breast cancer that may occur between 2020 and 2040. Early detection, timely diagnosis, and comprehensive management of this disease are crucial to gaining this fight.

myth #1:
“I am not at risk because there are no women in my family who have ever had breast cancer.”

According to the WHO, while family history of breast cancer can increase the risk, the majority of women diagnosed with the disease do not have a known family history. However, people with relatives who have had breast cancer are recommended to undergo high-risk screening studies to be able to prevent the appearance of this disease.

This risk applies not only if women in the family have had cancer but also if a first-degree male relative has had breast cancer, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

myth #2:
“This disease only strikes women.”

Although it is less frequent, men can also suffer from this disease. According to CDC data, about 1 in every 100 breast cancer cases in the United States is diagnosed in men. In 2022, it is estimated that 530 U.S. men will die from breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Men may experience lumps or swelling in the breasts; reddened breast skin or skin changes; irritation or sagging in the breast; and nipple discharge.

Men should also do self examinations and consult their physician if they notice any changes.

myth #3:
“Young women do not get breast cancer.”
According to the VUMI® Breast Cancer Information Guide, although 95% of women who suffer from this disease are approx. 45 years old, younger women can also suffer from the disease. These cancers tend to be more aggressive.
myth #4:
“I know I have cancer because I noticed something abnormal in my breasts.”

Self-examination is crucial for the early detection of breast cancer. However, should you notice some irregularity, this does not necessarily mean you have the disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, 80% of breast tumors examined by biopsy turn out benign (non-cancerous).

The CDC confirms the menstruation, maternity, gaining or losing weight, and taking certain medications can cause breasts variations. In any case, if you notice any irregularity, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

What can I do to prevent breast cancer?

In addition to maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, self-examination and medical check-ups are essential in the prevention and early detection of this disease.

Dr. Carlos Machuca Carpio, an oncologic surgeon at the Hospital del Rio in Ecuador, states, “The earlier a patient is treated, the better the results will be in their recovery.” Dr. María Auxiliadora Villamar, a gynecologist and mastologist, comments, “Breast cancer detected early allows breast conservation, that is to say, conservative treatment without mutilation. The probability of survival and quality of life is higher.”

What benefits does VUMI® provide in the fight against breast cancer?

Depending upon the VUMI® policy selected, VUMI® benefits may cover the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer, including:
  • Preventive medical check-ups, including mammography.
  • Prophylactic surgery to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Genetic testing to verify predisposition to cancer.
  • Second medical opinion that gathers an expert panel together to evaluate the diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Oncological treatments.
  • Medical coordination with a human-centric approach.
  • Access to the best hospitals in the United States that specialize in cancer.

For more information on coverage for early detection and treatment of breast cancer, please consult your insurance agent. 

Important: The article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational/ educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always ask your doctors or healthcare professionals for medical advice.

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