Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To help with cancer awareness, we at the Bullock Agency would like to discuss breast cancer and its long-term effects.
Breast cancer, like all forms of cancer, begins when the cells in your body begin to grow out of control (Source). The cells not only multiply at a faster rate than normal, but also lose their programmed cell death (or apoptosis). They continue to build up instead of dying off, creating tumors. Over time, these cells can also spread – or metastasize – to other areas of the body, disrupting vital functions.
According to Breastcancer.Org, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, making it second only to skin cancer in terms of how common it is. This means that while you might not develop breast cancer, you will almost certainly know someone who does.
How Breast Cancer Affects People
Breast Cancer affects people in three main ways: physically, emotionally, and financially.
We associate pain with something being wrong, but you may be surprised to know that in early stages, pain is not a common symptom in breast cancer. In the early stages, the most common symptoms will be changes to the shape of the breast. Lumps are the most obvious sign, but this can also include swelling, redness, changes in texture, or changes in the shape of the nipple. These might be accompanied by discharges from the nipple and enlarged lymph nodes.
However, many of the side-effects of treatment are highly uncomfortable. Most treatments – especially chemotherapy and radiation – involve attempting to kill the unhealthy cells with poisons or radiation while doing as little damage to the healthy cells as possible. Despite our best efforts, these treatments still do some damage. Common side effects of treatment include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, bleeding, sores, and soreness.
The emotional effects of cancer can be equal to the physical discomforts of the disease. Just hearing you have cancer is frightening. As a potentially fatal disease, it’s a harsh reminder of our own mortality. You worry about whether or not you will survive. How will your family will deal with things should the worst happen. What financial burdens will treatments incur. Your family worries about all of these things with you. On top of that, the physical symptoms are exhausting. This can cause depression, decreasing your ability to cope.
The financial burdens are often the elephant in the room. While you focus on the day-to-day business of surviving, the bills start to pile up. Deductibles, co-payments, specialized therapies, travel to treatment facilities, the inability or decreased ability to work; these are just of few of the indirect costs of cancer not covered by your health insurance. By the end of treatment, you could find yourself in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt. It should be no surprise that medical bankruptcy has become the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
How We Can Help
At the Bullock Agency, we want to help with the financial stresses. With programs that encourage yearly screening, we help you to catch it early, which dramatically increases your chance of survival. With early intervention you can also avoid the perils of medical bankruptcy.
After a diagnosis, many find that their primary medical insurance won’t cover everything. As the debts mount, many people try skipping treatments. While this may seem like a good way to save money in the short run, but in the long-term, it increases chances that cancer will recur, meaning even more debt and a greater chance of death.
Since primary medical coverage is often not enough, the Bullock Agency offers supplemental insurance policies. 90% of Americans have less than 6 months worth of savings in their bank account. Supplemental insurance policies can help with that. For as little as $35-$45 a month, we can provide additional benefits, assisting with the cost of screenings, hospital stays, and transportation. And even after the diagnosis, we can offer assistance in paying for treatments, surgeries, and more. These added benefits include free coverage for children.
Let Us Help
Don’t hesitate. If you are over the age of 45, you need yearly screenings. If you have a family history of certain types of cancer, especially Breast and Colon cancer, start even earlier. Remember that early detection is the best way to keep medical costs low. It also gives you the best chance of survival. To help alleviate some of your financial concerns, get in touch with us and see how a simple supplemental insurance policy can give you the peace of mind in knowing you won’t have to worry about medical bankruptcy. The sooner you sign up, the better your benefits will be when the time comes to cash out.