Did you know that 1 in 8 women will get diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime? It’s an alarming stat from the National Breast Cancer Association. This devastating disease hurts women and their loved ones physically, emotionally, and financially. That’s why we’re helping to raise awareness this October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and sharing helpful tips from the experts on how you can increase your chance of preventing and surviving breast cancer, and how to cut breast cancer treatment costs.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society says that when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%. This is why early detection is so important. Women aged 40 and up should get a mammogram each year. Women in their 20’s & 30’s should get a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. All women over 20 years old should get comfortable performing a breast self-exam. For detailed information on breast screening, visit cancer.org.
The first way you can reduce your risk of breast cancer is by eating a healthy diet to help boost your immune system. Breastcancer.org says that diet is thought to be partially responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers, and suggests eating a nutritious diet to lower your risk. This includes foods rich in whole grains, fruits, veggies, and legumes, and low-fat foods. They also suggest eating food that hasn’t been grown using pesticides. Buying organic and eating healthy can be tough on your wallet, so here are five ways to eat healthier on a budget.
Time reported that smoking could cost up to $2 million dollars throughout your life! To compare, the federal government estimates that the cost of raising a child is $250,000 on average. So if you don’t smoke – don’t start…and if you do smoke – quit! Here are a few resources to help you quit:
- Online resources via American Lung Association
- Get texts, build a plan and download their app via Smokefree.gov
- Online help via American Cancer Society, or call them at
- 1-800-ACS-2345 for support
Don’t Drink So Much
Experts found that women who have three alcoholic drinks a week have a 15% higher chance of getting breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink.
Shedding excess pounds is another way to reduce your risk. Check out our creative ways to enjoy fitness for less so you can get and stay physically active without having to spend a fortune.
Watch out for Chemicals
Another tip is to avoid your exposure to chemicals. There are many toxic chemicals within our makeup, food, personal and home care products, water and plastics. Read more about each of these on breastcancer.org.
Ways to Lower Your Breast Cancer Treatment Costs
Treating breast cancer can be a huge financial burden, even for those with health insurance. Here’s a snapshot of the types of costs that are associated with breast cancer treatment:
- Mastectomy and reconstructive surgery
- Transportation to treatment centers
- Child care during treatment
- Loss of income from not working
- Special foods
- Alternative care options: reiki, acupuncture, hypnosis, therapy, yoga, etc.
Breastcancer.org lists a lot of helpful tips and strategies to help reduce breast cancer treatment costs. At a high level, here’s what they suggest doing:
- Ask your doctor to prescribe generic drugs and for samples
- Ask for a discount on your medicine
- Ask for a payment plan
- Shop around for the best-priced medicine at different pharmacies
They also list a ton of organizations and pharmaceutical companies that provide discounts and programs. Use their resources to reduce the cost of breast cancer treatment for more details.
If you have any other suggestions for how to lower the cost of breast cancer treatment or how to protect yourself from being diagnosed, please share them in the comments below.
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