Each October, multiple breast cancer organizations around the world campaign to raise awareness on breast cancer
28 October 2018| Last updated on 29 October 2018
This is not only because breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world.
It is among the top five causes of death among all cancer types, but also because if detected early, it can be curable.
While yearly screenings are crucial, our partner Pacific Prime Dubai believes that knowing the types of treatments needed, as well as their estimated costs in Dubai can help you make the right insurance decision today.
Breast cancer treatment options
Let’s start with the fact that breast cancer - if detected early via regular preventive screenings (i.e. mammography and self-check-ups) - can be cured.
A healthy diet and regular exercise can also minimize risk factors, but in general, women over 40 years old are at the highest risk of developing breast cancer, and as such should conduct yearly check-ups.
Breast cancer stages and treatments
If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, treatment will highly depend on the stage of cancer. Breast cancer stages range from 0 to 4. The size of the tumor, the number of lymph nodes affected, and whether cancer has spread to other parts of your body; all of these factors play an important role when the doctor determines the stage of cancer.
If detected early, stage 0 breast cancer - also called noninvasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) - can be eliminated by a surgery called lumpectomy, which can save the breast.
Even for those with stage 0 breast cancer, a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) might be necessary if DCIS is found in multiple areas of the patient's breast.
The surgery is typically followed by radiation therapy for about 5 to 7 weeks to minimize the chances of recurrence. Sometimes a doctor may recommend hormone treatment as well to lower the patient's risk of developing invasive breast cancer.
Stages 1 - 3
Stages one to three are considered invasive breast cancers. At these stages, surgery (either mastectomy or lumpectomy) is typically recommended, followed by one or more additional treatments. Chemotherapy is often recommended to fight against this type of cancer starting from stage 1 of breast cancer.
At this stage, breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body: the limbs, brain, lungs or bones. This stage of cancer can’t be cured, and because it affects so many different parts of the body, patients will need multiple therapies to stop tumor growth and ease symptoms. Usually, a new type of treatment is introduced, called targeted therapy, which targets the protein that allows cancer cells to grow.
Cancer Insurance in Dubai: The basic Essential Benefits Plan is not enough
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer in Dubai, your essential benefits plan will cover the cost of treatments related to breast cancer; however, the basic plan annual limit of Dh150,000 will most likely not be enough.
The cost of cancer treatments in Dubai
Breast cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy in the Emirates, starts from about Dh 250,000 a year, but can go up even higher in private hospitals. Depending on the stage of cancer and type of treatment, be it chemotherapy, breast surgery, or radiotherapy, patients without comprehensive insurance must prepare to pay large sums out of pocket or return to their home country for more affordable treatment options.
What minimum coverage limit do I need in my Dubai medical insurance policy?
To be fully covered against high, and still rising cancer treatment costs, our insurance partner Pacific Prime Dubai suggests obtaining a plan with a minimum coverage limit of Dh 1,000,000. That way, patients will most likely not have to pay any additional fees for cancer treatment, but again, the actual costs of the treatments will depend on many factors, such as the stage of cancer, type of treatments, and even the choice of hospital(s).
Another option could be securing an international medical insurance plan, which will also allow you to look for cancer treatments outside of Dubai, where it could be much cheaper.
Normally, international medical insurance plans have a wider network provider list and ensure private hospitalization around the world. This option is also a good solution for those who travel often and might be in need of medical help outside of the Emirate.
Get professional advice
We know that looking for the right medical insurance can be daunting; that’s why partnering with an experienced insurance broker, such as Pacific Prime Dubai, can spare you time and stress when choosing the right plan.
They can help you top up your existing plan, be it private or employer-provided, and provide assistance in choosing a new policy based on your needs and budget, as well as during the renewal process.