According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the biggest cause of death in Europe, following heart disease, and about it is responsible for 20% of the annual deaths. This means that every year, 14 million people are diagnosed with a type of cancer and 8 million of them do not survive the disease.
Not only does it affect the patients on a physical and emotional level, but the trauma having cancer puts us through is a real burden for the entire family.
Early stage diagnosis is essential in the process of reducing the number of deaths cancer causes. When discovered in time, the chances of a positive response to treatment can increase significantly, thus reducing the time and the costs of the treatment process.
However, doctors state that the main cause of death is the late diagnosis of the disease, often as a result of the lack of education concerning prevention and early discovery of cancer.
In Romania, the most common cancer types are breast cancer and lung cancer for women, and prostate and colorectal cancer for men, says GFK Romania, and almost 70% of the patients are diagnosed during their late stage.
In the Guide to Early Cancer Diagnosis, the World Health Organization presents three stages of the early cancer diagnosis process:
- Awareness of cancer symptoms and accessing care;
- Clinical evaluation, diagnosis and staging; and
- Access to treatment, including pain relief.
However, what is the early stage of cancer? In stage 0, the cancer diagnosis is confirmed, but the tumour is still small enough to be removed through a simple surgery. During the second part of the early stage, the 1st stage of cancer, the tumour has a size of 2 cm or smaller and it hasn’t yet spread to the nearby tissues or body parts.
A brief knowledge of the possible symptoms that might hide a cancer diagnosis is also essential when we have to make the best decision concerning the medical services we need. Even though cancer prevention is the best treatment and should start a long time before any symptoms occur, most patients only look for specialized help after the appearance of symptoms.
Here are the most usual symptoms for the most common cancer types:
- Breast cancer – lumps in or around the breast, asymmetry, unusual discharge from any of the nipples, the appearance of a nodule around the breasts, irregularities of the skin of the breast, nipple irritation, persistent breast pain.
- Lung cancer – persistent cough, persistent lung infections, rust-coloured sputum, inexplicable fatigue, weight loss, chest and shoulder pain.
- Colorectal cancer – changed bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation, persistent abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, appearance of blood in the stools.
- Prostate cancer - frequent urges to urinate, difficulty urinating, constant feeling of bladder pressure.
In order to support your oncological needs during the process of diagnosis of cancer, including medical check-ups for a second opinion, MediHelp International, together with Lamp Insurance and The New European Surgical Academy (NESA) have introduced a new way of oncological funding to Romania – the Nesacard.
How does the Nesacard work?
It’s very simple. For a donation of 33 euros/year to NESA to support their oncological research, you receive a card that, in the case of cancer suspicions, will provide you with 2000 euros that can cover cancer diagnostic services.
You can use the card for medical check-ups, medical navigation or second opinions from specialized doctors anywhere in the world, in a clinic of your choice, in order to receive the right diagnosis and the proper treatment plan.
You can find out more about the Nesacard, the benefits it has to offer, and how you can claim yours here: www.medihelp.ro/medihope/nesacard/.
International health insurance, a way to cover cancer treatment costs
In the fight with cancer, in order to reduce the medical costs and to make access to high quality medical care easy, some insurance companies have included coverage up to 100% for cancer related services in their health insurance plans.
Who can benefit from the insurance?
Private health insurance plans can be taken out by individuals as well as companies and, for a daily cost of 2 to 7 euros it will guarantee an annual coverage of up to 3 million euros, if the patient chooses an international health insurance plan.
The most important benefits of an international health insurance policy are the extended list of medical services it can cover, the high quality medical care, as well as the great range of clinics where the policy can be used.
Cancer-related services, covered in full by the international health insurance
- Specialized doctors
- Multidisciplinary investigations meant to identify cancer cells
- Cancer treatment (hospitalization, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, drugs and investigations)
- Medical evacuation