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Every year, approximately 1,200 new cases of breast cancer are discovered in Costa Rica. For many Costa Rican women, this is a real possibility. The entire month of October is dedicated to assisting women, as well as educating the general public about breast cancer and providing valuable information about early detection.
Breast Cancer Detection
The early detection of breast cancer is recognized as the key to increasing cancer survival rates and methods of treatment.
The expansion of health care services outside the San José area of Costa Rica, in recent years, has aided in the efforts of bringing awareness/treatment to people typically without it. For example, in Guanacaste, the growth in the number of local clinics has been a welcomed change. Costa Rica has come a long way since the days when even a checkup would require a one-hour drive to Liberia.
Gynecologists from San José are making monthly visits to local clinics in Guanacaste communities. Women should ask their doctors or a local clinic when gynecologist appointments are available.
There has been progress made but, there is still much more to be done. Access to local mammograms, chemotherapy, and surgical treatment remain as goals for the future in rural areas. At the time of this writing, all breast cancer cases are sent to San José for further testing and treatment.
Public Breast Cancer Assistance
Breast cancer treatment is free within Costa Rica’s public health care system. La Caja (The National Health Insurance) covers the costs of all doctor’s appointments, medications, tests, and procedures. Unfortunately, the downside is long wait times to receive assistance. It can take months to get an appointment and once cancer is diagnosed, a person is placed on a waiting list according to severity. Chemotherapy or surgical appointments can take years to get.
Private Breast Cancer Assistance
San José has many state-of-the-art private hospitals offering a full range of treatments for breast cancer. Some hospitals offer private rooms, healthy and delicious meal options for both patients and family visitors and even beds and rooms for family members.
Everyone can help out
Across the country, there are a number of large-scale breast cancer awareness campaigns. The organizers of these initiatives collaborate with local banks, businesses, and artists to plan events throughout October.
Breast cancer does not discriminate based on where it occurs. Every year, it affects millions of mothers, sisters, and daughters. And they all deserve the best possible chance of beating breast cancer.
Let’s bring awareness to the masses.