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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Costa Rica.
There are 1,200 new cases of Breast Cancer detected in Costa Rica every year. It is a real possibility for many Costa Rican woman. The entire month of October is dedicated to helping women, the general public also becomes knowledgeable about breast cancer and to provide valuable information about breast cancer 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
There are various large-scale breast cancer awareness initiatives within the country. The organizers of these initiatives partner with banks, local businesses, and artists to schedule events during the entire month of October.
Breast Cancer does not discriminate geographically. It affects millions of mothers, sisters, and daughters every year. And, they all deserve the best fighting chance against breast cancer they can get.
Let’s bring awareness to the masses.