Health and fitness

Be Ready: A Breast Cancer Insurance Plan

With its high incidence, breast cancer is a possibility every Filipina must prepare for. But it’s curable when detected early. Live your best life with screening, proactive daily habits and a cancer insurance plan.

Long before hit chick flicks or political candidates, the color pink was already a powerful pop culture symbol – for breast cancer. Globally and in the Philippines, breast cancer scores high for awareness and activism.

But even with this awareness, breast cancer is often found too late. So it’s smart to make preventive habits part of your everyday routine, and make your cancer protection plan a priority not a luxury. Here’s how.

Breast Cancer is the #1 Cancer in the Philippines

Breast Cancer is the #1 Cancer in the Philippines

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the Philippines. It’s estimated that 1 out of 13 Filipino women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime.

While it is widespread, breast cancer is also curable. It’s not uncommon to meet Filipina breast cancer survivors, a fact which highlights the literally life-changing need for awareness and early detection.

Every woman has the responsibility to know the facts, be proactive, and not delay medical visits as many Filipinos have done since the pandemic.

Understanding Breast Cancer

Where does breast cancer begin? It develops in the breast tissue, primarily in either the ducts or glands responsible for milk production. There are different types of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma (originating in the milk-producing glands).

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Early detection depends on recognizing the signs and symptoms. Make a habit of regular breast examinations and screenings, so you can instantly recognize changes in your breasts. Some common indicators include:

Breast Lumps or Thickening

Breast Lumps or Thickening
You’re the best person to know if something feels different in your breast. These lumps tend to be firm, painless, and may be attached to the surrounding tissues.

Changes in size or shape

Changes in Size or Shape
Any changes in breast size or shape should be examined further. This can include dimpling of the skin or alterations in the breast's appearance.

Nipple discharge

Nipple Discharge
Consult a doctor for any unusual discharge, such as blood or a clear/milky substance.Consult a doctor for any unusual discharge

Pain or tenderness

Pain or Tenderness
Breast cancer can cause pain or tenderness in the breast or underarm region.

It's important to note that not all women with breast cancer experience these symptoms. Even without symptoms, keep up your regular breast self-examination and screenings.

Look Out for These Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing breast cancer:

Age – But Patients are Getting Younger

Age – But Patients are Getting Younger
The risk grows as you get older, with the majority of cases found in women over 50. But breast cancer is being detected in younger and younger patients, with Philippine breast cancer specialists reporting cases as young as 13 years old.

Family history

Family History
The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of cancer. But if your mother or sisters have had breast cancer, you are at a higher risk. Know your family’s health history, and remember that any kind of cancer is enough reason to take extra precautions.

Hormonal factors

Hormonal Factors
Early onset of menstruation, late menopause, and never having given birth may contribute to an increased risk.

Lifestyle choices

Lifestyle Choices
Simple but very clear. A high-fat diet, smoking, excessive alcohol, and physical inactivity elevate your breast cancer risk.

Genetic Mutations

Genetic Mutations
Certain mutations, such as those in the BRC

Prevent Breast Cancer With a Healthy Lifestyle

After a test placed her at high hereditary risk, actress Angelina Jolie had major surgery to prevent breast cancer. But you don’t have to go that far. In the Philippines, keeping a healthy lifestyle is the most proactive way to lower your breast cancer risk. Here are some preventive measures.

Healthy weight (BMI)

Healthy weight (BMI)

Moderate exercise 30mins/day

Moderate exercise 30 mins/day

Limit or quit alcohol

Limit or quit alcohol


Breastfeed, ideally for a year or more

Careful with MHT

Careful with MHT

Menopausal Hormone Therapy has been linked to higher risk. Ask a healthcare professional for alternative options for menopausal sympt

Breast Cancer Screening and Early Detection

Early detection plays a crucial role in treating breast cancer. In the Philippines, we use two main methods:

Breast Self-Examination

Breast Self-Examination

Get to know your own breasts well enough to detect any changes, and form the habit of doing this monthly. Educate yourself on the proper technique or consult healthcare professionals.



A must for women 40 and up. This x-ray detects lumps early, before they grow large enough for you to feel during your breast self-exam. Make sure your corporate or selffunded plan covers mammograms, or seek out the subsidized tests offered by women’s health groups, the National Cancer Society of the Philippines and the Department of Health.

Managing the Financial Impact of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer treatment can be financially difficult. Consider the following factors, and be prepared:

Treatment Costs:
Breast cancer treatment in the Philippines varies in cost, depending on the stage of cancer and the treatment required. Government facilities may offer more affordable options, but private hospitals often have shorter waiting periods.

Health Insurance or BIG 3 Coverage:
It is crucial that you have adequate health insurance, or BIG3 coverage, that includes cancer treatment. This will help you manage the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis. These plans can help cover medical expenses, loss of income, and other associated costs.

Unexpected, but Not Unprepared

With the high incidence of breast cancer in the Philippines, it's important to prioritize regular screenings, keep a healthy lifestyle, and secure your own financial protection.

At FWD Life Insurance Philippines, you can choose between Vibrant, a complete health protection plan that covers you from wellness to recovery.; or FWD BIG 3, a critical illness insurance plan that provides financial support upon diagnosis of cancer, stroke and heart attack. Either way, being financially prepared will keep you stronger against breast cancer and other serious health challenges. See how FWD plans can offer you peace of mind, and get a personalized quote to protect yourself, right here.