We have so much to be thankful for every day. Family, friends, people that love us. Waking up to a new day. Sunshine that shows us every living thing can thrive on this earth. Rain that reminds us of our abundant blessings. Accomplished goals. Things like travel that help us set mini goals. Extra money that allows us to indulge in our favorite things. Being healthy. Time that we spend with our family. Peace of mind.
One of the things that make life great is the feeling of security. This should be at the top of our life goals: that whatever curveball life throws us, we’re ready. There is nothing like the peace of mind that comes with knowing we’re prepared for things like critical illness as our mental state has a ripple effect on our physical wellbeing.
Critical illness can strike anytime and anyone—sometimes even healthy people (but most especially those who have unhealthy lifestyles). In the Philippines, the Big 3 illnesses or leading causes of morbidity are heart disease, stroke and cancer. A report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released in February 2022 says that 17.9% of deaths in 2020 was caused by ischemic heart disease or myocardial ischemia, which reduces the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood. This can lead to a sudden, severe blockage of one of the heart's arteries, which in turn can lead to a heart attack.
According to 2020 data from the Stroke Society of the Philippines, stroke is the second leading cause of death and first cause of morbidity. In the same year, the World Health Organization released data showing that stroke deaths in the Philippines reached 74,167 (11% of total deaths) or 104.08 per 100,000 of the population.
Cancer, meanwhile, affects 189 out of every 100,000 Filipinos. Four cancer patients die every hour or 96 every day, according to a study by the UP Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health. The most common cancers are breast, lung, colorectal, liver and prostate. Globally, cancer is the leading cause of death with 10 million deaths in 2020.
Causes and prevention of the Big 3 diseases
For all three diseases—heart attack, stroke and cancer—certain lifestyle choices increase one’s risks. For cancer, they’re smoking, excessive drinking and exposure to sun, obesity, and having unsafe sex (cervical cancer). For heart attack, it’s smoking, having a high-fat diet and diabetes, consuming food high in cholesterol, having high blood pressure and being obese. Risk factors for stroke include eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol; leading a sedentary lifestyle; smoking (cigarettes can damage heart and blood vessels and raise blood pressure); and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.
Just as poor lifestyle choices can increase one’s risks, choosing healthy habits can help prevent the Big 3 and contribute to one’s overall physical wellbeing even if you’re not at risk. Choose to eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits, consume less sugar and alcohol, maintain a healthy weight by increasing physical activity and exercise, stop smoking, and take your medicines as directed (especially for cholesterol, high-blood pressure, diabetes and the like).
Additionally for breast cancer, get regular mammograms and practice self-breast exam; for cervical cancer, practice safe sex and get HPV vaccination to protect you against the common cancer-causing types of human papilloma virus to reduce risk.
Protect your future and your family
Apart from the physical and emotional toll that the Big 3 health concerns of heart attack, stroke and cancer bring, financial burden can also upend our lives.
According to a survey conducted by the Stroke Society of the Philippines, stroke patients can spend as much as Php136,688 to Php 228,678 for thrombolysis, which treats vascular blockages and improves blood flow by dissolving abnormal blood clots.
On the other hand, the common treatment for heart attack, coronary artery bypass, can range from Php700,00 to Php1 million at the Philippine Heart Center.
Cancer treatments vary depending on the type of cancer. They can start from Php250,000 for brain cancer, Php300,000 for breast cancer, Php900,000 for lung cancer, and Php100,000 every three weeks for ovarian cancer and Php300,000 for prostate cancer.
If you have a family history of critical illness and want to avoid mental stress of financial consequences, should you become ill, it’s time to get a health insurance that specifically addresses heart attack, stroke and cancer.
FWD BIG 3 Critical Illness Insurance
FWD BIG 3 Critical Illness Insurance will give you cash assistance to help you cover the expenses if you’re diagnosed with early to late stage cancer, heart attack, or stroke, at a more affordable cost. Furthermore, you can buy up to a maximum of Php2 million total aggregated health benefit amount. This is a plan that can be purchased in minutes at FWD online shop, no medical examinations needed, and may be renewed annually until age 79.
This plan gives an additional reward to the insured, which is a one-year unlimited consultations at Aventus Medical Care Inc. clinics nationwide. The reward is activated 20 days after the policy is issued.
FWD BIG 3 Critical Illness Insurance is easy to understand, easy to buy, and easy to claim. To know more about how you can protect yourself and your family’s health and financial future against heart attack, stroke and cancer, click here.