Fear of Medical Bills and Lack of Access Cause Cancer Treatment Delay

Diana Mariska
Breast cancer awareness campaign in Montpellier, France. (Photo: AFP/PASCAL GUYOT)
Breast cancer awareness campaign in Montpellier, France. (Photo: AFP/PASCAL GUYOT) - Fear of medical tests and large medical bills as well as lack of access to medical care are the main causes of treatment delay in cancer patients, the Indonesian Breast Cancer Foundation (YKPI) said.

YKPI chairperson Linda Agum Gumelar said fear among the public is mainly due to lack of knowledge about the disease, and it makes people apprehensive in getting themselves checked by medical professionals.

“First, delay on treatment is caused by lack of knowledge,” Gumelar said on Wednesday, February 2, as reported by Antara.

Knowledge on the importance of breast self-exam and clinical breast exam, among other things, continues to be limited among Indonesians while it’s, in fact, an important skill to guarantee future health.

In addition, patients often worry about large medical bills, and some patients end up having to pay a large amount of money because the cancer has gone into the next stage.

“Excessive worry may stop them from visiting a doctor and opt for alternative treatments,” Gumelar explained.

Furthermore, poor access to healthcare worsens the condition as it’s not uncommon for patients to have to go through long distance to access medical care in health facilities – not to mention complicated national health insurance scheme (BPJS Kesehatan) for cancer patients. As a result, they fail to get a timely and optimal treatment.

It’s also undeniable that ultrasonography (USG) and mammogram are still limited in the smallest levels of health facilities, making it even more difficult for people in all layers of society to get early detection.

YKPI recommended the government to accelerate access to education on breast self-exam through school curriculum targeting students in 11th grade which, in the long term, is expected to reduce breast cancer incidence and mortality in Indonesia.

Tag # health # breast cancer # cancer # indonesian breast cancer foundation # bpjs kesehatan # cancer in indonesia

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