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Smoking and Lung Cancer in Thailand

If you’re an expat in Thailand, there’s a fair chance that you are regularly in areas where second hand smoke is a consideration, or may even be a tobacco smoker yourself. Since it’s 2018, we likely don’t have to tell you that there are myriad health problems that can arise from regular tobacco usage, and even simply exposure to the smoke of others. While Thailand has made serious efforts towards curbing tobacco smoking in the country, there is still a sizeable portion of the population here that smokes, thereby increasing their risk of related health issues, and increasing burden on the local healthcare system.

Here, Pacific Prime Thailand discusses tobacco usage in the Land of Smiles, how it is driving lung cancer in the country, and how health insurance can address lung cancer treatment.

Smoking in paradise

You may not be aware of it, but November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month around the world! During this month, governments and organizations around the world communicate with people to raise awareness about the threat that lung cancer poses. The effort goes beyond just smoking, too. This is because there are many different causes and risk factors related to lung cancer, such as exposure to radon gas, asbestos, and other carcinogens, as well a family history of lung cancer.

Nevertheless, when it comes to talking about the causes of lung cancer there’s no denying that tobacco smoke is at the very top of the list. The more you smoke each day, and the longer you have smoked overall, the greater your risk of developing lung cancer. Furthermore, secondhand smoke is something that should be taken seriously, and if you care about your lung health, care should be taken to steer clear of it.

In Thailand, the prevalence of smoking as of August 2017 is 20.7% of the total adult population over the age of 15. This further breaks down as 40.5% of the adult male population that smokes, while the female population usage rate is only 2.2%. In other words, men in Thailand smoke at a rate that is about 20 times that of women! Similarly, boys aged 13-15 in Thailand use tobacco products at a rate of 21.8%, while girls do at a rate of 8.1%. These are worrying figures, indeed.

Thailand lung cancer prevalence

Looking at the portion of Thai society that smokes likely makes one wonder about how this affects tobacco related disease, and for the purposes of this article, lung cancer specifically. Well, the significance of smoking’s impact may surprise you. Figures state that 106,000 people die from smoking-related disease every year in Thailand, which accounts for almost 24% of male deaths, and 10% of female deaths, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Clearly, smoking is not a risk factor to be taken lightly.

Even people that don’t smoke have to worry about their lung health, as 30.5% of workers in Thailand are exposed to secondhand smoke while working, many of them working in food service or public transportation.

So what’s the single best way that a person in Thailand can decrease their risk of developing lung cancer? By not smoking, of course! As well, in addition to avoiding the other risk factors mentioned previously in this article, a person can also maintain a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, and low in beta-carotene. They can also test their drinking water to make sure it is devoid of arsenic.

Health insurance and lung cancer

Now, if you’ve been living in Thailand for a significant amount of time, there is a good chance that you have already been made familiar with the country’s universal healthcare system, and know where you can go to seek treatment. By and large, people have no problem with utilizing the public healthcare system for their medical needs, as most will not be life or death conditions. However, when a person develops a condition as serious as lung cancer, they most likely are going to want to avail themselves of Thailand high quality, yet highly expensive, private hospitals.

In order to address what can be a very costly series of treatments to battle lung cancer, a person is going to want to have a private health insurance policy in place, as paying for such care out of pocket is likely not going to be feasible for the average person. Not only that, but care should be taken to make sure that the benefit levels for cancer treatment found within a policy are high enough that they would be able to fully fund cancer treatment on an annual basis. Without a high enough benefit limit for cancer treatments, once the cap is met, the patient will be on the hook for the rest of the cost of treatment until the policy renews.

It’s also important to have an insurance plan in place well before cancer develops. This is because, if a person has already been diagnosed with cancer prior to purchasing an insurance policy – even if it is currently in remission – cancer will likely be considered a pre-existing condition and excluded from coverage, thereby leaving the insured with no financial protection from cancer.

Any questions?

Now that you know more about the prevalence of tobacco use and lung cancer in Thailand, perhaps you are more interested to secure a Thailand private medical insurance policy that can provide you with comprehensive coverage in the event you develop the condition. If this is the case, the best way to find the ideal health insurance plans for your needs, with the benefit levels you want, is to work with an experienced insurance broker like Pacific Prime Thailand.

Contact them today to get answers to your most pressing insurance questions, as well as a comparison of plans from top local and international insurance companies in Thailand, and a free price quote.

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