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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Asian's Mentality Towards Healthchecks

Today is one of your typical Friday the thirteenth, and a piece of news broke through the light-heartedness of the upcoming weekends, stirring my thoughts once more, on the fragility of life itself.

My closest uncle was diagnosed witb 4th stage Colon Cancer. There were no obvious symptoms or red flags raised all these while, except the occasional, milder pangs which he would attribute to relapses of his childhood gastric pains. After all, he eats very healthily, exercises on a daily basis, does not smoke nor drink, lives in a nice area where he breathes hills and lush greenery every morning, and does the basic health screening on an annual basis.

If anyone were to attain longevity of life, it should be him, right? Well, don't worry, he just underwent a 3-hour long surgery last night at a good hospital under the care of accredited doctors at my recommendation - the operation went smoothly and he should be discharged in a week or so.

When I asked him why he'd never thought to do more thorough healthchecks before, he honestly answered that since he leads a very healthy lifestyle, he did not see the need for these tedious bodily tests that might require hours on end to conduct. His words made me want to emphasize to you right now the 5 main misconceptions Asians have about healthchecks, and why they should be discarded immediately.

1. Healthchecks / healthscreenings are troublesome and unnecessary
Right - that means you probably never heard of "prevention is better than cure".  By the time your body starts displaying weird signs, trust that some part of it has already been hit hard - and probably underwent months or years of endurance before the breakdown. Why do you think machines require periodical checks instead of waiting till it malfunctions eventually? Why do you need anti[-virus for your computers even when they are brand new? Well, your body works the same way, so please be kind to it and bring it for checks at least once a year.

2. Healthchecks / healthscreenings are Expensive
Yes, admittedly, they are, especially if you choose to go for the comprehensive ones. Again, for the sake of prevention, and if you measure it against the value of your health - whats a few hundred dollars a year? Your latest (don't say Prada or Chanel) Longchamp bag, new I-phone or Japan trip probably are less vital than a good healthscreening package - yet I bet you probably pay for the latter items without batting an eyelid, but feel the need to sacrifice bodily checks.

3. Lack of proper information
I have personlly been reprimanded by (both educated and uneducated) elderly folks for suggesting that they attend healthchecks / healthscreenings, citing reasons from superstitions to "don't curse me" scoffs to distrust of the medical facility handling their health reports. These people misunderstand the true purpose of a healthcheck / healthscreening, later blaming illnesses to everything else besides their own lack of commitment to healthcare. Would someone educate them on this please?

4. "Don't Say It" (denial)
No one likes to hear bad news, especially news that they have been diagnosed with somethint unpleasant diseases. After all, it affects one's emotional and financial well-being, and may even eventually disrupt their lifestyle totally. Who wants to think about medical bills, long-term treatments and being a burden to family members? So, better not go for checkup, in case something bad is being discovered.

But f you keep burying your head in the sand this way, you would eventually end up with your worst fears. After all, not knowing, not hearing, not discovering, does not mean that the problem does not exist. Discovering it at an earlier stage would help save more costs than treatments at later stages - where sums of money spent may no longer guarantee recovery.

5. We are meant to die anyway
So you enjoy living life on the edge, believing that you would have no regrets even if you were to die today? Hence the unhealthy food and lifestyle, as well as deliberate neglect of bealthchecks / healthscreenings.

Cool, you rock! Just ensure that before you are diagnosed or die, you have set aside enough savings for treatments in case you fall ill.  Better yet, maybe disown all kin so that if you incur massive bills, they wont be implicated; and if you have difficulties with daily living activities, they won't be burdened to take care of you. If you think I sound harsh here, you are even harsher to your loved ones, through these selfish thoughts of yours.

If any of the above scenario or mentality reasonate with you, or sound familiar, perhaps it is time to change your views on healthchecks / healthscreenings, and to educate your loved ones to do the same. Take ownership of your own health, because ultimately, health is wealth!

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