Thursday, April 9, 2009

Breast Cancer care in Japan

I’ve been living in Japan for 26 years and am on Japanese health care insurance through my husband’s company. Seven years ago, when I was 44, on a routine mammogram, breast cancer was discovered. I had gone for a routine mammogram every year, for about $30 each time. A few times, something was expected, but through needle-point biopsies, nothing was discovered. This time, I was in an early stage of cancer, but needed a lumpectomy. I wasn’t satisfied with the first hospital, so I had two other second opinions and chose the best hospital in Japan, and fortunately, the best surgeon connected to it. The surgery was performed and a 4-day hospital stay in a private room cost us only about $2,800. It would have been more than 10 times that if it had been in the U.S. A friend of mine had the same procedure, and I think it cost her over $50,000 in the U.S. (She didn’t have American insurance.) I went to Tokyo monthly for hormone treatments to stop my periods and had radiation treatments at a local Cancer center for 5 weeks. The treatments including Tamoxifen that I was on for 5 years, cost me only about $100 per month because of the insurance.

Japanese insurance, and the ease of just showing our insurance card with the country taking care of the rest, made it inexpensive and very easy for me to get the treatment I needed. We could not have afforded the treatment that I got, and check-ups I continue to get, AND at one of the best hospitals in the world, if we hadn’t had Japanese insurance.

Vivian Morooka
Chiba, Japan


Scott said...

Dear Vivian-
I would like to know which hospital and doctor you used in Tokyo. My fiancé was just diagnosed with a breast cancer today (just moments ago actually). I would greatly appreciate any information you could give regarding that second hospital and doctors.
Thank you so much.

bylatili said...

Hi Scott,
I'm really sorry to hear your terrible news. Vivian posted this anecdote ages ago, so I doubt that she would get your email or that she checks back on this blog. There is a hospital in Tokyo that specializes in Cancer. It is called the national cancer center, and it is at Tsukiji. A friend of mine recommended it. There are other cancer centers in Tokyo if you just do a general search, which you surely have already done. I hope the best for your fiancee and your future together.


Scott said...

Thank you Linda for your thoughtful words and information. Such kindness, especially at this time, means more than you know.


Breast cancer treatment Germany said...

Hello !

DRK Kliniken Berlin is a state-of-the-art Breast cancer clinic in Germany co-operating with 450 board certified oncologists and surgeons.

Best wishes !

Vivian Morooka said...

Oh my goodness. I never thought anyone would read this or post a comment. I hope Scott found a good doctor. I went to St. Luke's. Hope things worked out for you.
Vivian said...


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I thought they would be of interest to your followers as well, and I wanted to see if you would include it as a resource on your page:

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Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
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