Life begins at forty?


Well, apparently it does in Japan.  I’ve been sent two free coupons from Kobe City, inviting me to be checked for breast and uterine cancers at my nearest health clinics.  A new policy implemented this year offers all women over the age of 40 access to free and comprehensive health checks at certain designated clinics for the most common cancers (younger women still have to pay about $20 per check, which is why I never bothered before … yes, I’m that cheap).

 Every year I get sent all kinds of free and/or discount coupons from the government, and as a matter of principle I never bother using them, unlike all of my friends here.  In fact I’m still refusing to go, on the grounds that they are only using these checks as a way of keeping tabs on my lifestyle and dietary habits … which are really nobody else’s business, right?  Especially my waist measurements.

Anyway, if Japanese people are so healthy as they claim to be, then why are they so hung up on cancer checks?


6 comments on “Life begins at forty?

  1. Jeni says:

    Um, because the want to catch cancers early enough (they hope, anyway) to cure them. I think you should take advantage of any free screenings you can get.

  2. Petra says:

    Yes, do go and have the screening done.

    It can save lives (and has).

  3. Karen says:

    Absolutely. Go have the screenings, particularly if they’re free. Both types of cancer are beatable, but only if caught early. Don’t take the risk.

  4. Miko says:

    The coupons are valid until the end of March, so I’ll go before then … when I can clear my schedule. BTW I’ve been told that the breast check is *extremely* uncomfortable, and that there are a lot of callbacks, resulting in even more checks! It’s practically a rite of passage for Japanese women, I often hear them comparing notes about the pain and discomfort (and then urging me to go and have it done).

  5. Petra says:

    When a bunch of women gets together to talk about breast screenings, guess what happens – the ladies get into competition mode.

    So by the time lady #5 mentions her experience, you are at the “extremely” uncomfortable stage.

    I would not label breast screenings under “so nice I would like to have them every day” – but apart from that, there’s nothing to complain about. You might have heard things like “they squish your breasts”; yes, they do, but not with a big hammer.

    So, don’t listen – just go and have it done. There are procedures much higher up in the “extreme” range than a simple breast screening.

  6. Miko says:

    I always love your sharp “stop being such a fricking pussy” attitude, Petra! It feels exactly like when I accidentally swallow a dollop of wasabi: really clears my head out, not to mention my sinuses.

    Okay, so there are far worse things in life than having my breasts mashed up by Japanese nurses (some men would probably happily pay for the privilege). I’ll be sure to go to the clinic and get screened. Just don’t get annoyed when I blog all about it here in whiny and explicit detail.

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