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Life Insurance and Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can certainly affect mortality, and is therefore a focus of concern for underwriters.

Here are some sobering figures from the American Cancer Society that show why:

“In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among US women, as well as an estimated 64,640 additional cases of in situ breast cancer.”

“That year, approximately 39,620 US women were expected to die from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.” (1)

These are scary numbers, but as we will see, many women (and men, too, since they can also develop this illness) can take strong measures to reduce their risk.

These efforts can help them better qualify for life insurance.

In life insurance underwriting, both “hard” and “soft” medical data are evaluated. This is clearly seen when people with a history of breast cancer apply for coverage. The hard data addresses such issues as: date of diagnosis; type, stage and grade of cancer; treatment details; general health history; and family medical history.

Yet at the same time, underwriters look at diet, nutritional supplements, alcohol use, and other lifestyle factors for “soft data” about the mortality risk presented. Here is an explanation of some of these factors at play, as identified by wholehealthinsider:

“Researchers estimate that most breast cancer—73 percent—are likely caused by lifestyle and dietary factors and environmental toxins.”

“Using combined estrogen-progestin conventional hormone replacement therapy after menopause increases the risk of getting breast cancer even after using it for as little as two years.”

“Drinking alcohol also increases your risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers aren’t completely sure why this is the case. But it may be because of the harmful effects of acetaldehyde (a substance produced in your body after drinking alcohol), the production of damaging reactive oxygen species that occurs after you drink alcohol, changes in folate metabolism or increased estrogen concentration. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.”

“Deficiencies in certain nutrients can also increase your risk of breast cancer. Vitamin D and iodine are two nutrients that are especially important for breast health. Vitamin D has caused cancer cells to die in cell culture studies.” (2)

Positive results in these areas can lead to a more optimistic prognosis, and enhance a potential applicant’s eligibility for coverage. If you know people who could need help getting a policy, I am sure they would appreciate your recommendation of us. We would be honored to help.

(1) “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures.” American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. <http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/breast-cancer-facts-figures>.

(2) “Breast Cancer: Reducing Your Risk.” Whole Health Insider. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. <http://www.wholehealthinsider.com/newsletter/breast-cancer-reducing-risk-2/?campaign=Hlifetime>.