Many women (and a few men! — more about that later) develop benign breast cancer during their lives. The Emory Healthcare website states that “although benign breast conditions are not life-threatening, they may cause bothersome symptoms and are occasionally associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
Management of such findings should be directed by your primary health care provider.”
How is this going to impact your breast cancer life insurance possibilities? If you’ve had a scary diagnosis, you know it can create some thoughts of life insurance and planning for the future.
That last part about your relationship with your health care provider is very important.
With any benign breast condition, or any health condition that may be suspected to “impair” your risk in the eyes of a life insurance company, a record of adherence to a program of treatment directed by your physician is very important.
While most are not, some types of benign breast conditions are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
The American Cancer Society states on their website that doctors “often divide benign breast conditions into 3 general groups, based on whether the cells are multiplying (proliferative) and whether there are abnormal cells or patterns of cells (atypia).
- Non-proliferative conditions “are not linked with the overgrowth of breast tissue. They do not seem to affect breast cancer risk, or if they do, the effect is very small.” Most benign breast conditions fall into this category, including: fibrosis, cysts, and benign lumps and tumors.
- Proliferative conditions without atypia “are linked with the growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue. They seem to raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer slightly (1½ to 2 times the usual risk).”
- Proliferative conditions with atypia “are linked with the excess growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue, and the cells no longer look normal. They can raise breast cancer risk about 3½ to 5 times higher than normal.”
Life insurance companies will take this increased risk into account when underwriting you for a policy. If you have one of the more common non-proliferative conditions and there are no other complicating medical or other risk issues, you will have a good shot at receiving a standard risk rating and pay very reasonable life insurance premiums.
Even if you have a benign breast condition associated with an elevated cancer risk, there are still some options for life insurance.
Some people are surprised to learn that benign breast conditions affect men as well as women. The most common male benign breast condition is called gynecomastia.
According to the American Cancer Society, gynecomastia “is not a tumor but rather an increase in the amount of a man’s breast tissue. Usually, men have too little breast tissue to be felt or noticed. Gynecomastia can appear as a button-like or disk-like growth under the nipple and areola (the dark circle around the nipple), which can be felt and sometimes seen.”
Gynecomastia is much more common than breast cancer, but both disorders often have similar symptoms and can be felt as a growth under the nipple. Because of this, it is important to have these types of lumps checked by your doctor as soon as they are detected.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is usually caused by hormonal changes. It is often seen in teenage boys experiencing adolescence and is usually temporary. Gynecomastia in older men is due to changes in hormone balance that come with age. Also, gynecomastia can be caused by some medicines, a rare genetic condition call Klinefelter Syndrome, or over-production of estrogen caused by problems with the endocrine gland.
Will Gynecomastia Affect My Life Insurance Premium?
Gynecomastia is not usually a significant health risk. But, it is rarely discussed and often misunderstood, certainly by many life insurance companies that might rate you poorly with a condition they are not familiar with, like gynecomastia.
The life insurance companies best suited for past cancer history would be:
- Protective Life
- Banner Life or William Penn (New York)
- North American
- Lincoln National
- American General Life
- United Home Life (Final Expense)
With a carrier that caters to impaired risk, gynecomastia should not result in a substandard risk rating.
What Should You Do Next?
All of this info can have your head spinning. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you still have some questions, we would be happy to hear them. Not only do we help applicants shop for life insurance coverage, but we also want to give any resources and advice we can.
If you want to get a plan you can afford, the best route is to give us a call. All you have to do is answer a few of our questions. The more we know about your health condition the more we can help. We will discuss with our team of underwriters and prepare a list of quotes, based on your age and health condition, from our top life insurance companies.
Your life insurance purchase can’t get any easier.
You can start right now! Use the term quoter on this page, call us at 1-800-712-8519.