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THINK PINK, LIVE GREEN: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Despite the improvements in breast cancer outcomes due to medical advancements in detection and treatments, breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer in women. Though men are not immune to the disease, statistics show that the number of deaths from breast cancer per year for men is  480 compared to 40,000 for women.

The causes of breast cancer are many—from genetics and family history to lifestyle, diet and processed food consumption, exercise, body weight, tobacco and alcohol use, to exposure to environmental contaminants like pesticides or chemicals in food packaging and cooking, and unhealthy materials used in carpeting and building products.

Environmental factors are notable. Take a look at the following everyday fruits and vegetables that absorb significant amounts of pesticides due to their thin skins, compared to those that absorb the least.

Apples Onions
Celery Sweet Corn
Strawberries Pineapples
Peaches Avocado
Spinach Sweet Peas
Nectarines Mangos
Grapes Eggplant
Sweet Bell Peppers Cantaloupe
Potatoes Kiwi
Blueberries Cabbage
Lettuce Watermelon
Kale Sweet Potatoes

Taken from

The good news is that risk factors can be minimized if women can Think Pink & Live Green.*

Lifestyle changes we make today can lower our risk tomorrow. Choosing safe personal care products, buying organic groceries and using safe household cleaning solutions, for example, can go a long way in minimizing risk of breast cancer and other cancers.

In other words, every time you eat, drink or use products, you have an opportunity to make a healthy choice. See chart below as you Think Pink, Live Green.

Avoid taking extra hormones Know your packaging


Get to a healthy weight and stick to it


Vary your diet and lifestyle


Get regular exercise


Eat small meals


Limit alcohol


Cook real food


Stop smoking


Choose healthy cooking methods and use safe cookware


Get fresh air by spending more time outdoors


Drink filtered tap water


Avoid unnecessary radiation from x-rays


Choose safe personal care products


Eat organic fruits and vegetables


Use green household products


Select foods and beverages carefully


Sleep well


Know your labels


Avoid stress


*See Think Pink, Live Green, a Step-by-step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast cancer, Lankenau Medical Center

Finally, consider that because of the significant advancements in treatments and outcomes of breast cancer survivors, your clients who need life insurance protection but have had breast cancer may still be able to qualify for coverage at favorable rates based on the outcome and their current lifestyle:

  • Carcinoma in situ (considered stage 0) can be considered for standard rates in the first year following surgery, and can be considered at better than standard rates after 5-10 years cancer-free.
  • Some insurers may consider Stage T1a cancer at standard rates in the first year following initial treatment.
  • Stage 1 & 2 cancers are generally insurable in the first year following initial treatment for smaller tumors (<0 cm) with a temporary flat extra rating applied.
  • Large stage 1 & 2 tumors are generally postponed 1-4 years from treatment before a flat extra rating is applied.
  • Stage 3 cancers are generally uninsurable for 10 years following initial treatment.

Breast cancer is a complex cancer with multiple factors that impact life insurance underwriting. However, given the overall improvements in the survival rate, life insurance ratings have gradually improved to reflect these positive outcomes.

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