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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.

DIRTY DOZEN LOWEST IN PESTICIDES
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 www.EWG.org/foodnews/summary/

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.

EVERYDAY CHOICES TO THINK ABOUT
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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