Breast Cancer, Your Diet and Insurance
Breast cancer is a devastating disease. A good friend got it when she was just 30; she lost both breasts to the disease, but survived. Breast cancer knows no age limits and doesn't respect wealth or status. In the US, as many as 1 in 8 women will find themselves in a struggle with breast cancer. That could be your mother, your sister or your best friend. It could be you.
If it's in your family history, it will affect your insurance rates.
As a result, I think many heaved a sigh of relief when studies revealed that a low fat diet could reduce your risk of this deadly disease. We may even have thought that we'd found the silver bullet -- or dodged a bullet. Hey -- maybe I could get my insurance rates to go down by being good and eating healthy!
In a story in the Toronto Star, new research shows that diet may have less effect than you might wish. A seven year study showed that a low fat diet high in vegetables and fruits didn't pay off as expected. There was no benefit in extra fruits and vegetables over the recommended 5 servings a day.
Previous studies have not been as rigorous as the current study.
The study was funded in part by a $5 million grant from the late Wal-Mart heir John Walton with an additional $30 million in support from the National Cancer Institute.
What does this mean for women shopping for health insurance or life insurance? Your insurer will continue to look for a family history of breast cancer to assess risk to them. Your lifestyle won't count for as much as that history when it comes to breast cancer, but it will still reduce your risk overall -- so don't give up! Just because your vegetables won't necessarily reduce the risk of cancer, doesn't mean they aren't good for you!
As with any kind of insurance, shop around. Even if there is some indication of breast cancer in your family history, one insurer may evaluate that risk differently than another.
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Monique L. Attinger