(ARA) - More women are surviving breast cancer and living healthy and fulfilled lives thanks to early detection, advanced medical treatments and new options that may not have been available before. But because of their sometimes complicated medical histories, many of these survivors may have erroneously assumed they could not secure life insurance to protect their families after a diagnosis.

In some cases a breast cancer diagnosis may have meant a significant increase in the cost of coverage even years after successfully completing treatments. Some women also may have had to wait many years to qualify for life insurance coverage after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

But thanks to science and improved medical outcomes for women, that story is changing. One of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the country, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), recently changed its underwriting guidelines, to give breast-cancer survivors of both noninvasive and invasive cancers more favorable ratings for life insurance and disability income insurance coverage.

The company has incorporated the latest scientific information and treatments of the disease into its revisions, giving more patients and former patients an increased number of options. For some treatments, postponement times were reduced, and for others ratings were made more favorable to qualify candidates earlier. Visit www.massmutual.bca for more information.

Vlasta Duffy of Scottsdale, Ariz., was diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer in 2009. She didn't have any family history, was only 41 at the time and didn't fit the "at risk" category. But a routine mammogram and following biopsy resulted in two lumpectomies. After two forms of radiation, Duffy is now cancer free.

Like many women in the workforce, her family's future came to mind when she first received her breast cancer diagnosis. Duffy is a general agent with MassMutual and a managing partner with Integrated Financial Strategies LLC. Because of her involvement in the insurance industry, she felt she had adequate life insurance prior to her diagnosis. That quickly changed.

"One of the first thoughts that went through my head when I got diagnosed was if I had enough," she says. "And if I didn't, then what? Would my husband and daughter be OK if something happened to me either now or if I got cancer again a few years from now?

"I was very surprised that within a year of my treatment, I was able to qualify for more insurance," Duffy adds.

Because breast cancer can be a life-threatening diagnosis, it often causes a patient to look at the future in a very different light, Duffy says. She recommends people plan for their family's financial future now, because she knows firsthand how the future can change with a simple trip to the doctor for a mammogram.

"I've seen too many people face various circumstances and not have enough life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance or money saved for college or retirement," Duffy says. "It's never an easy time to plan, but it's the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our families."

Visit www.massmutual.bca for more information.Life insurance options after a breast cancer diagnosis
Category: Business