An ever-improving scientific understanding of breast cancer and medical advancements have led to more success in tackling this disease. Understanding how breast cancer works and what to look for can help women catch the symptoms early on and prepare effectively for diagnosis and treatment. This may also help you make smart long-term financial decisions, such as applying for a cancer insurance policy. Let’s dive deeper into how breast cancer works, how it starts and spreads, and some common types.
Breast cancer is a disease that occurs when cells in the breast tissue start growing in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer often begins in the glands that produce milk or the ducts that carry it. It can spread to other parts of the body as it progresses.1 Most breast cancer patients are women, but men can get breast cancer too.
Cancer cells in one or both breasts may form tumors or lumps that lead patients to seek medical attention and get a diagnosis. However, it’s worth noting that many breast lumps are benign and not cancerous. They may be abnormal, but they do not spread and are not life-threatening. That said, it’s a good idea to get any lumps or abnormalities in the breast checked out by a healthcare professional just in case.2
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Help cover yourself and your family with affordable coverage from Aflac.
Breast cancer can start when abnormal cells in the breast multiply uncontrollably to form tumors. Benign tumors are not cancerous by themselves but may be correlated with an increased risk of breast cancer later on.2 Malignant tumors are cancerous and may grow and spread to other parts of the body.
Different breast cancers can begin in different parts of the breast. Lobular cancers originate in the lobules, or the glands that produce milk. Ductal cancers start in the ducts, which are tubes that carry milk. Ducts are the most common area of origin for breast cancer. Less common types of breast cancer may start out in the nipple or areola, the breast's fat and connective tissue, or the blood and lymph vessels.2
Cancer can spread to lymph nodes nearby, though at this stage, the cancer is still a local disease. When cancer cells enter the blood or lymph system and travel to other parts of the body, cancer can spread to other areas, including the bones, lungs, liver, and brain. This happens in the advanced stages of the disease and is called metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic cancer is most commonly diagnosed after a patient has already received treatment for an earlier stage (local) form of breast cancer.3
There are many different types of breast cancers, and they may be described or classified in different ways based on how they look under a microscope and where they originate. Breast cancers may be invasive or non-invasive. The former is more common and may spread to other parts of the body, while the latter remains largely restricted to the lobules. Here are several types in more detail:
While primary health insurance may help many families navigate a cancer diagnosis, supplemental cancer insurance can help bridge gaps in coverage and provide additional benefits that many patients may need. Here are a few ways that the right cancer insurance can help make life easier for patients:
Unlike health insurance payments, which go directly to the hospital or medical center, cancer insurance payouts go to you, the policyholder, unless otherwise assigned. You can then use the funds to help cover any expenses you need. This could mean using them to help pay for medication and treatments or even rent, groceries, and bills.
The cost of cancer insurance is determined by many factors, including your age, location, and desired benefits. However, Aflac plans are an affordable option for many patients with different needs. Chat with an Aflac agent to get a quote.
Managing cancer can be easier with the right financial resources. Even with primary health insurance, you may still need financial help covering costs, depending on the type of cancer and the treatments recommended. Cancer insurance can help ease the financial burden you may face and provide added peace of mind.
With a strong support system and continuous medical advances, many cancer patients may recover and live exceptional lives. While it may be important for patients to find support groups and networks, they can also better rely on a good cancer insurance policy for additional financial support. Aflac offers affordable supplemental cancer insurance to suit a wide array of needs and budgets. Consider chatting with an agent about your specific needs and getting a quote today.
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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - What is Breast Cancer? Updated July 25, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/what-is-breast-cancer.htm. Accessed August 25, 2023.
2 American Cancer Society - What Is Breast Cancer? Updated November 19, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/breast-cancer/about/what-is-breast-cancer.html. Accessed August 25, 2023.
3 Cancer.net - Breast Cancer: Introduction. Updated October 2022. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/breast-cancer/introduction. Accessed August 25, 2023.
4 American Cancer Society - Invasive Breast Cancer (IDC/ILC). Updated November 19, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/breast-cancer/about/types-of-breast-cancer/invasive-breast-cancer.html. Accessed August 25, 2023.
5 American Cancer Society - Types of Breast Cancer. Updated November 19, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/breast-cancer/about/types-of-breast-cancer.html. Accessed August 25, 2023.
Coverage underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Cancer/Specified-Disease: In Delaware, Policies B70100DE, B70200DE & B70300DE. Policy A72200. In Idaho, Policies B70100ID, B70200ID, B70300ID, B7010EPID, B7020EPID. Policy A72200ID. In Oklahoma, Policies B70100OK, B70200OK, B70300OK, B7010EPOK, B7020EPOK. Policy A72200OK. In New York, Policies, NY78100–NY78400. Policy NYR72200. In Virginia, policies A75100VA–A75300VA.
Coverage underwritten by Tier One Insurance Company: Cancer/Specified-Disease: In Delaware, Policy T70000. In Idaho, Policy T70000ID. In Oklahoma, Policy T70000OK. In Virginia, policies T70000VA & T70000GVA.
Content within this article is provided for general informational purposes and is not provided as tax, legal, health, or financial advice for any person or for any specific situation. Employers, employees, and other individuals should contact their own advisers about their situations. For complete details, including availability and costs of Aflac insurance, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Coverage may not be available in all states, including but not limited to DE, ID, NJ, NM, NY or VA. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on state and plan levels. Optional riders may be available at an additional cost. Policies and riders may also contain a waiting period. Refer to the exact policy and rider forms for benefit details, definitions, limitations and exclusions.
Cancer insurance is also known as specified disease insurance in some states. This is a brief product overview only. Coverage may not be available in all states including but not limited to DE, ID, NJ, NM, NY, or VA. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on plan selected. Optional riders are available at an additional cost. The policy has limitations and exclusions that may affect benefits payable. Refer to the policy for complete details, limitations, and exclusions. For costs and complete details of the coverage, please contact your local Aflac agent.
The content herein is provided for general informational purposes and is not provided as tax, legal, health or financial advice for any person or for any specific situation. Employers, employees and other individuals should contact their own advisers about their situations.
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