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What is mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. Although uncommon, mesothelioma is no longer considered rare. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is particulary difficult for doctors to diagnose and one that does not respond well to therapy.

The chest cavity, abdominal cavity, and the cavity around the heart are surrounded by a a layer of specialized mesothelial cells. Most other internal organs are also covered by these cells. The tissue formed by these cells is called mesothelium.

A special protective lubricating fluid that allows organs to move around is produced by the mesothelium. This protective fluid helps the lungs to move without resistance inside the chest cavity while breathing. The medical name for the mesothelium of the chest is the pleura and the medical name for the mesothelium of the abdomen is the peritoneum. The mesothelium of the "sac-like" space around the heart is called the pericardium.

A malignant (cancerous) tumor of the mesothelium is called a malignant mesothelioma. As most mesothelial tumors are cancerous, malignant mesothelioma is often simply called mesothelioma. Tumors of the mesothelium can also be benign (noncancerous) but benign mesotheliomas are much more rare.

Mesothelioma was recognized as a tumor of the pleura, peritoneum and pericardium in the late 1700's. However it was not until much later, in 1960, that this particular type of tumor was described in more detail and even more importantly, its association with asbestos exposure was recognized. The first report linking mesothelioma to asbestos exposure was written by J.C.Wagner, and described 32 cases of workers in the "Asbestos Hills" in South Africa. Since than the relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has been confirmed in studies around the world.

The incidence of mesothelioma in the United States remains very low, with 14 cases occurring per million people per year. Despite these numbers the noticed threefold increase in mesothelioma in males between 1970 and 1984, is directly associated with environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos, mostly in areas of asbestos product plants and shipbuilding facilities.

Although the disease is much more commonly seen in 60-year old men, it has been described in women and early childhood as well. The cause of the disease is not so well understood in these latter two groups, but there is some evidence of possible asbestos exposure for some of these cases as well.

Malignant mesotheliomas are divided into three main types. About 50% to 70% of mesotheliomas are the epithelioid type. This type has the best prognosis (outlook for survival). The other two types are the sarcomatoid type (7%-20%), and the mixed/biphasic type (20%-35%). Treatment options for all three types are the same.

About three-fourths of mesotheliomas start in the chest cavity. They are known as pleural mesothelioma. Another 10% to 20% begin in the abdomen. These are called peritoneal mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma, starts in the cavity around the heart, and is very rare. The covering layer of the testicles is actually an outpouching of peritoneum into the scrotum. Mesotheliomas that affect this covering of the testicles are quite rare.

Glossary of Terms

asbestos: combination of several minerals that separate into long, threadlike fibers. Because they do not burn, do not conduct heat or electricity, and are very resistant to chemicals, these minerals are often used for making fireproof materials, electrical insulation, roofing, filters, etc. benign: doing no harm, good incidence: the frequency with which an event occurs (usually in a group at risk) pericardium: a thin membrane surrounding the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels.

peritoneum: a thin membrane that covers the abdominal cavity and partially covers some of the abdominal organs.

pleura: a thin membrane that covers the lungs (visceral pleura) and lines the chest cavity (parietal pleura) malignant: harmful, dangerous (a malignant tumor is a cancer).

median: middle number in a series of numbers (for example: median survival of 10 months means that for that specific group of patients the survival varied from probably 2 months to 30 months).

mesoderm: the middle layer of cells in an embryo, from which the muscular, skeletal, vascular, connective etc. tissues develop.

mesothelioma: a tumor of the mesothelium, that can be benign (localized) or malignant (diffusely spread), and that is most commonly caused by the ingestion of asbestos particles.

mesothelium: the thin layer of mesodermal epithelial cells that forms the pleura, peritoneum, pericardium.

metastases: the spread of tumor cells from one part of the body to another unrelated part of the body by the way of the bloodstream or lymphatics.

prognosis: prediction of the probable course of the disease in an individual. Prognostic factors are factors associated with prognosis.

TNM staging: assigning a stage to the tumor based on size, local versus disseminated growth, lymph node involvement and presence or absence of distant metastases.

tumor: a mass of tissue, a growth independent of its surrounding structures and having no physiological function/ a neoplasm. A tumor can be benign or malignant.
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Malignant mesothelioma is an uncommon, but no longer rare, cancer that is difficult to diagnose and poorly responsive to therapy. Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases.

A layer of specialized cells called mesothelial cells lines the chest cavity, abdominal cavity, and the cavity around the heart. These cells also cover the outer surface of most internal organs. The tissue formed by these cells is called mesothelium.

The mesothelium helps protect the organs by producing a special lubricating fluid that allows organs to move around. For example, this fluid makes it easier for the lungs to move inside the chest during breathing. The mesothelium of the chest is called the pleura and the mesothelium of the abdomen is known as the peritoneum. The mesothelium of the pericardial cavity (the "sac-like" space around the heart) is called the pericardium.

Tumors of the mesothelium can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A malignant tumor of the mesothelium is called a malignant mesothelioma. Because most mesothelial tumors are cancerous, malignant mesothelioma is often simply called mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma was recognized as a tumor of the pleura, peritoneum and pericardium in the late 1700's. However it was not until much later, in 1960, that this particular type of tumor was described in more detail and even more importantly, its association with asbestos exposure was recognized. The first report linking mesothelioma to asbestos exposure was written by J.C.Wagner, and described 32 cases of workers in the "Asbestos Hills" in South Africa. Since then, the relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has been confirmed in studies around the world.

The incidence of mesothelioma in the United States remains very low, with 14 cases occurring per million people per year. Despite these numbers, the noticed threefold increase in mesothelioma in males between 1970 and 1984, is directly associated with environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos, mostly in areas of asbestos product plants and shipbuilding facilities.

Although the disease is much more commonly seen in 60-year-old men, it has been described in women and early childhood as well. The cause of the disease is not so well understood in these latter two groups, but there is some evidence of possible asbestos exposure for some of these cases as well.

Malignant mesothelioma is divided into three main types. About 50% to 70% of mesothelioma occurrences are the epithelioid type. This type has the best prognosis (outlook for survival). The other two types are the sarcomatoid type (7%-20%), and the mixed/biphasic type (20%-35%). Treatment options for all three types are the same.

About three-fourths of mesothelioma occurrences start in the chest cavity and is known as pleural mesothelioma. Another 10% to 20% begin in the abdomen and is called peritoneal mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma, starting in the cavity around the heart, is very rare. The covering layer of the testicles is actually an outpouching of peritoneum into the scrotum. Mesothelioma that affects this covering of the testicles is quite rare.
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What Is a Structured Settlement?
Sometimes when a plaintiff settles a case for a large sum of money, the defendant, the plaintiff's attorney, or a financial planner consulted in association with the settlement, will propose paying the settlement in installments over time rather than in a single lump sum. When a settlement is paid in this manner it is called a "structured settlement". Often the structured settlement will be created through the purchase of one or more annuities, which guarantee the future payments.

A structured settlement can provide for payment in pretty much any schedule the parties choose. For example, the settlement may be paid in annual installments over a number of years, or it may be paid in periodic lump sums every few years.

Benefits of a Structured Settlement
One significant advantage of a structured settlement is tax avoidance. With appropriate set-up, a structured settlement may significantly reduce the plaintiff's tax obligations as a result of the settlement, and may in some cases be tax-free.

A structured settlement can protect a plaintiff from having settlement funds dissipated, when they are necessary to pay for future care or needs. Sometimes a structured settlement can help protect a plaintiff from himself - some people simply aren't good with money, or can't say no to relatives who want to "share the wealth", and even a large settlement can be rapidly exhausted. Minors may benefit from a structured settlement as well, such as a settlement which provides for certain costs during their youth, an additional disbursement to pay for college or other educational expenses, and then one or more disbursements in adulthood. An injured person who has long-term special needs may benefit from having periodic lump sums with which to purchase medical equipment or modified vehicles.

In some situations, it will be better for a severely disabled plaintiff to set up a special needs trust, rather than entering into a lump sum or structured settlement. Any plaintiff who is receiving, or expects to receive, Medicaid or other public assistance, or the guardian or conservator entering into a settlement on behalf of a disabled ward, should consult with a disabilities financial planner about their situation before choosing any particular settlement option or structure.

Potential Disadvantages of Structured Settlements
Some people who enter into structured settlements feel trapped by the periodic payments. They may wish to purchase a new home, or other expensive item, yet be unable to muster the resources because they can't borrow against future payments under their settlement.

Some people will do better by accepting a lump sum settlement, and investing it themselves. Many standard investments will give a greater long-term return than the annuities used in structured settlements.

Selling a Structured Settlement
If you have a structured settlement, you may have been approached by a company interested in purchasing your settlement, or may be curious about selling your settlement in return for a lump sum buyout. About two thirds of states have enacted laws which restict the sale of structured settlements, and tax-free structured settlements are also subject to federal restrictions on their sale to a third party. Also, some insurance companies will not assign or transfer annuities to third parties, to discourage the sale of structured settlements. As a consequence, depending upon where you live and the terms of your annuities, it may not be possible for you to sell your settlement.

Keep in mind that companies which buy structured settlements intend to profit from their purchase, and sometimes their offers may seem quite low. You may benefit from approaching more than one company in relation to the sale of your settlement, to make sure that you obtain the highest payoff. You also want to be sure that the company which wants to buy your settlement is established, well-funded, and reputable - you don't want a fly-by-night outfit to obtain the rights to your annuities but to disappear or go bankrupt before paying you the buyout money. You may have to go to court to get a judge to approve the buyout. It is usually a good idea to consult with a lawyer before entering into an agreement to sell your settlement.

Special Considerations
Any person entering into a structured settlement should be on guard for potential exploitation in relation to the settlement:

Excessive Commissions -
Annuities can be highly profitable for insurance companies, and they often carry very large commissions. It is important to ensure that the commissions charged in setting up a structured settlement don't consume an inappropriate percentage of its principal.

Overstated Value - Sometimes, after negotiating a particular settlement figure, the defense will overstate the value of a structured settlement. As a result the plaintiff, in accepting the settlement, in fact obtains a significantly lower dollar value than was agreed upon. Some defendants have nominally paid the full amount of the settlement, knowing that they would later obtain significant rebates from the annuity companies they used. Plaintiffs should consider compariing the fees and commissions charged for similar settlement packages by a variety of insurance companies, to make sure that they are in fact getting full value. A plaintiff may wish to make it a condition of the settlement that the defendant will actually pay the full value of the settlement in setting up the structured settlement, and that any rebates received by the defendant for annuities included in the settlement be payable to the plaintiff.

Self-Dealing - There have been cases where the plaintiff's lawyer is also in the insurance business, and sets up a structured settlement on behalf of a client without disclosing that the attorney is purchasing the annuities from his own business, or is pocketing a large commission on the annuities. Similarly, there have been situations where the plaintiff's attorney has referred the client to a particular financial planner to set up a structured settlement, without disclosing that the financial planner will be paying the attorney a referral fee in relation to the client's account. Make sure that you know what financial interest, if any, your lawyer has in relation to any financial services sold or recommended by the lawyer.

Life Expectancy - It is unfortunate, but many people who receive large personal injury or workers' compensation settlements will have a shortened life expectancy as a result of their injuries. It is important to consider life expectancy in association with any structured settlement, and to consider whether it is appropriate to enter into an annuity where payments will cease upon death. Sometimes it will make sense to insist upon an annuity that pays a minimum number of payments, or one that will pay a balance into the plaintiff's estate, such that the value of the settlement is not lost to an insurance company upon the plaintiff's untimely death.

Using Multiple Insurance Companies - For larger settlements, it often makes sense to purchase annuities for a structured settlement from several different companies, dividing the settlement between those companies. This can provide you with protection in the event that a company that issued annuities for your settlement package goes into bankruptcy - even in the event that one of the companies defaults in part or in full on your settlement payments, you would still receive full payment from the other companies.
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1-What is the mesothelium?

The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.

The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The mesothelial tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.

2-What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.

3-How common is mesothelioma?
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.

4-What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.

Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung.

5-Who is at increased risk for developing mesothelioma?
Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.

The risk of asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma. On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases.

There is some evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibers, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
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Getting yourself life insurance brings in many advantages. However, some of us are confused because of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the life insurance coverage and not understanding what life insurance is all about. Let us see what are these myths and misconceptions that are holding you back from getting life insurance.

If I am staying at home and not working there is no need for me to get life insurance. It is not true because it is not your work that you are insuring; it is your health which you are insuring. Would it not better if your loved ones were not hard pressed for money after you have gone?

I do not need life insurance when I am young. It is not that you will remain young through out your life. As you grow old you may not be that healthy, you may fall prey to disease and you may meet with an accident. It is worthwhile getting yourself insured when you are young. When you are young you can get cheaper life insurance than at an older age by paying less premium and you may be saving 30% of the total expenses.

There must be some catch in cheap life insurance? Every one of us has a feeling if the life insurance premiums are low there must be some hidden catch in it. The fact is that there is no catch at all. The premium for life insurance policies depends upon the duration of insurance period, your age, your health and the premium remains the same throughout the coverage of insurance.

Do I need Life Insurance When I have no mortgage liability and my children are independently supporting themselves? Remember, it is not for the children and mortgage that you have to worry now. Your spouse needs the life insurance money if she outlives you.

I do not need life insurance because I already have a policy at my work place. Sure, you are covered by the insurance plan at your workplace but it is not sufficient to provide the protection you and your spouse need. This type of insurance abruptly stops on your retirement or when you quit the job.

Which particular type of Life Insurance is good for me? There is no need to panic on this issue. Complete information on different options for life insurance plans is available on the internet. You can buy life insurance on the internet also.

Simple rule is that get yourself insured when you are young, when you get married and buy a house. These myths and misconceptions are just figment of someone's imagination. Life Insurance provides you customized coverage for your family.
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Understanding the ins and outs of term life insurance rates can often be confusing and time consuming to understand. There are multiple things that can affect the rates and terms of your policy. Unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking, drinking and being overweight are all considered when trying to formulate a quote for someone who is looking for life insurance. These are not the only unhealthy habits that are taken into account, however. There are other things that can be found through medical exams or the questionnaire that can help term life insurance companies determine what the rate you receive should

Mental Health Affects Term Life Insurance Rates

If you are on medication for mental health issues, such as antidepressants, it can unfortunately lead to higher rates. As morbid and unnerving as it may sound, life insurance companies consider the risk of suicide when giving out term life insurance rates. Therefore, if someone has a mental health issue, the company is going to take notice. Many people do not realize that mental health can play an important aspect on the rates that they receive.

Generally, however, this is only considered if it is something that is long term. There are people who take antidepressants or other medication for mental health, after a particularly traumatizing event. This stay with medication usually lasts for a few months. Because this was only a one-time event, and the person is not considered a long-term risk as far as depression goes, companies will generally not increase your term life insurance rates. If it has been considered, and assumed, that the person taking mental health medication is at risk, premiums may rise.Foreign Travel and Term Life Insurance Rates

For those who love to travel, you may notice higher premiums with regards to your term life insurance rates. People who travel often to foreign places are considered a greater risk. If someone is traveling across the country, that isn't considered nearly as much of a risk as someone who is traveling to other countries. The insurance company will know this information from your questionnaire.

Personal Hobbies and Term Life Insurance Rates

It seems that personal hobbies are something that you find on personal ads and websites. Most people would not think that questions on personal hobbies are something that they would find on a life insurance questionnaire. Insurance companies, however, want to know as much as they can about your lifestyle. There are many hobbies that could be considered dangerous. Extreme sports and other major hobbies, like flying small planes and mountain climbing, are considered dangerous enough to potentially cause a rise in term life insurance rates. Many insurance companies do not waver on this idea. Extreme sports are known to be more dangerous and therefore, can be a health issue. As with other personal health issues, insurance companies take them seriously.

It's always the questionnaire that catches things such as mental issues, travel and personal hobbies. When it comes to term life insurance rates, insurance companies are making sure that they catch any potential hazards to their client's health. The companies attempt to raise the prices in order to match how long they believe you will be paying into the system. Because things like extreme sports and mental disorders can cause problems, these are seen as potential red flags to life insurance companies.
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I admit it. I'm a Letterman fan. When Johnny Carson retired from the late night scene, and Letterman and Leno moved to late night center stage, I channel surfed right over to Dave. And, I've been there ever since. I usually fade to black somewhere between the monologue and "Will it Float?" But, when I do manage to stay awake a little longer I really enjoy Dave's Top Ten. So, I've been working on my own Top Ten. My Top Ten isn't funny. But they could just save you a bunch of money if you'll take them to heart. These are the Top Ten mistakes I see consumers make every day when considering a life insurance purchase.

Blunder #1 – Taking the cheapest quote at face value…

There is no way to get quality low-cost life insurance, appropriate for your needs, without giving it some serious thought and going through the underwriting process. Just because some agent on the other side of the country emails you a cheap quote does not mean that you will get the quoted premium. These quotes are always based on "best case" underwriting. Less than 10% of applicants qualify for the preferred best underwriting classification these quotes are based on.

Blunder #2 – Asking for a quote from multiple web sites...

A computer generated quote can be a good starting point to your search for cost effective life insurance. And, if you are totally honest about your physical condition, medical history, and hobbies, you may get a pretty good idea of what your premium will end up being. But, if you choose to use one of the dozens of "free quote" services, plan on getting 5 or more phone calls from insurance agents. These services make their money by selling leads. And, you become a lead by keying in your information. Leads generally cost between $10 and $20, whether or not you buy anything. And, the lead companies often sell your information to 5 or more agents. I've known clients who have asked for quotes from 2 or 3 sites and gotten 15 or more phone calls.

Blunder #3 – Buying permanent insurance when term is more appropriate…

The fact is that insurance agents can usually make more money by selling you a whole life or universal life product than a simple term policy. "If" these products are the right products for your needs – ok. But, often they simply are a bad fit. It all depends on why you are buying life insurance and how long you expect to need it. An insurance agent's job is to identify the right insurance product, and get you the best possible value. If you suspect that your agent is more interested in making money than helping you, fire him or her. And, hire someone you can trust. One more thing, if some slick operator does manage to twist your arm. You always have 10 days, after you receive the policy, to cancel for any reason. The 10 day "free look" is the law.

Blunder #4 – Working with a captive agent…

Competition drives down prices. It's a fact. But, many large insurance companies hire "captive" agents. These agents can only sell their employer's products. So, when you ask a captive agent to give you a quote you get a quote from their company. Independent agents don't work for the insurance company. Their job is to help you find the best possible carrier and product for your need – period. If you have a captive agent you really like, you owe it to yourself to get a quote from an independent agent as well.

Blunder #5 – Procrastination…

Nothing good can come from delaying a life insurance purchase. If you develop an illness, your premium could go through the roof. Or, worse yet, you could simply be declined for insurance altogether.

Blunder #6 – Buying life insurance at work….

By all means take the life insurance your employer offers as a free benefit. Free is the absolute best deal you can get. But, if you are in good health, the life insurance you buy through your employer is almost certainly one of the most expensive purchases you will make. So, again, it depends. One thing for certain, you won't get level term from work. So, your premium will likely go up every year.

Blunder #7 – Buying the options….

Riders, like Return of Premium rider (ROP), are very popular with insurance companies and with agents alike. These "options" inflate premiums and commissions significantly. But, usually, they just don't make good financial sense. The pitch may be compelling. But, take time to think it through before you check the riders boxes. And, definitely read the small print when your policy arrives. Remember, the 10-day free look is the law. It's your right to return the policy within ten days of receipt even if you just don't like the color of the paper it's printed on.

Blunder #8 – Buying insurance just based on ratings…

It's important to consider the AM Best (www.ambest.com) and/or Standard and Poors (S&P) ratings for any insurance company from which you are considering purchasing a policy. Financial ratings are an measure of the viability of the firm. And, you don't want to buy from a "here today gone tomorrow" carrier. But, ratings are not the whole story. Some companies just plain have poor service. This is one more area that a good agent can help you sort out.

Blunder #9 – Sticking with an old policy…

The insurance business is highly competitive, and insurance companies are constantly adjusting their rates. It's not at all uncommon to find that you can replace an existing policy and save money on your premium. It pays to shop around. Maybe your current carrier is the company you shouldn't keep.

Blunder #10 – Failure to exercise patience...

Let's say you found an agent you like, and he or she helped you wade through the carriers and their offerings. You worked out the right amount of coverage, the right kind of insurance, and you have a pretty good idea where the underwriter will rate you. You completed an application. The paramedic showed up at your office, took a sample, weighed you and got the answer to a bunch of questions. The application is "pending."

A couple of weeks go by and you hear nothing. This is the point where you need to exercise maximum patience. From here the process typically takes four to eight weeks. If the process drags on call your agent. If it takes longer than eight weeks, you may want to move your application to a different carrier. There's no excuse for poor service.
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Do you have dependents at the time that you apply for insurance protection?
If you have children who will need financial care should something happen to you, you will need to consider their financial needs. Things such as school funding and general financial concerns should be considered, and a good insurance policy should cover these things at a minimum.

How much do you owe?
When considering life insurance, you should think about just how much debt you will be leaving behind. If you don't have enough life insurance coverage, that debt could be left for your family to pay. Can you afford that?

What should a life insurance policy cover?
Typically, a good life insurance policy should leave your dependents with enough money to pay for your funeral expenses, any debt that you should leave behind, as well as whatever your mortgage balance would be. That way, your policy would pay out your existing mortgage, and should leave your family with money to live on, especially if you're the breadwinner of the household.

Who will be the beneficiary of this policy?
The beneficiary is the person to whom the money will go once the policy is paid out. It is the person whose name will go on the "pay to the order of" line on the insurance company check. For example, because my children are underage, I made my mother the beneficiary of my insurance policy. Because she lives with my children and I, should something happen to me, my children will be financially taken care of, and they won't have to leave their home.

What kind of life insurance protection do you need?
Do you need a temporary insurance for something like mortgage coverage, or in cases where you're lucky enough to have your home already paid for, you might merely want enough coverage to keep your family from having to pay things like your debts, funeral expenses out of their own pockets. In this case, you might consider a more permanent insurance policy.

How old are you at the time that you apply for the policy?
The younger you are when you make the decision to get life insurance, the better off you'll be both in terms of the range of policies that are available to you, and the choice of premium options.

If you're older, life insurance will either be more difficult for you to get, or your premiums (monthly payments) will be sky high. So make the decision as early as you can.

Mortgage coverage
Consider the length of your mortgage when getting life insurance to cover that particular investment. If your mortgage term is say, 25 years, then common sense would say that you should probably get a term policy to cover that expense for it's duration. Many people over insure, getting a permanent policy to cover a 25 year mortgage. They will be paying those insurance premiums long after it is necessary.

I have a friend who is in her mid 30's, has no children, and no real family to speak of. She has minimum insurance through her job, but was recently concerned as to whether or not she should get more life insurance.

This is a case in which additional life insurance is not necessary. My friend is not married, has no children, and has adequate coverage for what she does have, through her work. Why spend the extra money for additional life insurance? Who was she planning to leave that money to? I told her not to bother.

As I said before, discussions about life insurance are most often extremely boring, but when you think about the possibilities, it's not boring at all.

You never know...

Thanks for reading.
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If you are considering obtaining a life insurance policy you will have many questions that need to be answered. There are lots of different life insurance options to choose from and once you've chosen the type of insurance you want you also have to determine how much life insurance you need.

The question of how much life insurance do I need is not an easy one to answer and it's certainly not one that I can answer for you in an article on the Internet. What I can do with this article however, is to give you some things you can think about and some general guidelines to help you determine what would be best for you and your family.

There are many factors that will affect the amount of coverage that you need. Are you healthy? Or do you have pre-existing medical conditions that put you at substantial risk? How many people are depending on you to pay the bills? You'll need to have enough money to cover funeral expenses and estate taxes. You may want to have enough insurance to pay off your mortgage balance or credit card bills. If you have young children you may want to keep enough coverage to pay for their college education.

You'll need to consider your current living expenses minus your surviving relatives income so that you can have enough insurance to cover your families living expenses. You'll also have to estimate the number of years of income you will need. For example if your kids are in high school they will be getting jobs and moving out so you won't need as much as if your children are still in diapers.You also need to consider various tax issues in your estate planning.

As you can see, there is a great deal to think about when trying to determine the right amount of life insurance. It would be best to consult with a competent financial professional to help you figure out exactly how much life insurance you need. If you still want to get an idea on your own of how much life insurance you need before consulting with the professional there are many websites that have life insurance estimation calculators. Do a google search for life insurance calculators and you'll find plenty of these websites. Once you get on the site you simply fill in the boxes with the information that they ask for and when you get to the end they give you an estimate with a dollar amount telling you how much coverage you should have.
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The American Cancer Society estimates doctors will diagnose over 1.4 million new cases of cancer in the U.S. in 2007, with more than 559,650 cancer-related deaths. If you are among the majority of cancer patients and survive for at least five years following your diagnosis, you may face another fight: buying life insurance.

Buying life insurance for cancer patients is challenging, but not necessarily impossible. Your chances for securing a policy depend greatly on the type, stage and grade of the cancer, and even on the treatment plan. There is a relationship between the rate you'll receive and the curability of your cancer. Certain types of skin cancer, for example, are considered very low risk by life insurance companies and a skin cancer history may not even impact premiums.

Applicants with common and treatable forms of breast and prostate cancer may be able to get a "standard" rating under ideal circumstances. But patients with a history of leukemia or colon cancer may fall into a "substandard" or "high substandard" rating at best, or receive declines. Anyone with cancer that has metastasized likely won't be able to obtain a policy.

Dr. Charles Levy, senior vice president and chief medical director of AIG American General Domestic Life Insurance Cos., says, "We're better and better able to differentiate the risks of individual cancers." Life insurers like AIG American General have sophisticated tables to determine premiums, where they can factor in cancer types and treatments. The end result is better premiums because applicants aren't lumped together as an "average."

Most insurers will not offer a policy to someone who is still undergoing treatment for cancer. Depending on your type of cancer, the life insurer may also want to add a surcharge, also called a temporary flat extra. For example, AIG American General sometimes charges temporary flat extras for two to five years, depending on the applicant's cancer and treatment. The good news is that although these extra premiums can be expensive, they will automatically disappear after a set period of time.

Cancer insurance risk specialists

While a dedicated life insurance agent will search cancer insurance companies to find insurers that will sell you a life insurance policy, in some cases you may be better off seeking out a broker who specializes in finding life insurance for people who have a history of cancer.

These brokers will know the specific questions underwriters will want answered when considering your application. Many brokers have developed relationships with several insurers, so they know which companies offer the best-priced life insurance policies for cancer survivors. Some brokers have experts who specialize in gathering your medical records and organizing them.

By directing your application to life insurers that will view your application most favorably, these brokers will help you find the most accurate price quotes and the lowest premiums for life insurance. Always check the financial strength of the insurer before you buy any policy and be sure that the agent or broker you choose is licensed in your state.

Life insurance strategies for cancer survivors

If you are a healthy cancer survivor, life insurance is even more feasible. There are things you can do to ensure you're getting the best premium offers possible for your situation.

1. Gather all possible medical records before you apply, from the first pathology report to medical records to treatment records. That ensures medical underwriters have the most complete picture of you, your health, and your cancer history. Having all those records before you apply for cancer insurance will reduce delays in your application process, because your life insurer is going to request them and will wait for them. The information you provide can garner you better premiums in the end: The less life insurer underwriters knows about you, the more likely they are to have to assume you are the highest risk and offer you high premiums accordingly. According to Levy, "If it's fuzzy, we're more likely to err on the side of conservatism."

2. Make sure you have complied with your doctor's treatment plans. For example, says Levy, if your doctor asked to see you back in one year and you haven't been back in four years, get to your doctor for your check-up before you apply for life insurance. Your life insurer is not going to offer you a policy without before seeing the results of that check-up. Similarly, if you've had breast cancer and you're due for a mammogram in December and you apply for cancer insurance in October, your life insurer will likely wait for the results of your next mammogram.

3. Get prices from several companies. Policy costs can vary a great deal among companies.

4. See if you can get group life insurance through a professional, fraternal, membership, or political organization to which you belong.

5. Consider a "graded" policy (one with limited benefits) if you cannot get full death benefits. In the first few years of a graded policy, the company pays only the premiums and part of the face value if the insured person dies of a condition, such as cancer, that existed before the policy took effect. If the insured person dies after the specified grading-in period, the company will pay the full face amount of the policy.

If your cancer has been successfully treated, and you are otherwise in good health, you can likely obtain a cancer life insurance policy. If you can show that you are healthy and your treatments have gone well, several insurers may compete for your business.
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Backpain Facts to Show Its Seriousness
Over 24 Billion Dollars Are Spent per Year in The United States Alone for Backpain Treatments...

Some backpain facts have been shocking the world. Basically, backpain is a problem that can have many causes and can leave you feeling terrible. In this page, we'll relay some facts about back pain to you so that you can better understand the problem and how you can treat it.
First of backpain facts is that back pain is a problem that affects between fifty and eighty percent of all Americans at some point in their lives. Over 24 billion dollars are spent per year in the United States alone for back pain treatments, and that isn't even considering the amount of lost work time the problem causes.

The most common cause of back pain is a strained muscle or ligament in the back. Since the muscles of the back need to support the weight of the upper body while still being flexible enough to allow you to move properly, it's quite easy for them to become strained. This type of back pain problem can be resolved by simply resting and stretching. Back muscle strains generally heal over a period of two to six weeks.

  • Another problem that people with back pain may be experiencing is known as a herniated disc.
  • These occur when the discs that are located between the vertebrae that make up your spine become ruptured, causing some of the internal disc to squeeze out of its normal spot.
  • There are many reasons that you may experience back pain, this is another interesting part of backpain facts. Lots of cases are preventable and occur due to poor lifestyle choices. Poor posture, high levels of stress, not sleeping enough and being overweight can cause a back condition to develop.
  • More of backpain facts is that if you are experiencing back pain that is lasting longer than a few days, or if the pain is so intense that it wakes you up at night, it's important to visit a doctor to determine the cause. Also, if you're experiencing chills, a fever, or sweating, you should speak to a doctor in order to ensure that you don't have an infection.
  • While the many different causes of back pain need different types of treatments in order to heal the problem, a lot of the time use of heat and cold can be a sufficient remedy.
  • There are thirty three bones located in the back, with discs located between them in order to allow for cushioning.
  • Statistics have shown that approximately one out of ten cases of back pain are serious enough to merit treatments. Approximately one out of one hundred cases of back pain will result in a need for surgery to remedy the problem.
  • There are three classifications of back pain: acute back pain, which lasts six weeks or less, sub-acute back pain which lasts between six and twelve weeks, and chronic back pain which occurs for more than twelve weeks.
By this backpain information page now, hopefully, we've cleared up some of the questions that you have regarding back pain. The more that you know about an affliction, the better suited you'll be when it comes to dealing with it. If you're experiencing persistent back pain, be sure to visit your doctor.
More Backpain Facts Resources.........
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Self Detectable Asthma Risk Factors
Unlike Some Other Diseases, Initial Asthma Symptoms are Self Detectable...

Asthma risk factors actually can be self detectable. For instance, as someone who has had cough variant asthma for several months without realizing it, this should be an interesting question, because so many of us suffer from asthma without ever realizing that those symptoms we have been exhibiting were classic symptoms of a disease that is exploding in the 21st century.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects over twenty million people in the USA alone.
Frightening statistics show it accounts for approximately 14 missed school days for children and 14.5 million missed days at work for adults. The cost alone in this comes to a staggering amount of millions, probably billions of dollars.
How many of you have had a cough for several weeks or months that you just can't shift no matter how much medication you take. Sometimes it's not so bad, but other times you cough so hard you get double vision, (Have you seen your doctor about it).
How many of you start panting after walking or running for just a short distance, you may assume you're just unfit, but have you considered the possibility you may have exercise induced asthma.
How many of you go to bed at night and can hear a "ruckling" or wheeze in your chest, you may assume it's because you have a cold or it's because you've put on some weight, Have you considered the possibility it may be asthma?
Cause symptoms of asthma can include a cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath in some unique exhibitions.
The followings are some things to consider as asthma risk factors as you found that you are facing the above symptoms. Ask yourself several questions:
  • Is there a family history of asthma (it can be hereditary)
  • Do you suffer from any allergens such as pollen or pets
  • Do you wheeze if you have a cold, (Do you seem to have a constant cold)
  • Do you wheeze if you exercise
  • Are you woken by your cough at night
  • Do you have to take sick leave from work or school because of your symptoms
If you do have any of the symptoms and you found yourself as one with asthma risk factors listed above it's well worth being checked out by your doctor, if only to put your mind at rest.
One last thing to remember is Asthma in children can be particularly nasty, and it's important it is recognized and treated as soon as possible. Children whose asthma is poorly controlled can do very poorly in school and may have a history of depression, and other problems which can be directly linked to their asthma.
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An Overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis
...And Some Controversial Theory

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that affects the joints of the body, and that can profoundly affect an individual's ability to function at normal level. The effects of this bone problem can be traced to inflammation caused by the body's normal response to infections, injury, wounds, or foreign objects in the body.

Those who suffer from this bone diesease are commonly affected by feelings of pain, joint stiffness, swelling, and other symptoms. Moreover, many patients may suffer from complications associated with arthritis, as the inflammation associated with it can affect patient's internal organs and other systems of the body. Treatment generally consists of controlling inflammation to prevent damage to joints or tissues.

What separates rheumatoid from other forms of arthritis? It is unique because it is classified as an autoimmune disease. In other words, the bodies own immune system is responsible for attacking and damaging its own cells and tissues that it normally protects.

This happens when an individual's immune system produces unique chemicals and cells that are released into the blood stream. These cells then begin to attack body tissues, many times causing irreversible damage. When the body's tissues are attacked, the body responds by producing inflammation and abnormal growth in the synovium.

The synovium is the special membrane that lines each joint. The process whereby the synovium becomes inflamed is referred to as synovitis. Synovitius is one of the primary distinguishing features of rheumatoid-arthritis. Synovitis is responsible for many of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

When synovitis continues to expand around the joint, it can threaten the integrity of the surrounding tissues, joint, and cartilage. Ligaments, nerves, tendons, and blood vessels may all be adversely affected.

The joints that are most commonly affected by rheumatoid- arthritis include some of the body's smaller joints, including those of the writs, hands, feet, ankles, knees, and elbows. As can be imagined, rheumatoid-arthritis sufferers experience a variety of symptoms that can lead to severe discomfort and even debilitating.

Normal, routine activities such as walking, washing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, working, and even using the restroom can become difficult to achieve. As the condition worsens, many individuals with rheumatoid-arthritis find that they are no longer to work. Many times, this occurs as early as ten years after the initial diagnosis.

Perhaps not surprisingly, people diagnosed with rheumatoid-arthritis experience a shorter life expectancy than the general public. Of course, many people with rheumatoid-arthritis live long lives, since the disease is not inherently fatal. However, severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis can be the cause for several life-threatening diseases. Since rheumatoid-arthritis is essentially an autoimmune disease, many vital tissues or organs can be affected throughout the course of the disease.

Rheumatoid-arthritis is a disease of the whole body. It is systematic, meaning that it can affect not just the joints, but other parts of the body as well. This can make rheumatoid arthritis difficult to treat. Fortunately, new treatments are being developed that can help rheumatoid-arthritis sufferers cope on a day-to-day basis.

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When it comes out to causes of alzheimers disease, in fact, throughout the years, various studies have been carried out in a bid to find it out, and some of them are discussed below:

  • In old age, patients suffer from many diseases because the immune system ceases to be as efficient as it once was. A properly functioning immune system is one which can recognise and kill alien viruses, cells and bacteria.
  • To date there appears to be some evidence that Alzheimers may result from having some sort of immune system malfunction which then results in creating the protein which is responsible for destroying the brain tissues and cells of those afflicted with this condition.
  • One of the more controversial theories about causes of alzheimers disease is that eating meat could result in Alzheimers Disease. This has been rejected by the vast majority of doctors and researchers on the basis that the disease does not afflict only meat eaters.
  • Another controversial theory is that there is a link between Aluminium and Alzheimer. This theory came about due to many post mortem findings excessive amounts of aluminium in the brain. However, some studies have shown that aluminium has a propensity to collect in the brains of older people - regardless of whether or not they go on to develop Alzheimers disease.
  • Further, nearly all of us are exposed to this metal because there are vast quantities of it in nature. But studies are unable to show why this would cause a problem in some people's' brains.
Alzheimers disease tends to affect mainly people who are older, usually over 60 years of age. However, there have been rare cases where it can affect people decades earlier, in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

There do not appear to be any warning signs which would tell the sufferer or his friends and family, that Alzheimers disease is about to strike. Alzheimers can descend without warning and may deteriorate rapidly or slowly - the sufferer has no control over this.

One of the sad facts about Alzheimers is that it causes memory loss which is permanent - denying its victim their cache of memories from an earlier life. In fact, there are many similar types of dementias which can afflict people in their old age - and often some of these can be mistaken for Alzheimers.

As such it is vitally important to get a proper diagnosis and to pin down the exact problem. For example, depression and Alzheimer's may be indistinguishable in a patient. Depression does not tend to be long term whereas Alzheimers is.

The elderly can mistakenly be diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimers when really; the real cause of their problem is depression. If this error is made then the patient will not receive the correct treatment.

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