Benign tumors of the brain

Bad…just a couple of weeks ago I went to a funeral… in Russian culture people are not invited to funerals – people come to the funeral out of  own wish…out of respect to the deceased, respect to the family of the deceased, people see it as the final tribute. It was hard to see the young widow in tears- she is left with the kid, mortgage to pay and prospects of new life without her dear husband. It was hard to see the mother of the deceased- parents are not meant to outlive their kids – no parent deserves to see the kid go… It was just hard to see it all – funerals are tough, funerals are in fact bad news. The funeral made me think about what could be different – what would happen to the family if the man was insured – would he be able to afford his treatment somewhere in Japan or in Germany or even in the USA – the countries where money can buy the best, the latest, the new…this article is about AMP insurance most importantly about trauma insurance and about what it covers.

Benign tumors of the brain and trauma insurance – is it covered?

Benign tumors of the brain are lumps of brain cells that divide uncontrollably.  They grow slowly and do not invade other areas of the brain.  Most of the time, they are detected when they are large enough to cause symptoms. They are sometimes discovered when a CT scan of the brain is done for some other reason. What is important to understand here is that if you do not have health insurance in New Zealand you would have to be on the waiting list before you get all the checks done- please think again it means that the time is being lost -most of the time it means -time when you had to act quickly.

Good… it is good if you can afford all sorts of insurance policies including first of all health insurance followed by Trauma Insurance linked to your Life insurance. I did not ask was the guy insured or not – I hope he was, I hope his wife has enough money to pay the mortgage off and look after their 2 years old boy.

The ugly part comes if he was not insured…. imagine the struggle she would have to go through… I mean it is hard to pay mortgage payments even with two working partners in the family, it is not easy financially to agree to all the things the boy wants to have…

AMP Insurance policy includes benign tumor as of the listed medical conditions which triggers trauma insurance pay out.

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Benign brain tumors are derived from different structures of the brain.  Meningioma comes from the thin covering of the brain called meninges. The craniopharyngioma is a cystic tumor that originates from the cells of the developing brain called the nasopharynx while the pituitary adenoma is a tumor composed of pituitary cells. An acoustic neuroma comes from the nerve. Tumors in the brain can happen spontaneously with no clear reason.  In some cases, genetics may play a role in the development of brain tumors.  Brain tumors can also be part of syndromes or constellation of diseases.  Hereditary syndromes with a benign pituitary syndrome include the Carney syndrome and Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type I. Environmental factors like radiation exposure can also trigger a development of a tumor in the brain. Benign brain tumors can become problematic once they start to grow and compress their surrounding structures.  The manifestations of these tumors depend on what area they impinge.  Headache can be the most common and recurring symptom especially if the tumor grows large enough to block the flow of fluid in the brain. Seizures can happen when the temporal lobe is affected while behavioral changes can be seen when the tumor grows in the frontal lobe of the brain.  If the optic tract is compressed, blurring leading to loss of vision can happen.

A special kind of benign tumor in the pituitary gland can cause excess hormone secretion that can cause other changes in the body.  A tumor that produces excessive amounts of growth hormone, for example, can manifest as enlargement of the hands and feet with facial feature coarsening in adults. These tumors are diagnosed with cranial C.T. scan or cranial MRI. If the patient has no symptoms and the tumor is relatively small, it can be observed over time with repeated imaging of the brain. If the tumor is symptomatic, surgery has to be done to remove it.  The goal of treatment is to surgically remove the entire tumor to relieve its pressure effect without damaging the normal areas of the brain.  The approach of surgery depends on the size and location of the tumor.  Large tumors located near the skull can be removed by doing craniotomy.  In this technique, an opening is made in the skull to gain access to the tumor.  Tumors located in the pituitary gland can be removed by doing transphenoidal sinus surgery.  This is a delicate procedure that allows the surgeon to remove the tumor by making an opening in the base of the skull through the sphenoid sinus.  If there is incomplete removal of the tumor, radiation therapy can help destroy the remaining tumor cells. Stereotactic radiosurgery is able to focus intense beam of radiation on the tumor with limited effect on the neighboring normal brain tissue.  After the surgery, surveillance has to be done by repeating brain imaging to make sure that the tumor will not recur.

AMP Trauma Insurance policy states the following:

AMP insurance will pay if the person insured  has a non – cancerous tumour in the brain or spinal cord which is histologically described and which

  • produces neurological damage and functional impairment which an appropriate consultant medical specialist considers is likely to be permanent; or
  • requires surgery for its removal.

AMP Insurance will not cover any of the following:

  1. Cysts, granulomas and cerebral abscesses;
  2. Malformations in, or of, the arteries or veins of the brain;
  3. Haematomas; or
  4. Tumours in the pituitary gland unless it is sufficiently large that:
    • it requires open craniotomy to remove it; and/or
    • b) in the opinion of an appropriate consultant medical specialist, there is significant and permanent neurological damage such as visual field defects.

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Feature image – Roads of life. Photo courtesy of Jocey K(CC ShareALike)