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From Benign to Malignant: The Arrival of Pituitary Neuroendocrine Tumors (PitNETs)

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    March 2024

    The classification of diseases constantly changes, usually explained by more accurate diagnostic techniques or better understanding of disease behavior and outcomes. An example of this is the recent reclassification of pituitary adenomas as ‘pituitary neuroendocrine tumors’ (PitNets).

    In this article, recently published in the Journal of Insurance Medicine, Munich Re’s Dr. Tim Meagher discusses this change. He also discusses the controversial decision to consider all PitNets as malignant. Critical illness policies, which currently provide coverage of pituitary adenomas under the ‘Benign Brain Tumor’ provision, must now be modified to reflect this new taxonomy. This change also prompts questions about the use of the words ‘benign’ and ‘tumor’ in critical illness policies. Dr. Meagher suggests that definitions should be in lockstep with medical progress and use terminology that is as unambiguous as possible in order to minimize contentious claims.