In this article, we want to take a moment discuss what process of applying for life insurance will look like after you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
We hope to answer…
Many of the common questions applicants will have such as:
- Will I be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after I’ve been diagnosed with cancer?
- What “rate” can I expect to get?
- How soon will I be able to apply for coverage?
As well as provide you with some valuable insight on what you should be looking for from an agent/agency which will provide you with the greatest opportunity for success. So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it.
Now before we actually…
Begin our discussion on what types of life insurance policies may or may not be available to someone that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s important that we first gain an understanding of what prostate cancer is and how it will differ from a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia.
So, first thing’s first…
What is the prostate gland?
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system.
Is to provide the liquid that helps sperm move through the urethra and out of the body for the sake of reproduction.
The tricky parts is that…
When someone suffers from prostate cancer, the most common symptom will be for the prostate itself to become enlarged.
The problem is…
That “prostate enlargement” is also generally considered a normal part of aging! So, do you suffer from an enlarged prostate or do you suffer from prostate cancer? This will be one of the first things that we want to look at as is why we should define a few terms before we get too far ahead of ourselves.
Terms and definitions.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
As we just stated, unlike prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia is generally considered a normal part of aging for men. BPH is not cancer, and while it can become “troublesome” for those suffering from it, in general, most individuals will not suffer from any “serious” consequences as a result of developing BPH.
This is why, individuals who have been diagnosed with BPH can and often will be able to qualify for Preferred and Preferred Plus rates when applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
For more information about applying for life insurance with benign prostatic hyperplasia, we would recommend that you check out our article: Prostate (Enlarged) and Life Insurance.
Prostate cancer on the other hand is cancer. It is cancer of the prostate and is the most common “type” of cancer affecting men other than skin cancer.
The good news…
Is that prostate cancers tend to develop and grow Very slowly which will allow those suffering from prostate cancer a “somewhat” significant amount of time to have it diagnosed before it becomes very large and more difficult to treat.
The bad part…
Is that because prostate cancer generally won’t present the patient with any symptoms during its early stage, unless you are getting routinely screened for prostate cancer, you’re not likely to detect it until it progresses to it’s later stage.
This is why…
It’s so important to be sure that men who may be at an increased risk being getting screened for prostate cancer at age 40 and those at a “normal” risk at the age of 50.
For more information about prostate cancer screenings, we would recommend that you visit www.cancer.org.
Now this is a good time to…
Remind everyone that we’re not medical professionals and we’re certainly not doctors. All we are is a bunch of life insurance agents who just happen to be really good at helping folks who have been diagnosed with a pre-existing medical condition like prostate cancer qualify or a great life insurance policy.
If you have any specific medical questions, direct those to your primary care physician cause we’re certainly not qualified to answer any “medical” questions. But if you’re just looking to qualify for a great life insurance policy, well then, keep on reading!
That said however…
As a life insurance agent, there are a few “basic” facts that we’ll need to understand in order to fully appreciate how a life underwriter will “view” your life insurance application and how these “facts” will factor into the outcome of your life insurance application.
These basic facts will…
Center around how individuals with prostate cancer are diagnosed and how the stages or prostate cancer are defined and treated.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer.
Now there are two ways that a doctor will diagnose someone with prostate cancer, the first will be by manually performing a digital rectal exam (DRE) and the second will be to perform a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) exam. PSA is a tumor marker that is very specific for prostatic cancer which is why it is such a useful exam in diagnosing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, PSA levels can also be elevated in individuals who simply suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia, so it’s important to understand that an elevated PSA isn’t automatically indicative of having prostate cancer, it is simply a “suggestive” symptom that could mean that you do have prostate cancer.
And while insurance companies….
Aren’t to going to perform either of these exams during a life insurance application medical exam, if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or even benign prostatic hyperplasia, they will be interested in what your PSA levels are and will request this information from your doctor.
PSA values and life insurance.
As a general rule of thumb, a value greater than 4ng/ml at any age will typically be consider abnormal by the life insurance industry. That said however, there really isn’t an “absolute” cutoff value that insurance companies use to determine whether someone is suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia vs prostate cancer.
That said however…
Many insurance companies will use the following PSA levels for certain age groups to help them make decisions about who they will and won’t insure.
- < 50 yr < 2.5 ng/ml
- 50–59 yr < 4.0 ng/ml
- 60–69 yr < 6.0 ng/ml
- 70 yr and older < 10.0 ng/ml
Insurance companies will then turn to the Gleason System of grading prostate cancer which will grade the “aggressiveness” of an individual’s prostate cancer. Gleason scores will range from 2 to 10, with higher scores being given to tumors that are more likely to spread beyond the prostate and into other parts of the body.
Gleason scores ranging from 2-4 are usually designated for “non-aggressive” tumors. Scores 5-7 are designated for “mild” tumors while more “aggressive” tumors will generally be designated a 8-10 score.
Possible treatment options:
Current treatment options most often consist of removing the prostate or (radical prostatectomy) or radiation. That said however, hormonal therapy can often be offered to older patients and in some cases, if the progression of the disease is really slow, physicians may choose to do nothing and instead implement an “active surveillance” approach where the tumor is simply monitored to see if a more “proactive” treatment might be necessary later on.
Which can make…
Predicting how a life insurance company will react to the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer pretty difficult. You see, while there are certain assumptions one can make if a patient has had their prostate removed, those treating with radiation and or “active surveillance” are less predictable.
Now we don’t…
Want to suggest that everyone who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer run out and get their prostate removed! We just want to make it clear that until an insurance underwriter has been able to review your medical records, it’s going to be tough to know what “type” of life insurance you’ll be able to qualify for and at what “rate”.
The assumptions that we can make is that if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is still a good chance that you can qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
In fact, those…
Who have received a:
- Radical prostatectomy on a tumor that was 100% confined to the prostate,
- That was diagnosed over the age of 50,
- And has a Gleason score of less than 6,
- With an undetectable PSA level,
May even be able to qualify for a “non-rated” life insurance rate once you’ve been “cancer free” for at least 1 year. Which is great!
Let’s face it, not all insurance applicants that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are going to be the “Poster Child” of perfection. Some may have been diagnosed with their prostate cancer at an early age, or they many have elected for a different treatment option than having their prostate removed. Not to mention all the other factor that will come into play that have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer like:
- Your height and weight,
- Your family medical history,
- Your previous medical history and prescription medication history,
- Your driving record,
- Etc, etc…
So how will you know if you’ll be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
It’s going to be tricky you see, there’s no standardized answer that anyone can tell you in a simple article on the internet.
Because this is all just general information – not specific to your case. There are always other factors that can impact eligibility. The only real way to find out if you qualify for life insurance after prostate cancer is to take all these things into consideration. Really, only an expert can help you!
Further Complications: Not just your health.
To further complicate the life insurance process, it’s important to understand that every life insurance company underwrites in a different way. So, you could theoretically go to a life insurance company and they can deny you when another life insurance company would underwrite you a policy! That’s why it’s important to find the right life insurance company for your situation!
How do you do that?
Contact an expert like TermLife2Go. We love helping people with all sorts of types of cancer as well as other pre-existing medical conditions to find the best life insurance out there.
We only offer personalized recommendations because we want to know we’ve led our clients to a great life insurance policy!
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today or visit our Life Insurance Quotes page and see what we can do for you!