Is Your History of Cancer Affecting Your Ability to Get Life Insurance?
Cancer is more common now than ever before. In the US, cancer is the second leading cause of death behind heart disease accounting for 1 in 4 of all deaths. In recent years, new and improved medications, treatments and diagnostic procedures have had a significant impact on the survival rates for cancer patients. The good news is that in most cases cancer can be successfully treated and the prospects of obtaining reasonably priced life insurance are good. The information below will provide an overview of cancer and its effect on life insurance prices.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. It can affect any organ in the body and may spread to surrounding tissues. This spreading is known as metastasis. Once metastasis occurs, surgical removal alone will not cure the cancer. Other treatments may include medications, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination. If the spread is not halted it can result in death.
Cancer is usually diagnosed by examination of the abnormal cells. The process of obtaining these cells is called a biopsy. With a biopsy, a small portion of the cells and surrounding tissues are removed for evaluation. The samples are carefully reviewed by a pathologist who documents the findings in a pathology report.
The biopsy and subsequent pathology report is of chief importance to life insurance companies. It identifies the characteristics of the cancer and its severity. Of specific magnitude is the stage and grade of the tumor. The “stage” refers to the size and spread of the tumor while the “grade” deals with the tumor’s aggressiveness. The smaller “stage” and the lower “grade” of tumor the better the prognosis of successful treatment and recovery. The stage and grade of the tumor will also determine the type of treatment along with the age of the patient and the patients overall health.
- One third of all people in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetime. It is second only to heart disease as a leading cause of death.
- The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006 170,000 cancer deaths will be attributed to tobacco use.
- The American Cancer Society also suggests that 1/3 of the over 500,000 cancer deaths in 2006 can be related to obesity, physical inactivity and nutrition.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 10 million people in 2002 were living that had a history of cancer
- Over 1, 200,000 million new cases of cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2006.
Risk Factors of Cancer
Cancer is caused by many controllable factors and some that are not controllable. The list below is just a few of the more common risk factors for cancer.
- Smoking and other use of tobacco,
- Lack of proper exercise,
- Poor diet,
- Exposure chemicals, radiation and other environmental issues,
- Family history,
- Prior cancer history,
- Other immune conditions.
The Impact of Cancer and Its Effect on Life Insurance Rates
In the past, a diagnosis of cancer would likely result in a serious extra charge or in most cases an outright decline for life insurance. However, today, improvements in medicine have allowed for earlier detection, more aggressive treatments and a better understanding of cancer in general. These advancements have allowed life insurance companies to view a cancer diagnosis in a different light. Consequently, depending on the type of cancer history, many individuals can get fairly priced life insurance
As mentioned above, actual rates for life insurance for individuals with a history of cancer will be based on the type, stage and grade of the cancer. A standard rate, which is the same rate class someone that is 20-30 pounds overweight can expect, may be available if the cancer was a low grade early stage highly treatable type of malignancy. If the cancer is more serious in stage and grade and there hasn’t been ample time to determine the success of the treatment, insurance companies may charge an extra premium commonly referred to as a flat extra charge. The flat extra charge, in most cases, is only for a temporary period of 3-10 years depending on the significance of the cancer diagnosis. Other cases, with higher stages and grades of tumors may be postponed for a few years and may even be declined for life insurance.
A good example of cancer that may be easily insured if caught early and treated effectively is prostate cancer. More and more men over the age of 55 are being diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Because the condition is so common, highly successful treatments have been devised. These treatments have significantly decreased mortality rates for those diagnosed with prostate cancer and therefore life insurance companies look at it more favorably. In fact, prostate cancer caught in the early stages that has been successfully removed, may even qualify for a preferred health class with one well known insurance company.
For more information about cancer and life insurance see, what you need to know about obtaining life insurance with a history of cancer.
How Can the Insurance Professionals at MEG Financial Help?
At MEG Financial, we have extensive experience helping cancer survivors all over the country obtain competitively priced life insurance. Many of these clients had previously attempted to buy life insurance elsewhere and were either turned down or asked to pay a significantly higher rate. Our expertise helping others with cancer histories will be crucial to you in identifying an insurance company that will treat you fairly.
For more specific information or to obtain a custom quote, call MEG Financial today at (877) 583-3955. You may also submit this short form and an independent insurance agent will personally contact you to go over any questions or other concerns.