Prostate Cancer and Life Insurance: How to Get the Best Rates
Insurance options for prostate cancer patients are as varied as the disease itself.
- What is the Prostate and Who Is at Risk for Cancer?
- Prostate Problems and Medical Solutions
- Prostate Cancer Factors that Affect Insurability
- How Can MEG Financial Help
- Related Links for Prostate Cancer
The prostate is a small walnut-sized organ in men that produces a white fluid that becomes part of the semen that carries sperm. The prostate wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body. The cause of prostate cancer remains an unknown, however, age is a significant risk factor and there could also be links to high dietary fat intake and increased testosterone levels. One in ten men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime; however, only one in ten men will die from the disease. Prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than age 40. Statistics point to African-American men older than 60, farmers, tire plant workers, painters and men exposed to cadmium as being at higher risk for developing prostate cancer; vegetarian men and Japanese men are the populations least affected by this disease. A diagnosis of prostate cancer does presents an insurance challenge, but not an insurmountable one for insurance options are as varied as the treatments and outcomes for this disease.
Other related medical conditions (or medical terminology) include Prostate Cancer, Prostate Disorder, Enlarged Prostate, Prostatitits, Elevated PSA. Read below for more information about Prostate Cancer and receiving a life insurance quote from a life insurance specialist.
Prostate Problems and Medical Solutions
As men age, so do their prostates. Men who are over the age of 50 and experiencing changes in urination patterns such as delayed or slowed start of urinary stream, changes in urgency or frequency of urination, who have pain during or dribbling after urination, ejaculation or bowel movements or lower back pain may have an enlarged prostate, a natural function of the aging process. This condition, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is non-cancerous and is the most common prostate problem for men. Men with a family history of prostate cancer may begin screenings as early as age 40 since most prostate cancers can be detected before they can cause symptoms. A routine digital rectal exam (DRE) can reveal an enlarged cancerous prostate because its surface changes and becomes hard and irregular. A simple blood test will verify levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) produced by the prostate. Certain PSA levels indicate a healthy organ. The presence of cancer in the prostate will elevate these levels above normal ranges. Several additional tests may then be utilized to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer including:
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) – Elevated PSA levels can be indicative of cancer and non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate
- Free PSA – Results differentiate between BPH and prostate cancer
Urinalysis: Screening to detect blood in the urine
Cytology: Urine or prostatic fluid samples are investigated for unusual cells
Biopsy: Surgical removal of prostate tissue for testing to confirm diagnosis
- CT scans – Determine if cancer is contained in prostate or has spread
Bone scan – Determine if cancer has spread to bones
Chest x-ray – Determine if cancer has spread
Prostate cancers are staged, identified and classified, according to how quickly they spread and how different they are from surrounding prostate tissue:
- Stage 1: Tumor is not felt on physical examination and is usually detected by accident after prostate surgery is done for other reasons. A needle biopsy may be performed because a PSA test revealed elevated PSA levels.
- Stage 2: Tumor is detected during a physical exam or by needle biopsy performed because of elevated PSA levels. Cancer cells are contained within prostate.
- Stage 3: Cancer cells have spread beyond the prostate to surrounding tissue but are not in the lymph nodes. The glands, seminal vesicles which produce semen, may have cancerous cells in them.
- Stage 4: Cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other organs such as the bone, liver or lungs.
- Recurrent: Cancer has returned to prostate or another part of the body after treatment.
Once a tumor has been staged and graded, treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Each treatment options poses risks of side affects risks which require serious consideration. Some elderly patients are not candidates for any treatment due to potential complications from their overall declining health. Following treatment, patients will be monitored to ensure that the cancer does not return or spread.
Prostate Cancer Factors that Affect Insurability
When applying for life insurance, a prostate cancer patient should be prepared to present documentation. Underwriters are interested in the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body, a tumor biopsy report, the course of treatment prescribed and records of pre-surgical and post-surgical PSA levels to determine a person’s eligibility. Insurance opportunities are as varied as the stages of prostate cancer itself. Patients who have had surgical removal of a tumor or elderly patients with slow growing tumors will be more quickly underwritten than patients undergoing other treatments. Some patients will be deferred for approval for two or three years, with medical follow-up screenings, following treatment. Other patients, who have more serious disease complications, may be deferred.