Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men, yet more and more men find success in treatments every year. In turn, an increased number of prostate cancer survivors are now living happy, healthy, and productive lives. Even with this information, obtaining life insurance after prostate cancer can be an incredibly complex and time-consuming process. With the right guidance, prostate cancer survivors can easily protect themselves and their loved ones with a life insurance policy.
Stages of prostate cancer at diagnosis utilized to determine risk:
- Stage 1: Cells beginning to look “suspect”
- Stage 2: Gleason scores may be slightly elevated
- Stage 3: Cancerous cells spread beyond the prostate
- Stage 4: Cells spread throughout the body
One of our partners recently brought us a local businessman and recurring prostate cancer survivor who was previously denied coverage for himself. When his manufacturing company was first beginning to gain success, the man and his two business partners only needed to be insured for $1,000,000 each. After their business ballooned in value over just a few years, they needed to increase their coverage to $10,000,000 each. While the other two partners easily increased their limits, the client remained underinsured due to his previous history of cancer. For the client and his business partners, this was a huge liability for their company. Should the unthinkable happen, the other partners would have been required to buy out the client’s family by liquidating assets or taking out a $9,000,000 loan.
When combined with his medical history, the client’s lifestyle presented a challenging case for insurance brokers. Balancing long work hours and travel with family obligations requires abundant energy and creates stress. To reduce stress, the man exercises independently and maintains an active lifestyle with his family, largely when at their lake house. Additionally, he is known to drink regularly, which is a cause for concern, especially for a man who has documented hypertension, high cholesterol, and is slightly overweight.
Additional complexity stemmed from his re-diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Less than a year after initially being diagnosed with prostate cancer, the man had surgery to remove his entire prostate. And due to his low-risk cancer diagnosis, he was not prescribed radiation or chemotherapy.
One year after his proctectomy surgery, the client’s prostate-specific (PSA) test scores rose again, which prompted him to proceed with radiation treatment. Due to his unique medical circumstances, the oncologist prescribed radiation treatment to remove any residual cancer cells. Luckily, after being 18 months out from radiation, the client has had two follow-up PSA scores with favorable results.
When applying for life insurance after prostate cancer, these fluctuating PSA scores became a primary concern of insurance carriers. Many carriers interpreted his history as recurring cancer, rather than a lack of complete treatment with the original cancer prognosis.
After meeting with the client, EMG Brokerage dove into his medical history to craft a convincing narrative. EMG then produced a strategic plan, leveraging years of experience to navigate various carrier options for the best outcome. The best-case result for the client and his partners was splitting his life insurance coverage into two plans (personal and business owner protection). Shortly after engaging with EMG, the client secured optimal coverage and has peace of mind knowing that he, his family, and business partners are protected.
Frequently Asked Questions About Prostate Cancer and Life Insurance
Does prostate cancer affect life insurance?
A person cannot be insured until they are in remission. Like other forms of cancer, a confirmed diagnosis of prostate cancer influences the way(s) in which life insurance carriers determine coverage and rates. Carriers consider numerous factors when making policy-related decisions for survivors of prostate cancer including, but not limited to:
1) Medical history
2) Lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking, etc.)
3) State and grade (extent of cancer, tumor size, how much it has spread, etc.)
4) Number of years since the cancer went into remission
5) Details surrounding the type(s) of treatment(s) received to cause remission
Can you get life insurance after surviving prostate cancer?
Yes, many prostate cancer survivors can obtain life insurance policies. Some men who survive prostate cancer are even able to secure a standard rating after remission. This bodes well for prostate cancer survivors in remission, as the rates of successful treatments continue to increase. As a result, in the U.S. alone, more than two million prostate cancer survivors go on to live happy, successful, and productive lives.
Furthermore, a prostate cancer survivor’s coverage options may also be dependent on the kind of treatment/therapy they receive, as some are more favorable to carriers than others.
In addition to the type(s) of treatment(s), insurance carriers are very concerned with the end date of the primary treatment, as it is the baseline for them to determine the period of remission. Besides the timeline for remission, carriers are also concerned with whether or not there is a recurrence or spreading of the cancer. The final treatment-related factor that carriers consider is a person’s compliance with routine surveillance testing. If a person follows their doctor’s orders well and completes all recommended tests, they have a much better chance of obtaining life insurance coverage than those who do not oblige.
Other than treatments, carriers review a person’s overall health for other factors that might impact coverage options. From genetic influences to their daily lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking, etc.), insurance carriers want to know a person’s full story to determine which options are available. Another health-related factor that carriers are mindful of is a person’s age, especially when considering their initial diagnosis and end-of-treatment timelines.
Remember: insurance companies can only insure those who are in remission.
Is prostate cancer a pre-existing condition?
Yes, like other forms of cancer, prostate cancer is considered a pre-existing medical condition by insurance carriers. Companies also consider several other health-related factors, so prostate cancer survival alone will not be a determiner for a person’s denial or approval coverage.
What kind of life insurance policies can I get as someone who survived prostate cancer?
As long as a prostate cancer survivor qualifies, they can obtain coverage for any type, amount, or length that they desire. Carriers tend to look at permanent cases more favorably. If a client is serious and motivated about coverage and positive about their future, they will seek permanent coverage as a solution for their insurance needs. That being said, it’s worthy to note that a person who is less than two years into remission will—more than likely—be denied life insurance coverage. This is why the end-of-treatment date plays such a major role in the coverage options, as it enables people to begin documenting their period of remission.
What causes and/or aggravates prostate cancer?
Increased ages correlate with prostate cancer rates, as it is most common in men after the age of fifty. For reasons yet to be determined, people with more melanin tend to have a greater risk of prostate cancer than those of other races. And not only do they have an overall greater risk, but they’re more likely to suffer from an aggressive form of prostate cancer than those with less melanin. A person’s family history can also play a role, as having blood relatives (parent, sibling, child, etc.) with prostate cancer increases a person’s risk for contracting it themself. Additionally, people who are obese are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those maintaining healthy weights. And, much like the other causes, prostate cancer is more aggressive for people who also struggle with obesity. Lastly, a person’s diet and lifestyle have the potential to further aggravate their prostate cancer—red meat (and other processed meats), dairy, alcohol, and saturated fats should be avoided whenever possible.
What information should I know and gather in preparation to obtain life insurance as someone who survived prostate cancer?
To be well prepared for their upcoming acquisition, a survivor should obtain the following information before seeking life insurance after prostate cancer:
1. An extensive record of their medical history
2. Details on the state and extent of the cancer’s progression
3. Age at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis
4. Any type(s) of current treatment(s), including medications
5. End-of-treatment date to verify period of remission
6. Results from any follow-up medical tests
Remember: There’s hope for obtaining life insurance as a prostate cancer survivor!
Fortunately, obtaining a life insurance policy for someone who survived prostate cancer is not only possible but can also be affordable.
By systematically compiling an in-depth narrative of a client’s medical history, comparing various carriers’ coverage options, and reviewing routine lab work to further prove their case, EMG has developed a track record of securing some of the most appropriate and affordable plans possible for each individual.
A person’s battle against prostate cancer might prompt them to make many compromises throughout their life, but with the professional guidance of EMG’s experienced team, prostate cancer survivors can discover how securing life insurance policies that protect the future of their families, businesses, and selves don’t have to be another one of them. Contact the insurance professionals at EMG today to get the support you need.