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What a summer, huh? I heard on the news the other day that somewhere in Oklahoma had set a new all time record high for any state over a full month. We’re talking hotter than Arizona!! I’m pretty blessed to live at 7000′ in Colorado where yesterday the high was 88 and the low was 48, average temperature for the day, 68.

Anyway, this isn’t about weather but rather a feared side effect of hot sunny days, skin cancer. And more importantly it is about the success that we have had over the past several months with helping clients who have a history of skin cancer. While we have consistently been able to get best rate class for basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma life insurance, the greatest gains have been with the worst skin cancer of them all, malignant melanoma.

While the first two could theoretically cause death, the survival rate is extremely high. Melanoma is the skin cancer that is feared for its’ aggressive growth and invasiveness and, well, its’ propensity to kill. It all comes down to the stage and grade with any cancer. With melanoma the best pathology scenario would be a stage 0, melanoma in situ, with a Clark’s level grade of 1 meaning it didn’t go any deeper than the epidermis. Some pathologists also use a Breslow thickness rather than a Clark’s level. A Breslow grade 1 would be less than 1mm thick. We just recently had a case approved at standard plus just two months post surgery with this stage and grade. Stage 0, grade 1 means that the cancer was completely encapsulated.

Staging of melanoma is done using the TNM staging method. T stands for tumor, N is for node (as in lymph nodes) and M is for metastasis, a measure of whether the cancer has spread. For instance stage 1A (T1aN0M0). Tumor has not spread to the nodes. It is less than 1 mm and is not ulcerated. Five-year survival is 95%.

Does it have to be encapsalated or in situ to get better than standard rates on melanoma life insurance? The easy answer is no, but the best thing is to seek out an agent with experience in successfully placing melanoma cases, provide them with a copy of your pathology report and let them shop.

Bottom line. In my experience far to many people just accept the beating that most insurance companies dish out on melanoma life insurance because they believe they can’t do better. If you have a history of skin cancer and don’t feel like you’ve been treated fairly, contact me directly and let’s see if we can fix it.