Prostate cancer, we’ve all heard at one time or another, is something that virtually every man will have at some point in his life. While only one in five or so of us guys will ever be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the other four, according to theory and reports, will have the cancer but it won’t be detected.
Make no mistake. You can die from prostate cancer, but the truth is that it is one of those cancers that in most cases is very slow growing and, from all I’ve read, is very survivable in cancer that hasn’t spread to distant parts of the body.
It is this survival rate that makes prostate cancer life insurance one of the easiest to underwrite. Most prostate cancer is found in an early stage, 1 or 2, and a low to moderate grade, Gleason 5-7. Life insurance underwriters understand that at this level there is little to no chance that prostate cancer will have anything to do with the person’s ultimate demise, so once PSA’s are at an acceptable level life insurance can get approved at very reasonable rates. Even though the survival rate is still 100% at higher stages and grades, things get pricey mainly because life insurance underwriting looks at survival rates in comparison to someone without the disease.
Because in so many prostate cancer can truly be a non event even if left alone, doctors are now recommending more and more the idea of “watchful waiting” rather than treatment. As it insinuates, once the cancer is diagnosed, it is checked on a regular basis and if it stays latent then there is never any invasive or formal treatment, both events that are known for causing unpleasant lifestyle side effects. It is now very common for men over 60 to be offered watchful waiting as an option unless the cancer is very aggressive. What most men are told if diagnosed with relatively low risk prostate cancer over age 70 is that no treatment is the recommendation. The cause of death being prostate cancer is highly unlikely.
Soooo, if I were King of life insurance over age 60 I would treat a doctor’s recommendation of watchful waiting as a legitimate diagnosis of a non issue from a mortality risk standpoint. Just like so many insurance companies have different build charts for men over 65 that allows more weight in the best rate class, I would allow a diagnosis of slow growing low stage and grade prostate cancer under watchful waiting to be approved at the best rate class. I mean, c’mon. Worst case is the cancer becomes more aggressive. But that’s not going anywhere because it has been carefully monitored and if it takes a turn toward being dangerous, a doctor is going to treat it while it is still at a fairly low stage and grade.
But alas I am not the King, a blow that I will have to live with. Unfortunately underwriters are not doctors and in a survey I did last year, underwriters from 20 different companies all agreed that watchful waiting is a decline. There weren’t even a few that said sort of. If you aren’t willing to have your prostate hacked out (prostatectomy) or have it nuked into submission (seed implants or radiation therapy), you’re not welcome at the annual life insurance company dinner.
While traditional life insurance won’t allow a person the option of excluding what worries the underwriters, the future of your prostate, there is a small window of opportunity for those that take their doctor’s advice not to treat. There are a few companies like Lloyds of London and HCC that will write failure to survive policies for business purposes and exclude prostate cancer.
Bottom line. From a life insurance standpoint I rather enjoy working with prostate cancer survivors, at least those that have been treated. In most cases it is an easy approval at very reasonable rates. And when I become King……If you have any questions or need help with a prostate cancer life insurance quote, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.