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Skin cancer is almost exclusively caused by exposure of UV light, darn you summer, I try to hit on the subject of life insurance and the big three, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and basal cell carcinoma at least once a summer. If those of us who grew up then (50’s and 60’s) grew up now when the dots were already connected this issue of skin cancer would be far more in context. The other cause of skin cancer is DNA. Yup, Mom and Dad just gave us a tendency toward it. Needless to say, this is the smaller and easier side of the equation. If you have a family history of skin cancer, seriously, get checked once in a while.

Back then there were bragging rights, painful bragging rights, that went with sun burns. I’m not talking about a day with too much sun where I should have used 50 instead of 30 spf, but a day or two when daybreak to dusk was spent without spf. Often it was at the lake or on the snow where reflection boosted the UV to body melting proportions, but it was what it was and wrinkled and diseased is what we are.

So how does skin cancer affect your chances of getting life insurance and how far can you stretch the DNA side of the equation before the companies cry foul and bench you. Let’s tackle the DNA side first. It generally presents itself in kind of an ongoing stream of what are called lesions with dysplastic nevi (precancerous moles). For the most part these are benign (not at risk of spreading), but the prudence in regular exams is that sometimes they aren’t. I had a client recently who needed to add to his life insurance so we updated his four year old medical and came up with this list,

“>2008 melanoma left back, clark’s level 2, .25mm thick, excised 6x6x2 mm, 2010 two lesions removed, one on back and one on stomach with, dysplastic melanocytic nevus, 2011 one mole with dysplastic nevus removed, 4/11 – removed dysplastic nevus, 7/11 – reexcision of 4/11 mole, 5/12  – removed benign mole and a dysplastic nevus, 6/13 – removed dysplastic nevus, 6/13 – removed nodular basal cell carcinoma, 12/13 – removed (2) dysplatic nevus, 12/13 – removed inflamed dysplastic nevus,1/14 – reexcision of 12/13 inflamed,2/16 – atypical melanocytic proliferation, 2/16 – reexcision of 2/16 atypical.”

A bit more than typical findings on inherited skin issues, but all caught before anything really took hold and turned into one of the deadliest of cancers period, Melanoma. We were able to get this client approved at just over standard rates, not because he doesn’t present risk, but because his diligence in semi annually following up with his dermatologist makes it highly unlikely that he will ever be caught with his pants down (Remember the Coppertone Girl?)

While a relatively low stage 0 or 1 melanoma can get  standard plus rates and while basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma can almost always get a best rate class with one or two instances, it isn’t to be taken lightly. Melanoma can be a killer and can be internal as well as external. Anything above a stage 1 externally can render a person not insurable or insurable at very high rates for years to come.

Bottom line. If you have questions or have been declined or highly rated for a lesser degree of skin cancer, or even as my client above with melanocytic nevus syndrome, call or email and let’s figure out a way to improve on what you have. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.