I worked on an interesting case several years ago, a doctor who had a history of high grade non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He had undergone chemo and radiation and had not had a recurrence in several years, I think it was six at the time.

What made the case a little different was that the client was a clinical pathologist. He worked with cancer pathology every day at one of the biggest hospitals in the south. Suffice it to say that he knew a little bit about the reality of his cancer and in order to help me shop the case he supplied articles supporting his case that with high grade NHL, if you win the battle you’ve won the war. In other words, if the treatment works there is virtually no chance of recurrence.

I was used to working from the other direction. The higher the grade of the cancer, the worse chance of finding any offer, let alone a good one. He concurred that from a mortality perspective that was true even with NHL, unless the treatment worked. If it didn’t work, high grade NHL was just like any other high grade cancer, it won the war and usually quickly.

So we shopped his case and we got one offer, a rated offer, but a real offer that turned into a real approval and life insurance in force. We shopped it again the next year and got 3 offers and replaced his first policy with the best of those. We shopped it two more times and each time we were able to improve his rate. The last approval was at a standard plus rate.

I am currently shopping another case of NHL and given a high grade and low stage (2), the first offer we got back is a standard rate. Stage and grade, a low stage and grade, is what I’ve always driven home as the keys to the best possible rates with cancer history. Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma would be the exception to that rule. If it is a moderate to high grade and low stage and you survived the treatment, good rates can be found. With NHL a low grade is where the trouble lies because it can keep recurring even with treatment.

Bottom line. It seems there’s always an exception to a rule and in life insurance for cancer survivors, this is the one case where the higher the grade, the better the result.