I got a call from a prospective client last week wanting to see if I could find anyone who would offer him life insurance.
His issue is prostate cancer with a Gleason 9. He had a radical prostatectomy, chemotherapy and is currently on hormone therapy Lupron. His PSA has been undetectable for a year and a half. While we certainly haven’t had much luck with a Gleason grade greater than 7, I told him I would shop it and see. One thing about this business is you really never know.
I got the first round of responses in yesterday and for the most part they were the typical “No way” answers that the reinsurance manuals would lead them to. No harm. No foul. There are companies that will not deviate from reinsurance guidelines even when the death benefit is within their retention limit. I think it’s kind of woosy, but I’m not their CEO so what can I do.
I did get two interesting responses though. Western Reserve Life said no for now but that they would consider coverage December 2010. I suspect at that time it would come, if they approved it, with a substantial flat extra, but that’s OK. We’ll keep that one bookmarked. The other was Lincoln Financial who said they would consider coverage once he was not on Lupron. That may or may not work because we don’t know if Lupron will go on for the rest of his life or not, but again it was not an absolute no.
Generally prostate cancer with a Gleason grade 6 or less is not a big issue as long as the treatment has brought the PSA down to essentially 0 with a radical prostatectomy and less than 0.5 if the treatment was seed implant. Approval at standard or standard plus is a target that can generally be hit. Even a Gleason 7, depending on the stage of the cancer is generally not insurmountable in the life insurance search. A Gleason 7 would probably be a rated policy, higher than standard rates.
But Gleason 8 and above is indicative of a fairly aggressive cancer. I have reached out to more companies on behalf of this client and will post all of the results by each company once they all respond.
Bottom line. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer amongst men but with early detection and treatment, it is a very survivable cancer.