Prostate cancer is, if not the most common, certainly one of the most common kinds of cancer in men. I think I’ve heard it said that the majority of men who live a long life will have it at some point.
The good news from a life insurance standpoint is that prostate cancer in most cases is very insurable after a minimal post treatment waiting period. I say most cases and not all, because obviously some incidents of prostate cancer are more severe than others. Most prostate cancer falls into the less severe category. If you meet the criteria outlined below and use an independent life insurance agent who understands the challenge, your quotes for term insurance, universal life or whole life insurance should be a pleasant surprise.
There are three indicators that life insurance underwriters look at when determining the insurability of a prostate cancer survivor. The first is the PSA (prostate specific antigen) at the time of diagnosis. Prostate cancer is often detected because the PSA is above normal, above 4.0, or if the PSA is gradually elevating on subsequent exams. For the purpose of life insurance quotes, a PSA of 10 or less at the time of diagnosis is best. The lower the better.
Once a troublesome PSA is observed, it is usually followed with a biopsy. This will determine if there is cancer or if the elevated PSA has been caused by something else, like prostatitis (an infection of the prostate). If cancer is found it is assigned a grade based on the biopsy. This is called a Gleason score. A Gleason score of 4 or less (on a scale to 10) would be considered a very non aggressive cancer. A Gleason of 5 or 6 would be only moderately aggressive. At a Gleason of 7, insurance becomes trickier, although still insurable.Â A Gleason of 8-10 is a tough sell for most underwriters. Don’t throw in the towel until your independent life insurance agent has thoroughly shopped it though!
Treatment options include everything from leaving it alone if it is a very low grade cancer to a radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) if the risk is higher. At this point it is also assigned a stage of 1, 2, 3 or 4, depending on how much the cancer has spread. An encapsalated cancer for instance would likely be a stage 1. Cancer that has metastatized to the bone or other organs would probably be a 4.
To summarize, an independent insurance agent can generally get quotes that are better than standard rates if their prostate cancer surviving client had a PSA of less than 10, a Gleason score of 6 or less and a stage of 1 or a low 2. The PSA after treatment has to be 0 if they had a prostatectomy or .5 or less if they used some other form of treatment. Those criteria would qualify most prostate cancer survivors for better than standard rates.
So, the good news is that prostate cancer generally doesn’t mean the end to your ability to purchase affordable life insurance. If you need life insurance and have survived prostate cancer, contact an independent life insurance agent today and provide them with all of the information cited above. Get them a copy of your original pathology report and if you had surgery, a post surgical pathology report. Give them all of the information and you will be pleased with the results.
This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.