If you’ve had a radical prostatectomy, radiation treatment, other prostate cancer treatments, or are currently in active surveillance or watch and wait, life insurance for prostate cancer survivors is available.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you’re not alone. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime.
Life Insurance for Prostate Cancer Survivors
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about life insurance for cancer, including:
- Prostate cancer – Is life insurance available to you?
- Radical Prostatectomy – How does surgery affect life insurance?
- Radiation Therapy – Can you get life insurance after prostate cancer?
- Watch and Wait or Active Surveillance – Is life insurance available with prostate cancer?
- Top 5 life insurance tips for prostate cancer survivors
- Previously declined for life insurance due to prostate cancer?
- Prostate cancer life insurance success stories
- Request your life insurance quote today!
Prostate Cancer – Is Life Insurance Available to you?
Life insurance is available for most men who’ve had prostate cancer. The details of your prostate cancer history will determine when life insurance is available and how much it’s going to cost you.
In general, insurance underwriters look for the following information:
Your age at time of diagnosis.
PSA levels before and after treatment.
Prostate cancer stage – from the pathology report or biopsy report.
Your Gleason Score – The highest recorded Gleason Score is used.
- How was your prostate cancer treated?
There are a few life insurers that specialize in preexisting conditions such as prostate cancer.
Prudential, John Hancock, Lincoln National and Protective Life tend to dominate the market.
Each of these carriers tend to specialize in certain aspects of prostate cancer.
Radical Prostatectomy – How does surgery affect life insurance?
Life insurance may be available in as little as 3 months after a radical prostatectomy for some stage 1 and stage 2 prostate cancers.
Once the prostatectomy has been completed, pathology determines the final cancer stage, Gleason score and determines if surgical margins were positive or negative.
Most favorable factors include:
- Pre-treatment PSA levels of 10 or less
- Gleason score of 6 or less
- Final cancer staging of T2b or less
- Negative surgical margins
- Post-treatment PSA level less than 1.0
- Age 60 or older at time of diagnosis
Here’s an actual client success story for life insurance with a Gleason 6.
The following unfavorable factors could affect the pricing or how soon life insurance is available.
The more factors you have, the more difficult underwriting becomes.
- Pre-treatment PSA between 11-20
- Gleason score of 7
- Age 50 – 55 at time of diagnosis
- Hormone therapy prior to surgery
- Positive surgical margins
Here’s a successful case history for a Gleason 7 client we helped.
The following factors will require postpone periods for most cases, and some will be declined.
- PSA of 1.0 or greater after surgery
- Under Age 50 at diagnosis
- Gleason score of 8 or greater.
- Stage T2c or greater
- Hormone therapy after surgery
- Any recurrence
With any prostate cancer history, we shop out to multiple life carriers for underwriting feedback to determine which life insurer will be best for you.
Radiation Therapy – Can you get life insurance after prostate cancer?
Radiation requires longer postpone periods after treatment than a radical.
The reason why is that underwriters need to see proof that radiation treatment has worked for you and that other side effects if any have no negative impact on underwriting.
Most radiation treatments including brachytherapy or external beam radiation such as IMRT, 3D-CRT, SBRT, proton beam, require 12 month postpone periods or longer.
Your PSA level needs to decrease over time, and PSA levels should be stable for about 12 months.
It’s important for you to have all PSA level readings from the time treatment started until now.
If your PSA level has increased by 0.2 ng/ml or greater since its lowest reading, most underwriters will consider this as a recurrence.
Life insurance is difficult to obtain after a recurrence unless years have passed since the recurrence.
Watch and Wait or Active Surveillance – Is life insurance available with prostate cancer?
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and your treatment plan is active surveillance/watch and wait, life insurance is very tricky.
We have definitely noticed an increase in the number of younger insureds opting for active surveillance.
With that being said, the availability of life insurance companies is very limited.
Under Age 50 – Guaranteed issue or contingent types of insurance are available.
Age 50 – 65 – If your PSA level has been stable for 2-3 years and is 10 or less, we can help.
Age 65+ – Low stage 1 – 2b prostate cancers, with stable PSA levels of 10 or less are insurable.
The key with active surveillance/watch and wait is to have frequent follow-ups and stable PSA levels.
Here’s an example of an active surveillance prostate cancer history that we helped.
Top 5 life insurance tips for prostate cancer survivors
When it comes to prostate cancer, our underwriting expertise will help you find the coverage you need from top quality life insurance companies.
Tip #1 – Know your prostate cancer stage
Cancer stage is found on biopsy reports (radiation and surveillance) and post surgical pathology reports (prostatectomy).
The difference between the two is that a biopsy is a sampling of prostatic tissue while surgical pathology evaluates the entire prostate.
Tip #2 – Know your Gleason score
Gleason score determines how aggressive the cancer was.
Biopsy and pathology reports may have multiple Gleason scores on the report. The highest score is used for life insurance underwriting purposes.
Scores of 6 or less are the most ideal.
If your Gleason score is 7, it will either be a 3+4 or a 4+3…and it will make a difference in underwriting.
Gleason scores of 8 or greater are very difficult in underwriting.
Tip #3 – Prostate cancer treatment chosen affects life insurance
The type of treatment determines how soon life insurance will be available.
Generally speaking, life insurance is available sooner after a radical prostatectomy than it is for someone receiving radiation treatment.
If you are currently in active surveillance or watch & wait, it is important to obtain all PSA readings since diagnosis.
Tip #4 – PSA Recurrence Derails Underwriting
Underwriters expect to see negligible PSA levels (less than 0.1) after a prostatectomy.
If your PSA rises by 0.2 after surgery, it’s considered a recurrence of prostate cancer.
Radiation is more complicated.
With radiation, PSA levels decrease, followed by an increase (psa bounce), before PSA drops to it’s lowest level (nadir) and remains at that level.
Life insurers expect this lowest level to be 1.0 or less.
If your PSA rises to 1.2 or above, it’s considered to be a recurrence.
Tip #5 – Prostate cancer underwriting varies by insurer
Prostate cancer survivors life insurance underwriting varies dramatically by company.
In fact, some carriers are more aggressive with certain types of treatment.
While we know the life insurance carriers and their prostate cancer guidelines, we shop out to all of them to ensure we find you the best deal every time.
In some cases, it makes sense to re-shop each year as better rates may be available as more time passes since treatment.
Previously declined for life insurance due to prostate cancer?
Life insurance may be available, even if you were previously declined for life insurance!
While most insurance companies want nothing to do with you if you’ve had prostate cancer, there are companies that specialize in prostate cancer underwriting.
And just because you were rejected by one company doesn’t mean that others will decline coverage to you.
A 5-10 minute conversation is all it takes to find out if you are currently insurable.
With our process, we gather the prostate cancer details from you, and shop out to all of the prostate cancer companies for preliminary feedback.
We tell you what each life insurer has to say and what to expect in terms of price.
There’s no pressure or obligation with our service to you.
What if you received an offer, but the pricing sucks?
Ask us…we’ll tell you if it’s a good offer or not.
Prostate cancer life insurance success stories
We’ve helped many prostate cancer survivors find life insurance. It you’ve had a radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy such as brachytherapy, proton beam radiation, or are currently in active surveillance, we can help.
Here are some actual cases with some of the most common prostate cancer histories we work with.
Life Insurance after Radical Prostatectomy with Gleason 6
While every prostate cancer history success story is unique, a prostatectomy with a Gleason score of 6 is one of the most common we encounter.
Our client needed life insurance as a requirement for a business loan in order to expand his business.
He was referred to us after being declined by the insurer that handles his home and auto insurance.
Some details about this prostate cancer life insurance case:
Age 55 at time of diagnosis.
Stage T1b Prostate Cancer
PSA was 6
Gleason was a 6
Treatment was a radical prostatectomy 2 years ago, no further treatment required.
We found a few companies willing to consider a standard rate class, but the best offer in this case was Prudential as they were willing to offer a Non-Smoker Plus rate class.
The client was happy to accept this offer.
This scenario is one of the easiest to insure due to the age at diagnosis, low cancer stage and Gleason 6.
Life Insurance after Radical Prostatectomy with Gleason 7
For this client, the medical history was very similar to the prior case, the main difference was that this client’s Gleason score was a 7 (3+4).
Our client needed $500,000 for a buy-sell agreement for their partnership, and had just been declined through another agent.
Prostate Cancer Case Study Details:
Age at time of Diagnosis – Age 54
Stage T1c prostate cancer
PSA was 6
Gleason score was 7
Treatment was a radical prostatectomy 3 years ago.
The difficulty with a history like this is that fewer companies are willing to offer insurance when the Gleason is a 7 and it’s been less than 5 years since treatment.
Some of the companies that responded wanted to add a flat extra expense to the price.
The range of flat extras would add $3,000 – $7500 per year with some companies.
We ended up receiving another great offer at a “standard plus” rate with no flat extra expense.
We shop every case to all companies that specialize in prostate cancer as sometimes you receive great unexpected offers.
Our client gladly accepted this offer.
Life insurance for active surveillance or watch and wait
Prostate cancer history
Our client was 69 years old looking for $500,000 of life insurance to protect his family.
Prostate Cancer Case Study Details:
Age at time of Diagnosis – Age 69
Stage T1a prostate cancer.
Historical PSA was 5.0 range.
PSA at time of diagnosis was 3.1, 6 months later had risen to 3.6
Gleason Score – 6
Treatment is active surveillance, watch and wait
Post-Treatment PSA Level – Watching and waiting. 6 months after diagnosis, PSA level increased to 3.6
Has There Been Any Recurrence? N/A
The difficulty with this client’s medical history is that within 6 months of being diagnosed with cancer, his psa had risen by 0.5.
During our initial conversation, we discussed his medical history, and that a “watch and wait” scenario at his age did not represent a higher risk based on his stage and Gleason score.
The problem was going to be his rising PSA level.
In our initial outreach to carriers, none would consider life insurance due to the PSA increasing.
My client’s doctor is part of the Mayo Clinic, and helped save this case.
It was already documented in my client’s file that if his PSA reached 4.0, they would treat the prostate cancer.
We were able to get the doctor to write a letter to this effect as well, and went back out to the market.
We had 2 companies change their minds and both said they were willing to consider standard rates plus an additional table rating due to an unrelated health issue.
Protective Life returned with the best offer after underwriting and we placed the case.
Increasing PSA levels are always difficult and many cases may get postponed by insurers.
Good doctors and medical records save cases.
If we need clarification or help from your doctor, we’ll explain the situation and have never had a problem with getting a doctor to write a supporting letter.
Life Insurance for Prostate Cancer Treated by Brachytherapy
Our 71 year old client looking for $250,000 of life insurance in order to cover outstanding balance on mortgage.
Prostate Cancer Brachytherapy Details:
Age at time of Diagnosis – Age 68
Stage 1 prostate cancer.
Pre-Treatment PSA Level – 6.5
Gleason Score – 6
Treatment option was Brachytherapy (Radiation Seed Implant)
Post-Treatment PSA Level – Range has consistently been 0.8 – 1.0 since completion of treatment.
Has There Been Any Recurrence? No
Prostate Cancer Life Insurance Case Study Underwriting Outcome:
For brachytherapy cases, the most difficult aspect of the case is the post treatment PSA level.
With radiation, most life insurers postpone life insurance for a period of time to wait and see if treatment has worked.
For our client, his PSA level was pretty consistent in the 0.8 – 1.0 range.
We had 5 companies respond with offers of “standard”.
We ran the quotes for all companies, discussed the differences and helped our client secure life insurance.
While radiation cases may require a longer postpone period or an additional rating in the early years of a policy, over time the rates are the same as for those who had a radical.
Prostate Cancer Life Insurance Conclusion
If you want to find out which life insurers are available, and how much they are going to charge you…
Let us help you.
We work with every life company that is competitive for prostate cancer.
We’ll tell you who those companies are.
We share the underwriting feedback with you and show all life insurance pricing.
Term life insurance, universal life insurance, whole life insurance…whatever you want.
If you’re insurable, we’ll get you the best life insurance rates available based on your history of prostate cancer.
Request your life insurance quote today!
Check out this article if you need help – How Much Life Insurance Do I need?
How Do We Know What We Know About Prostate Cancer Life Insurance?
My name is Mike Horbal – Here’s my bio
I specialize in high risk life insurance, and spend a lot of time working with various companies and underwriters in order to know every prostate cancer life insurance niche available.
I’ve helped many insureds and other insurance agents with their life insurance needs and would like to help you too!
Take a few minutes to submit your request or give me a call at 800-909-2040 today.