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Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Struggle to Buy Life Insurance

Real Life Story

Recently a client approached us concerning her dilemna. She was recently separated from her husband and as a result she was the primary provider for her three children. She was concerned about being able to provide for her chidren in the event that something happened to her. She had already had a brush with death once five years before when she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and she was acutely aware of the necessity of a life insurance policy. Before consulting with LLG Financial, she had used a friend who was a local insurance agent to apply for a life insurance policy. To her great dismay she had been turned down for coverage. 

She was discouraged until we explained that because her other agent worked for only one insurance company, he lacked the ability to shop around with a variety of life insurance carriers to find a company that was more lenient on offering life insurance policies to breast cancer survivors. We explained that all life insurance companies treated breast cancer differently - some were more strict and some were more open to offering coverage. 

Since she had five years of no breast cancer recurrence after treatment, her case was right on the border for being able to be approved by any major life insurance company. We took the woman's application and shopped it with two different companies known for covering women with breast cancer. In the end the client was approved and received the coverage she anxiously had been seeking. Even though the premium rates were higher than normal they were still affordable, and more importantly, the client could sleep well at night knowing her three children were protected. 

I Have Breast Cancer. Now What?

Breast cancer is rather common which means the life insurance companies have considerable experience in dealing with this condition. Because there are so many factors that go into analyzing each individual case of breast cancer, you need to provide extensive, detailed information about your particular case, including family history, a timeline of your diagnosis, treatment, possible recovery, etc. Underwriters are also interested in exact type of tumor, the size of the tumor, how far the tumor spread, the amount of infected axillary lymph nodes, the cancer's degree of differentiation, along with other factors. They are also interested in the type of treatment you have received, as well as whether you have had regular examinations after successful breast cancer treatment, since recurrence and/or spread of breast cancer can occur as long as 30 years after the initial diagnosis. Keep in mind, however, each case is unique and the more information you provide the better.

Breast Cancer's Effect on Insurance Rates

There is some degree of flexibility in the assignment of your rates. This is because there are many variables that go into determining the severity of the breast cancer. In short, each case is unique so make sure you provide as much information as possible, including the pathology report, so that we can negotiate the best possible rates for you.

NCI Stage

Approx. Size of Tumor

Involvement of Lymph Node

Spread (Metastasis)

Rating

Stage 0

Cancer in mammary ducts

No

No

$5/$1000 for three years w/ mastectomy; otherwise $7/$1000 for five years

Stage 1

Less than 2 cm

No

No

Postponed one year; $7/$1000 for five years

Stage 2

Between 2 and 5 cm

Cancer in axillary lymph nodes

No

Postponed three to five years; Tables 2 to 4 plus $15/$1000 for five to seven years

Stage 3 (A or B)

Bigger than 5 cm with involvement of chest wall and/or skin

Spread beyond axillary lymph nodes

No

Postponed five to ten years; Tables 2 to 4 plus $15/$1000 for five to seven years

Stage 4

Any size

Yes

To bones, lungs, liver, or brains

Declined; consideration after ten year postponement

Other: More than five years since successful treatment

N/A

No

No

Standard

More Information on Breast Cancer

One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer, making this disease the most common cancer for American women. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has come up with a staging system with which to evaluate this cancer. The scale will range from Stage 0 (best) to Stage 4 (worst) depending on the size of the cancer, the involvement of local lymph nodes, the distance of spread (a.k.a., "metastasis").

There are varying degrees of treatments that are used to eradicate breast cancer, ranging from excisional biopsy, where only a small amount of tissue is taken, to radical mastectomy, where all breast tissue and underlying chest muscle are removed. Intermediate surgical procedures include a lumpectomy, a partial mastectomy, and a modified radical mastectomy. In addition to these surgical procedures, radiation therapy, hormone treatment, chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplants are sometimes used to help eliminate any remaining cancer. 

Important Things to Know for Those with Breast Cancer

What are some of the issues that interest underwriters?

  • When was your cancer first diagnosed?

  • How often was your cancer treated, and if applicable, when was last the last treatment?

  • What type of treatment was used?

  • What kind of cancer were you diagnosed with? This should include information about size, spread, involvement of lymph node, etc.

  • Have you followed up with your doctor?

  • Have there been signs of recurrence? 

What can I do to help the underwriting process?

Provide detailed contact information for the doctors and medical facilities that helped treat you for breast cancer. It is vital that you tell your agent the names of all doctors and specialists and that your provide office addresses so that the medical records can be ordered without any delay. If possible take a moment and read your medical records to be sure that they are accurate and exhaustive. Remember, the more information you provide the better.

Need Our Help?

Jon Dewar and his staff at LLG Advanced Insurance Services have extensive experience in helping individuals maneuver the complications of buying life insurance for clients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As was recounted in the true story above, life insurance agents vary tremendously in their skill and experience. It is crucial that you find an independent agent who knows the proper way to word your application, who knows how to design a proper cover letter, and who knows which insurance companies are currently the most lenient on breast cancer survivors.

Please take a moment to fill out our contact form below and let us give you a free consultation over the phone. We can research your specific breast cancer situation with up to 200 life insurance companies and find you the lowest priced, highest quality plan available. We know the right companies to go to and how to interact directly with the underwriters for you during the application process.

Complete the following form, or call us toll-free at 888-854-7526 if you would like to speak with someone or get more information.

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