Jeff is a well-known speaker and expert in life insurance and financial planning. He has been featured and quoted in Nerdwallet, Bloomberg, Forbes, U.S. News & Money, USA Today, and other leading finance websites. He is a licensed life insurance agent and has helped over 3000 people secure life insurance. He is licensed in all 50 states & DC. Jeff has spoken at top insurance conferen...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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We want to take a minute to talk to you about a subject that many life insurance agents don’t talk about positively: cancer.

Now, we understand that there is nothing positive about cancer, but we believe that this negativity doesn’t have to carry over into your search for affordable life insurance.

You can find an affordable premium if you have been diagnosed with cancer, and you can find a policy size that adequately protects you and your family.

Can You Get Life Insurance When You Have Cancer?

It can be frightening to think of the road ahead after a cancer diagnosis – especially if you have to face this road without the cover of life insurance protection. This uncertainty can add extra stress to an already trying time for you and your loved ones.

If you have been told you cannot get covered after a cancer diagnosis, or you have felt dejected by too-high premiums, we are here to tell you that we can help.

In this article, we’ll talk about some general concepts surrounding cancer and how you can find the best coverage for your situation.

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What Is Cancer?

Cancer is caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body. In order to understand this definition, we have to first understand how a cell works.

Cells are the most basic building blocks of human life. We are comprised entirely of cells, and these tiny complex structures that work together to form tissues.

Tissues make up the organs and matter in our brain. Essentially, cells are what keeps us alive.

Cells are made up of smaller units, known as organelles. These organelles go by many different names, and each perform different functions in order to keep the cell healthy and functioning.

A healthy and active cell cycles through a life cycle of its own: growth, division and cell death. At any given time in our bodies, the 37.2 trillion cells in our bodies are living lives of their own.

When a cell is abnormal, it functions a bit differently. Abnormal cells are unable to repair themselves but attempt to continue the cell cycle process, growing and dividing continuously. When these cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably, they form a tumor.

The majority of tumors are benign, or noncancerous. Once these tumors are removed, they typically don’t cause any further trouble.

Cancerous, or malignant, tumors are tumors that damage the surrounding tissue and cells. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1, 685, 201 new cancer cases diagnosed in 2016.

While certain lifestyle choices – such as smoking and obesity – can increase the likelihood of developing cancer, cancer can occur in anyone, even an incredibly healthy individual.

Cancerous cells are biopsied and studied under a microscope and are summarized in a pathology report, where they are then graded.

A cancerous cell’s “grade” refers to how aggressive it is, or it’s likelihood to spread to other parts of the body.  The higher a cancer is graded, the greater its likeliness to spread.

In addition to grades, cancers are also assigned a stage. Cancer’s stage refers to its size, regional lymph node spread and distant spread, also known as metastasis.

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Cancer and Life Insurance

The problem with shopping for life insurance after a cancer diagnosis is that it is incredibly difficult to estimate which carrier will cover you and your unique situation. Each medically underwritten exam should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

In terms of underwriting, the easiest way to get the best ratings is to maintain excellent health and regularly visit your physician, as early detection is the key to treating cancer and preventing recurrence. In some instances, such as with prostate cancer, the cancer grows so slowly that it doesn’t even need to be treated.

In these cases, routine doctor visits and update medical records should be provided to your agent. Provided there are no significant changes to your cancer and you remain in good health, preferred ratings are possible.

Should you need to undergo treatment, certain carriers will favor certain treatment types over others. For example, you may encounter a carrier who will favorably assess the risk of radiation therapy, but not chemotherapy.

There are as many life insurance carriers out there as there are types of cancers, such as:

This is why it’s so difficult to pin down how your unique situation will impact your life insurance premium.

We’d like to take a moment to point out that, even after a cancer diagnosis, we recommend undergoing a medically underwritten life insurance exam.

Guaranteed life insurance exams will automatically leave you with high premiums and a low policy, and it is always worth it to do a bit of extra research on which life insurance companies will cover you.

You’re Not Alone

A cancer diagnosis can throw the whole world into sharp relief. You may experience depression, anger or sadness after your diagnosis. It’s common to feel like you’re going through your treatment completely alone.

It is important to us to let you know that you are not alone. There are people who are here to help, people just like our agents.

Our agents know what you’re going through, and we have worked hard to create a network of support so that your life insurance search doesn’t add to what you’re going through. We are not just here to find your life insurance; we are here to lend an ear, give advice and support you during this trying time.

An independent life insurance agent can explain to you how your risk is assessed and can explain to underwriters that you are so much more than your risk. It’s this personal touch that gets our clients the best insurance ratings and coverage every time. With a little patience and some help from an expert, you and your family don’t have to worry about not being protected.

Your cancer does not define you, and it shouldn’t define your life insurance coverage. Give us a call today and let us help you get covered.