Prostate Cancer isn’t just common in men. It’s been said that most men will have prostate cancer before they die, and many of them will never know it. The reason is that a low stage, low grade prostate cancer may not impact your life or really your health, at all. A man could literally have prostate cancer that could be detected in his 60’s but never know it because, in the absence of symptoms, no biopsy would ever be done. They could live to their 80’s or 90’s and die of something completely unrelated.
But it can, of course, also kill you. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, but the third most likely to cause death behind pancreatic and colorectal cancer. 1 in 6 men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from it, while colorectal cancer claims 1 in 3 diagnosed and pancreatic cancer kills almost 90%.
These numbers are not lost on life insurance underwriters. They know that early detection and effective treatment options make prostate cancer risk life insurance both easy and accurate to underwrite. At Risk Life we have been advocating approval for years even for those who choose not to treat prostate cancer. Called watchful waiting it is often recommended by doctors when they know the cancer is slow growing and not aggressive. Watchful waiting is simply keeping an eye on the problem knowing that as we mentioned above, there is a reasonable chance that a person will never even have symptoms, let alone die from prostate cancer. And with watchful waiting, a regimen of just keeping track of the PSA, prostate specific antigen, when cancer has been diagnosed, if there is a change it will be seen and treated before it can get out of hand.
Just in the last year life insurance underwriting has shifted to allow watchful waiting under certain circumstances. We expect this to broaden as the medical knowledge of the disease broadens, but as it sits now, approval for watchful waiting can be found for low stage and grade prostate cancer in older men. The first company to allow the approval said age 70 but we’ve seen signs of that being stretched already.
When men choose to treat cancer there are options of radiation beam therapy, radioactive seed implant and radical prostatectomy. Until recently there have been thresholds of PSA that needed to be met after treatment. With most companies a waiting period of anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for that mark had to be maintained. For radical prostatectomy the PSA had to be 0 and with other treatments .5. With more effective treatment and certainty of outcome there are now companies that will approve upon successful completion of treatment. That means that once the thresholds are met, the underwriting can begin.
New players in the arena that are catching underwriting attention are the PCA3 test and PHI test. Unlike PSA these tests are not designed just to reveal an abnormality in the prostate system, but a gene that is linked only to the presence of cancer. This, in the near future, should cut down on unnecessary biopsies dramatically.
P.S. The breakthroughs in detection and treatment of prostate cancer are putting the disease in its’ proper place in cancer risk underwriting. There is now widespread recognition with cutting edge life insurance companies that low stage and grade prostate cancer can be underwritten sooner and more aggressively. If you have any questions or don’t believe your agent has done a thorough job of finding the approval you deserve, call or email us directly. We can help.
There are no comments on this entry.
There are no trackbacks on this entry.