If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer or your testicular cancer is in remission, finding the right life insurance is challenging.
Testicular cancer is considered an impaired risk in life insurance lingo (also known as high risk life insurance). However, since testicular cancer has a low death rate some specialized insurance companies can and do write life insurance policies for testicular cancer survivors and patients undergoing treatment.
Why Is Testicular Cancer Considered High Risk For Insurance Carriers?
Life insurance companies make most of their profits by insuring healthy people and reinvesting their revenue to create a larger return on capital. Therefore, people with health issues (like cancer) represent a higher risk to life insurance companies, as they are more likely to die during the policy period.
But testicular cancer has a lower death rate than most cancers. So why do life insurance carriers still consider testicular cancer to be higher risk? It’s simple: because testicular cancer can lead to death, life insurance carriers are particularly picky about who they write these policies for and what coverage options they offer.
Let’s look at the facts.
The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 8,720 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2016. About 380 of those men will die, or about 2.2% of all men diagnosed. Even though the mortality rate for testicular cancer is decreasing, the incidence rate of testicular cancer has been increasing for several decades (as shown in the graph below).
On one hand the steady increase in the incidence rate has put insurance underwriters on alert, while some life insurance carriers are still likely to write a policy due to the decreasing mortality rate.
Testicular cancer incidence and rates of mortality in the United States, 1973 to 1995.
Information from Ries LG, Kosary CL, Hankey BF, Miller BA, Edwards BK, eds. SEER cancer statistics review, 1973-1995. Bethesda, Md.: U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Public Health Institute, National Institutes of Health, 1998. Retrieved November 1998 from the World Wide Web: http://www-seer.ims.nci.nih.gov/Publications/CSR7395.
Some other facts about testicular cancer:
- About 1 of every 263 males develop testicular cancer—meaning it’s relatively rare and the market is small—contributing to the small number of insurance carriers that specialize in writing this risk
- The average age at the time of diagnosis is 33
- About 7% of all testicular cancer cases impact children and teens. Another 7% affect men over age 55
- The 5 year survival rate for testicular cancer is nearly 99%
- Testicular cancer can usually be treated successfully
How the Stages of Testicular Cancer Affect Your Life Insurance Rate
The stage of a cancer communicates how far it has spread. The stages of testicular cancer are determined based on:
- Blood tests for tumor markers and imaging tests (including xrays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, bone scans, etc)
- The results of the surgery needed to diagnose the cancer
Since the stage of your cancer will determine the treatment plan and your prognosis, life insurance companies will want to review all of the information related to your unique case when determining your health class and subsequent policy premium.
Testicular cancer uses the TNM staging system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC).
The system is based on 4 criteria:
The T refers to how much the primary tumor has spread to tissues adjacent to the tissue.
The N describes how much the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes.
The M indicates whether the cancer has metastasized.
The S indicates the serum blood levels of tumor markers that are made by some testicular cancers.
The major concern of life insurance carrier is whether or not the cancer has spread from the testicles to the surrounding tissues, or even the bones. If you’ve gone through your treatment protocol and can prove that the cancer hasn’t spread, you’re in good shape to receive a reasonable rate on life insurance.
How to Prepare to Apply for Life Insurance if You Have Testicular Cancer
Your life insurance underwriter will want to know every last detail about the stage of your testicular cancer, the treatment plan and prognosis. More detail is better. If you don’t have a lot of detail the underwriters will assume the worst case scenario.
If you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer, or your cancer in is remission, be sure to collect all of the documents related to your diagnosis and treatment protocol and have them ready when you discuss your life insurance options with your broker.
5 Common Questions Underwriters Will Ask
We’ve already covered some why life insurance carriers consider testicular cancer to be a high risk, how staging affects your life insurance rates, and how to get prepared and organized before applying for life insurance.
Now here’s 5 common questions every underwriter will ask when a testicular cancer patient or survivor applies for life insurance:
1. When were you diagnosed, how many months or years has it been?
2. What treatment protocols were used? Was the treatment aggressive?
3. Have you had any screening done since your treatment was completed? How many?
4. What stage testicular cancer do you or did you have?
5. What are your most recent AFP (alpha fetoprotein) and hCG (human chorionic-gonadotropin) levels?
6. Do you smoke or use tobacco products?
7. Do you suffer from any other medical conditions or take medication for other conditions?
If you can answer all of these questions (as your broker will most likely ask similar questions) you’re ready to apply for life insurance.
Does Testicular Cancer Affect Life Insurance?
The short answer is yes—testicular cancer will impact your life insurance.
Want to get a head start on the process? Take 60 seconds to get a free quote from Big Lou®. Big Lou® has helped thousands of testicular cancer survivors get the right life insurance coverage at a reasonable price.