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Can a cancer survivor be approved for life insurance? The short answer is yes, but not always.

You shouldn’t discount your chances of obtaining a life insurance policy with an affordable premium simply because you have had cancer in the past. Whether you will be approved depends on a variety of factors. Not every instance of cancer is the same. Here are some basic guidelines that I’ve learned from 20 years of experience which has included many applications for cancer survivors with both favorable and not so favorable outcomes.

The first thing I need are all the details. Specific answers are required such as:

  • When were you first diagnosed?
  • What stage cancer you had?
  • Was it metastasized?
  • How long it’s been since treatment was stopped?
  • Do you still go for follow up visits?
  • What are the names of all the doctor’s that treated you.

There is a waiting period from the time you were last treated to the time the insurance company will consider your application. The minimum is 2 years and for some types of cancers, they might want a 10 year window to have passed.

Life insurance for Cancer survivors

Here’s a list of cancers that have a shorter time period that I’ve had success with underwriting.

  • Prostate cancer where the PSA is now zero
  • Breast cancer if the cancer was not metastasized
  • Testicular cancer that had not spread
  • Stage 1 or 2 cancers that had not spread

I also have some simplified issue whole life policies that only require it to have been two years since you were last treated any type of cancer.

The bottom line is this: if you are a cancer survivor, don’t count yourself out of the life insurance game or assume you will be required to pay a premium that is cost prohibitive. Go to and browse through some quotes at the Standard Rating. Then give me a call so we can discuss your situation. The more details I know, the better I will be able to help you.

One final word of advice to cancer survivors: don’t blindly send an application to an insurance company and hope for the best. You will not be helping yourself if you get declined with your first try. In some situations we will send a trial application to an underwriter to get a preliminary opinion. I have access to in-house underwriters that will review your situation and can talk directly with the insurance company and sometimes negotiate the details of your case.

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