It’s no secret within the life insurance industry and to those shopping for life insurance that the older you get, the more difficult it is to find affordable premiums and to earn a low-risk rating.
This is because mortality risk increases the older an individual gets.
How Bladder Cancer Affects Life Insurance
As you age, the risk for developing cancer also increases, particularly bladder cancer. Over 55,000 individuals each year are diagnosed with bladder cancer, and roughly 10,00 lives are lost due to the disease.
This type of cancer is most common in individuals over the age of 50, presenting aging individuals with even more of a challenge when it comes to finding affordable life insurance.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder and are looking for affordable life insurance, we can help. Below, we’ve listed some of the common facts about bladder insurance as well as the information your insurance agent will want to know before presenting your case to carriers.
What Is Bladder Cancer?
Cancer is caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body. Typically, the life cycle of a cell involves three main steps: growth, division, and death. When a cell grows old or becomes damaged, it dies out and new cells take its place.
Occasionally, abnormal cells persist instead of dying out, causing new cells to grow uncontrollably. This is how tumors are formed. This process can occur anywhere in the body.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
When cancer forms in the bladder, it typically causes hematuria. If you’ll recall from our earlier article, hematuria is blood in the urine.
If hematuria occurs, doctors will typically test for bladder cancer by inserting a cystoscope into the urethra to test for the presence of tumors.
Most bladder cancer – 90%, in fact – falls under the category of transitional cell carcinoma, meaning it occurs in the urinary system.
However, some bladder cancers can be classified as:
- Papillary (found in the thyroid)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (a form of skin cancer)
- Adenocarcinoma (found in the glands)
Unfortunately, these latter three classifications are rated higher, as they have a poorer diagnosis.
How Common Is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is nearly three times more common in men than in women, and smoking has been linked to its formation. Additionally, the disease is also common among those individuals who visit the tropics, as schistosomiasis (a disease caused by parasitic contamination of freshwater in these areas) is pointed to as a cause for bladder cancer’s development.
Frequently, bladder cancer is diagnosed early, while it is still treatable; however, if it spreads beyond the bladder wall, the survival rate past five years is less than half.
Underwriting Bladder Cancer
Underwriting cancer can be very tricky, especially bladder cancer. Typically, underwriters and insurers will look at three things:
- The stage of the cancer
- The grade of the cancer
- The exact type of cancer
The Stages of Cancer
The stage of the cancer refers to how large the cancer has grown and how far it reaches into, or beyond, the bladder wall. There are six stages that are commonly used to asses cancer:
- Stage 0: This is the only non-invasive form of cancer on this list. That means it has not invaded surrounding healthy cells, tissues or blood vessels. Typically, a tumor that is Stage 0 will be found only in the inner lining of the bladder and, after its removal, no swelling or lumps will be felt during an internal examination.
- Stage I: This stage refers to cancer that has spread further into the lining but not into the muscular wall of the bladder.
- Stage II refers to cancer cells that have spread to the muscular wall of the bladder
- Stage III cancer cells have spread further into the muscular wall of the bladder or to the surrounding tissue. Those diagnosed with Stage III may also experience swelling or lumps after the cancer’s removal.
- Stage IV cancer refers to cancer cells that have metastasized to the surrounding reproductive organs or other parts of the body.
- Recurrent cancer is cancer that has returned to the treated portion of the body.
The Grades of Cancer
A cancer’s “grade” refers to how aggressive the cancer is. The tumor aggressivity is typically determined by a biopsy, a given a grade on a scale from 1 to 4.
If the cancer is graded Grade I or Grade II, this means the tumor cells appear close to normal. Typically, these tumor cells grow slowly.
Grades III and IV; however, indicate a rapid growth and spread rate of the tumor.
All of these factors are then assessed and a rating is given accordingly. For an individual with Stage 0 cancer, it is possible to achieve a “standard” rating with a flat fee added on. A flat fee is an additional charge tacked on to your life insurance premium, based on your risk.
While the type, stage, and grade of cancer is important, your agent and carrier will also want to know a few additional details before rating you.
The date of your diagnosis and the treatment options chosen to treat your cancer are also important factors. Additionally, the presence of other forms of cancer or other diseases, as well as any medications you are currently taking will all be taken into consideration when you are being medically underwritten with bladder cancer.
How To Find Life Insurance with Bladder Cancer
Dealing with cancer is scary and difficult. Finding life insurance shouldn’t add to your stress.
We understand that you and your family are facing a trying time, and we are here to help. Our agents are experts in finding life insurance for individuals with bladder cancer, often at reasonable rates.
Let us help you find the coverage you need to take care of your family and loved ones.
Don’t just fill out the instant quote form, either; give us a call! We’re the best in the business because we add something that other agents and companies don’t: a personal touch. What’s more, we only work with carriers who share our values and the belief that an individual is more than a risk class.
Additionally, if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, know you are not alone. There are resources to help individuals with cancer. Please visit the American Cancer Society’s website for information on treatment options and support groups.