No matter your age, a bladder cancer diagnosis (or any cancer, for that matter) can be absolutely devastating to receive. Especially if you had put off getting life insurance and then got diagnosed.
Now, you have to worry about treatment plans, possible surgery, hospital stays, and other health concerns that may happen along the way. Add the frustration of not having a life insurance plan in place, and we can only imagine the stress you must be feeling.
Even if you put off getting your life insurance before, we can tell you that not all hope is lost. It is possible to get life insurance with bladder cancer. It might not be as much coverage as you want and the price might be more expensive, but we can help you get a plan in place for peace of mind if the unthinkable does happen.
Let’s take a look at what bladder cancer is, the stages involved, and what your chances are of getting life insurance with a bladder cancer diagnosis.
What is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer, or bladder carcinoma, is a type of cancer that starts in the bladder. If caught early enough, it will stay contained to the bladder. If not, then it can spread to other organs in the body and even the lymph nodes.
Carcinoma of the bladder is rare, with less than 200,000 cases reported each year. Your risk of getting this type of cancer increases as you age, and is most frequently found in older adults age 60 and above.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, it is the sixth most common form of cancer in the United States. It affects men as much as four times more than women and is found most often in Caucasians.
The most common symptom of bladder carcinoma is blood in the urine, but other symptoms include:
- Back pain
- Pain while urinating
- Frequent and urgent urination
- Pain in the lower abdomen
Types of Bladder Cancer
As with other cancers, bladder carcinoma has different types including:
- Urothelial carcinoma (transitional cell carcinoma) – the most common type of bladder carcinoma, it is contained in the inner bladder lining but can be in any part of the urinary tract system
- Squamous cell carcinoma – this invasive form of cancer only affects 1 – 2% of patients
- Adenocarcinoma – this is also an invasive form of cancer that affects about 1% of diagnosed patients
- Small cell carcinoma – affects less than 1% of patients but is aggressive and spreads quickly, found in the neuroendocrine cells
- Sarcoma – the rarest form of bladder carcinoma which starts in the muscle cells of the bladder
If cancer is considered invasive, it means that it has grown into the deep layers of the many walls of the bladder. It is harder to treat and more likely to spread than non-invasive cancer.
Stages of Bladder Cancer
Cancer is diagnosed in stages, with the lowest number being the best case scenario and the highest being the worst.
- 0 – also called carcinoma in situ, this stage cancer has either grown toward the hollow center of the bladder or has grown in the inner lining of the bladder wall only. It has not spread to the lymph nodes or other organs
- I – the cancer is under the lining of the bladder in connective tissue but has not spread to the lymph nodes or other organs
- II – cancer is in either the inner or outer layer of the bladder wall but hasn’t reached the fatty tissue or spread to lymph nodes or elsewhere
- III – there are several different ways this stage can present itself, either in the lining, connective tissue or the muscle layer, and it may have spread to one or more lymph nodes but has not spread further
- IV – in this stage, cancer has reached throughout the walls of the bladder and may have spread to lymph nodes and other organs of the body
The stage and severity of your cancer will determine the type of treatment, which can include one or more of the following:
- Intravesical therapy
- Targeted therapy drugs
The good news about bladder carcinoma is that it is curable if caught early enough. If it is caught at Stage 0 or I, you might be able to get away with just taking therapy drugs and/or surgery to remove the cancerous cells.
People who are diagnosed at later stages will likely have to undergo surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Their risk of mortality is much higher and may or may not respond to treatment.
If you have any of the symptoms above, especially blood in the urine, you will want to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to rule out cancer of the bladder.
Preparing for the Application Process
When you apply for a traditional life insurance policy, there is a standard set of questions you will be asked. If you’ve had a bladder carcinoma diagnosis, there will be additional questions you need to be prepared to answer.
- How old were you when you were diagnosed?
- How long ago was your diagnosis?
- What treatment plan did your doctor prescribe?
- What stage of cancer were you diagnosed with?
- If your cancer was cured, how long ago was it?
- What is your doctors’ information (include any specialty doctors)?
- Did you have any recurrences?
- What were the results of your most recent blood work and screening?
- Do you have a family history of cancer?
- Have you ever had cancer before? If so, what kind and when?
- Do you smoke?
Having this information ready and available will make the application process go smoother and quicker.
The Underwriting Process for Life Insurance with Bladder Cancer
Once your life insurance application is submitted, it will be assigned to an underwriter who will review your case and make a final determination on whether you are approved and what rate you will receive.
They will request your medical records from your doctor(s) and review them along with your application information. You will also have to complete a medical exam. Once those results are reviewed along with the rest of your information, they will make their decision. Their decision will include a rate and premium based on your specific medical history and mortality risk you pose to the company.
What Rate Can I Expect to Get?
Not an option. Unfortunately, this discounted rate is not an option for someone who was diagnosed with any stage of bladder carcinoma. Even if you’ve been cured and it’s been greater than 24 months.
Also not an option. Bladder carcinoma is something that most life insurance companies think is too high risk for recurrence and they don’t want to take their chances on you. Even if you are the healthiest person and were diagnosed and cured at Stage 0, don’t expect this rate.
Possible, but not likely. A standard rating is the best pricing option available to you with a bladder carcinoma diagnosis. You will have had to be diagnosed with a low stage and been cancer free with no recurrence greater than 24 months, and be in otherwise perfect health. A family history of any form of cancer can also keep you from getting a standard rating on your policy.
Substandard (Table Rating)
Most likely. Depending on the stage and how long ago you were cured, you will receive either a low table rating (better pricing) or a high table rating (more expensive). If your cancer was Stage II or above, this is the best possible rating you can get with a traditional life insurance company.
The likelihood of being denied for insurance with bladder cancer is high. We can tell you that if you’ve been diagnosed with this type of cancer and are still undergoing treatment, you will not be approved for a traditional life insurance policy. It is best to wait until it has been at least 24 months or more since your cancer has been cured.
Even then, you will not be approved unless you have no other health issues and are in great physical health. If you were diagnosed with Stage IV, you will likely not be approved at all for traditional life insurance, no matter how long it’s been since it was cured.
Other Options For Life Insurance with Bladder Cancer?
Given the high likelihood that you will get a table rated policy or be denied, traditional life insurance might not be the best option for you. If you’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer, you should speak with one of our life insurance agents before applying. They can provide you the best companies who work with individuals who have cancer history to give you the best chance of getting approved for a policy you can afford.
If no traditional life insurance company can be found to approve your case, there are additional options available. One is a simplified issue life insurance policy, and the other is a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
The simplified issue life insurance policy offers a larger death benefit option with lower rates than the guaranteed issue, but there are some health questions you will need to answer. Nothing like a traditional application, but be sure to speak with the agent helping you to find out what the questions are to see if you have a chance of qualifying before you apply. There is no medical exam to go through with this policy.
If a simplified issued policy is not an option, you can go with the guaranteed issued option. This is the most expensive policy with the lowest death benefit option but does not have any medical questions or exam to complete. As long as you meet the age requirement, this type of policy is offered in your state, and you can afford the premiums, you will be approved and the policy will be issued.
Any Tips to Increase My Chances of Getting Approved?
The greatest tip we can offer is to be aware of the symptoms and get checked as soon as you have one. Early detection is the best way to be able to find cancer in the earliest stages. It gives you the highest chance of becoming cured and living a longer life with your family.
Eat healthy foods, stay active, and avoid smoking or vaping. Not only do these factors help you get the best approval rating possible with life insurance, they also increase your chances of living a longer, happier life.
When the life insurance company can see that you have put in the effort to be healthy as you age, your risk is lower and they will be more likely to insure you with competitive pricing.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder it is almost too late to get good life insurance rates. So, if you don’t have a plan in place already, now is the best time to do it!
Speak with one of our agents and go online to get a quote – before it’s too late.