Life Insurance After Cervical Cancer
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Being diagnosed with cervical cancer is something that often makes people stop and think hard about different parts of their life. There will be the worry over how you and your family will cope and uncertainty over what the future holds.
We want to be able to give you the support that you need, by taking the stress of insurance away.
Things we need to know:
- The staging and grading of the cancer
- When you were diagnosed
- The treatment that you had
- When you last had treatment
When you have had cervical cancer, life insurance (also known as term life insurance) may not be something that you think is going to be available to you. You may think that insurers think that you are too ‘high risk’ to have life insurance cover.
We regularly help people that have had cancer to arrange insurance. There is no one clear insurer that stands out as being a cancer champion, within the insurance world. Your chance of getting life insurance really comes down to your individual circumstances.
Applications for life cover after having had cervical cancer are going to focus on some key details about your health. The life insurance company is going to want to know the staging and grading your cancer was diagnosed at, the treatment schedule that you had and any lasting complications that you experience. Insurers are also really keen on dates.
They also like to know when you were diagnosed, how long your treatment lasted, when you last had treatment and the time since you were given the all clear.
Where the cervical cancer was a low staging/grading and quite a few years have passed, some insurers might be able to offer you life insurance at what is known as normal terms (standard life insurance offer). For cancers that were diagnosed at a higher classification, or where recent treatment has taken place, it’s more likely that insurers will consider offering terms at a higher premium (a non-standard rating).
There are times when insurance companies may choose to postpone your application until a bit more time has passed since you had cancer, before they can offer you life insurance. It is possible that some insurers may decline the application.
This is why we are here to help, to do the research and place you with an insurer, that isn’t going to say no.
Ultimately, the terms that you are offered will depend upon the stage of the cancer, the period of time that has passed and the specific insurers life insurance underwriting rules.
Whilst this is never easy to hear, if you have been declined insurance in the past please do not see this as the end of the road. There are a number of specialist insurers that can be looked at for your life insurance and it is often worth seeing what they have to offer, even if in the end you decide it’s not right for you.
Critical illness cover pays out a cash lump sum of money, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that is listed in the insurer’s claims set e.g. cancer, heart attack, stroke.
Critical illness applications are going to be applied for in a similar way to life insurance. But, one of the key conditions to claim for with critical illness cover is cancer. Given that you have had cervical cancer in the past, it is something that insurers will probably want to take a little more time to consider.
As with life insurance, applications critical illness cover with most insurers will require the support of documentation from your GP. This may sound a pain, but it is something that we quite like. The report is paid for by the insurer and is a form that asks your GP to clarify and confirm your health history and how your current health is.
The good thing about a GP report supporting your application, is that you can then feel confident that the insurer makes their decision about the insurance based upon your official medical records. That means that there won’t be the worry that you have gotten the name or dates of your treatment wrong.
It is likely that any form of critical illness cover that you are offered will come with a cancer exclusion to the policy, it may also have a premium increase. As with life insurance, some insurers may offer you the policy, some may postpone or decline. But there are options out there that we have access to and we can support you to get past any hurdles along the way.
Income protection pays you a replacement of your monthly income, if you are unable to work due to ill health.
Income protection is a policy that can be arranged in so many different ways, that there can be a number of different routes to try for your cover.
Similarly to above, the insurers are going to want to know the staging/grading of the cervical cancer, treatments, timings and how you are now. For income protection there will also be the question over how much time you have had off work due to the cancer and potentially any other condition that you have.
You might find that having had a low staging/grading cancer a good while ago, will have little impact on your application. You may find that some insurers can consider standard terms for cover.
For people that have had higher staging/grading of cancer, there may be the potential to find income protection with a cancer exclusion and/or a premium increase to the policy.
You may find that the options for income protection for you don’t feel right. Some people are ok with premium increases (ok, not ok, but they understand why it has happened) whilst others simply do not want to pay more for the insurance.
You may find yourself in the situation where your income protection application is postponed and we need to look at alternative routes. This is where our team can really help by researching the market and getting you the cover that you need.
There is the potential to look at something known as Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover. This policy will provide short term income protection of between 12-24 months if you are unable to work due to disability, severe illness or are made involuntarily redundant.
The reason that you might want to look at this, is because it is not medically underwritten, so your history of cervical cancer, will not affect the premiums. But, these policies will exclude any claim relating to cancer.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45. Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. HPV is a very common virus that can be passed on through any type of sexual contact with a man or a woman.
There are more than 100 types of HPV, many of which are harmless. But some types can cause abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix, which can eventually lead to cervical cancer. Two strains, HPV 16 and HPV 18, are known to be responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. They do not have any symptoms, so women will not realise they have it. But these infections are very common and most women who have them do not develop cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer can be diagnosed following a pap test or smear test which can detect abnormal cells in the cervix; having abnormal cells does not necessarily mean that you have cancer cells. Smear tests are designed to help diagnose pre-cancerous cells so that medical intervention can take place and hopefully prevent cervical cancer from developing. There are different stages of cervical cancer, from 1 to 4, the higher the number someone is diagnosed at, the more progressed the cancer is.
Unusual bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge. If the cancer spreads out of your cervix and into surrounding tissue and organs, it can trigger a range of other symptoms, including:
- Blood in your urine (haematuria)
- Bone pain
- Changes to your bladder and bowel habits
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
- Severe pain in your side or back caused by swelling in your kidneys, related to a condition called hydronephrosis
- Swelling of one of your legs
- Tiredness and a lack of energy
- Weight loss
- Paclitaxel (Taxol)
- PC (paclitaxel and carboplatin, CarboTaxol)
- Topotecan (Hycamtin, Potactasol)
- Carboplatin and etoposide
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Surgery – trachelectomy or hysterectomy
Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have had cervical cancer include:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Low self esteem
- Lymphoedema – Damage to the lymph (fluid) channels within the pelvis
- Pelvic radiation disease (PRD) – A side effect of radiotherapy treatment
Hi, I’m sorry to hear that this has been your experience with insurance so far, and that things do not seem to have been discussed thoroughly with you. I would need to chat with you more about your exact circumstances to fully understand why some insurers have declined your application.
When it comes to protection insurances, the insurers take a number of factors into their decisions e.g. the staging and grading of the cancer, the time since you last had treatment, how your overall health is now. I know it may seem like you have already been through all of this, and there is no point, but there are so many insurers out there that it is worth exploring more options.
We do not advise on travel insurance, but we can put you in touch with people that can help. We can chat to you about other insurances that can help put in place some financial security for funeral costs, mortgage liabilities, and to take care of your family if you were to die or fall seriously ill.
A lot of these insurances now come with some enhanced medical support that you can access at any point during your policy. Whilst these are not your original thoughts for insurance, it can sometimes be good to chat about these options and what they can do for you, even if you decide that they are not really your kind of thing.
The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5 out of 5 based on 374 reviews.
Review by Eleanor on 7th November 2019
“Kathryn and her team helped me to get the life insurance that I was struggling to find on my own because of my medical history. They were friendly and professional throughout the process and kept me regularly updated on what was going on between the insurer and my GP who needed to give a report. I'm very pleased with the outcome and would recommend Cura to anyone whose medical history is making it difficult to find life insurance.” - 5
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