Life Insurance after Cancer

Surviving cancer is, no doubt, an experience equally harrowing and life affirming.

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Surviving cancer is, no doubt, an experience equally harrowing and life affirming. Emerging on the other side of such a terrible illness can make us feel happier than ever to be alive, but at the same time clinging more tightly to the things we love. And when current models predict that around half of all people will suffer some form of cancer in their lifetime,1 life insurance cover for cancer sufferers is really important. Many who have survived cancer believe that they will not be able to obtain life insurance, at a time when they may want it more than ever.

This is far from the case. There are many life insurance policies available to those who have recovered from cancer and cancer treatment. Cancer comes in many forms, so the first thing to point out is that the life insurance you can secure after having cancer will depend on the type and severity of your condition.

So, read on to find out how your cancer might affect your life insurance.

Life insurance after cancer

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First of all, providers will require you to be completely finished with cancer treatment and for a certain amount of time to have elapsed since your last treatment. This is to show that your condition has stabilised, and that the cancer shows no signs of returning. For many types of cancer, this period is 24 months after the completion of treatment. The period can be much longer, however, up to 10 years in some cases.

There are some cases where someone who has recovered from cancer may be denied cover by most major providers. Cancers of a certain severity, such as malignant brain tumours, or cancers which resulted in additional medical complications, may exclude you from cover by most policies.

It’s really essential to compare as many quotes as you can to find the best cover for you after your cancer treatment. There likely will be options available to you if your cancer was not extremely severe.

High risk and pre-existing conditions

Most insurers will consider a former battle with cancer to be a pre-existing condition. Therefore, you are assessed as being at higher risk for the policy. This doesn’t always mean you won’t be able to secure a policy at all. Again, extremely severe cases may exclude you from cover, but you should always check with multiple providers.

In any case, being considered a high risk means that the cost of your policy will go up. Your monthly premiums will be higher, since you are considered to have a pre-existing condition.

Brokers regulated by the FCA are able to compare panels of insurers to find the one that best suits your individual needs. There are many providers and each of them will have differing policies, so using a broker to compare quotes is the best choice for you with a pre-existing condition.

But with over 200 types of cancer now prevalent,2 knowing how your individual condition will affect your policy is difficult to know.

Factors affecting life insurance after cancer

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Of all the many different forms of cancer, each of those also has different stages and severities. It’s very difficult to give a particular overview of how each type of cancer is likely to affect your life insurance prospects, but I will attempt to break down the major factors.

Grade and progression

Typically, cancers are given a grade and stage when diagnosed. Breast cancer, for example, one of the most common types of cancer, goes through multiple stages and this will affect your ability to get life insurance.

If your cancer progressed and metastised at a fast rate or to a great degree, affordable cover may be hard to find. If the cancer reaches a severe grade, many providers will require you to have finished treatment at least ten years before taking out a policy with them.

Age and recurrence

Age plays an important role in whether you will be able to secure certain policies. The age of your first diagnosis, as well as whether the cancer has been treated and then returned, will be key considerations in your policy assessment.


Today, there are a wider range of treatments available, from surgery to chemotherapy. Experimental treatments and drugs are always being developed.

The implications of each treatment can be very different, and some can have long lasting effects on our health. Therefore, the extent and degree of treatment you received is likely to play a big part in determining your particular policy.

Lung cancer is another of the most common forms of cancer, and is often treated with chemotherapy. Providers usually ask that you wait a period of 24 months after the completion of your treatment for lung cancer before you are able to sign up for a policy.

All clear

One of the biggest factors influencing life insurance after cancer is the time that has elapsed since you were given the all clear. For the most serious and severe types of cancer, some providers will not offer you a policy no matter how much time has passed.

In some very minor cases of cancer, 2-3 years after you have been given the all clear will be an acceptable amount of time. As mentioned, in some cases it may be up to a decade before you are eligible for policies.

In some cases, though, even with common and serious cancers such as prostate cancer, policy underwriters can provide cover only a year after you have received the all clear.

Life insurance cover is available for those who have recovered from cancer. That is the bottom line. Depending on the type and severity of your particular condition, you may find it harder to secure a policy, but comparing quotes and providers is always worth the time. You don’t have to let your past condition dictate your future. Take a look at what is available using regulated brokers, and you will be able to find a suitable policy to protect your loved ones.


  2. Ibid.