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Qualifying for Life Insurance After Pancreatic Cancer

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A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event.

There’s little doubt it has altered your way of thinking forever. Along with a newfound respect for the fragility of life, you’re probably wondering what you can do to protect your family.

One answer to question is life insurance. A solid life insurance policy will help protect your loved ones in the event  your pancreatic cancer takes a turn for the worse.

Unfortunately, finding life insurance with any type of cancer is difficult. Life insurance companies look at those with a cancer diagnosis as a much larger risk. Sometimes, a risk they don’t want to take.

Yet it’s not impossible. Many of those with pancreatic cancer can still qualify for affordable life insurance. Even those who don’t seem to have alternative options do still have a choice in their life insurance.

Below we break down the process of buying life insurance with pancreatic cancer on your medical record.

What Pancreatic Cancer Is, And How It Impacts Life Insurance

life insurance with pancreatic cancerTo put it simply, pancreatic cancer is the cancer of the pancreas.

The pancreas is located behind the lower part of your stomach. It’s a small organ which plays a very important role in the digestive process.

The pancreas helps covert the food you eat into energy to feed your body’s cells. It releases enzymes into your system which helps break down this food for easier conversion.

Though aiding the digestive process is the main function of the pancreas, it’s also notable for regulating blood sugar. It does this by releasing certain hormones into your body, such as insulin.

It’s what prevents your body from hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Fortunately, there are less than 200,000 cases of pancreatic cancer in the United States every year. The rare form of cancer always requires a professional diagnosis from a doctor.

One of the biggest problems with pancreatic cancer is the lack of symptoms early on. Most people won’t experience any symptoms before the problem becomes more severe.

Later symptoms include lack of appetite accompanied by weight loss. However, not even these late-stage symptoms always appear.

Other symptoms include pain in the abdomen and back. Fatigue, dark urine, and yellow skin sometimes occur as well.

The lack of symptoms early on means many people get diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in a later state of its development.

These late diagnoses mean treating pancreatic cancer can be more difficult. The most common treatment types include:

  • removing the pancreas
  • radiation
  • chemotherapy

It’s essential to note pancreatic cancer is difficult to cure. Most people with the cancer will experience a shortened lifespan, although new research, technologies, and treatments have been increasing the survival rate each year.

All of this means those looking for life insurance after pancreatic cancer will find getting traditional coverage more difficult, as well.

Who Gets Pancreatic Cancer?

Certain people are more likely to get pancreatic cancer than others.

Chief among these are those over 65 years old. The rates of pancreatic cancer skyrocket in this age group (though it’s still a rare form of cancer).

Other common risk factors include a family history of pancreatic cancer, or a family history of genetic syndromes which have been linked to increased cancer risk in general.

Two risk factors which  can be somewhat controlled are smoking and obesity. Both those who smoke and those those who are obese are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

You can reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer by quitting smoking, choosing a healthy diet, and exercising on a regular basis.

Those who are at a greater risk for pancreatic cancer, especially those with a history of the disease in the family, should strongly consider quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even before applying.

Questions You’ll Be Asked

The main step in applying for life insurance is filling out the application.

The application generally consists of a list of basic questions you must supply answers to.

Your answers to these questions are then reviewed by an underwriter. It’s the underwriter’s job to use these answers to assess your overall risk as a client.

You can expect to start by answering several general questions. The subjects of these include your general health and lifestyle, including whether or not you smoke.

Make sure to answer honestly. It’s especially important to answer as truthfully and factually as possible about your pancreatic cancer.

Once you mention you have pancreatic cancer, you’ll be asked several additional questions about this specific issue.

These questions span a wide range depending on the specific life insurance provider, but you can expect to be asked:

  1. When was your pancreatic cancer was diagnosed?
  2. What were the initial symptoms?
  3. What are your current symptoms?
  4. What treatments or medication do you take?
  5. What is your prognosis?

As mentioned above, the life insurance underwriter closely reviews your answers to these questions.

They then decide whether or not you’re a worthwhile risk to the company. If they do decide you’re worth the risk, they’ll assess you a rate class which will determine your monthly premium.

The Application and Approval Process

The application process for life insurance with pancreatic cancer is straightforward.

You simply answer a list of questions regarding your overall health and your pancreatic cancer in particular.

The next step is waiting. You’ll likely wait between 4 and 6 weeks for a response. The response will include an approval (or denial), as well as your rating.

Almost all companies will require you to fill out a paper application. This is the traditional method of life insurance application.

Though some life insurance companies now offer online applications, you’ll usually be required to use the old-fashioned method if you have a serious disease or illness like pancreatic cancer.

Some of these companies even offer expedited approvals, though for someone with a history of pancreatic cancer, you’ll be limited to guaranteed issue types of policies.

Your Life Insurance Possibilities & Ratings

Finding traditional life insurance with pancreatic cancer will be extremely tough, though it might be the cheapest in the long run.

The fact is, pancreatic cancer is rarely completely cured. Though treatments can greatly prolong your expected lifespan, the cancer will likely still be there.

This is why the majority of life insurance companies don’t insure those who have pancreatic cancer.

It’s simply too risky for them to take on.

However, there’s still a chance it can happen. This is why we always recommend looking to traditional life insurance companies, even if the opportunities look bleak.

Those who are accepted will have to show an exceptional recovery, as well be able to prove their pancreatic cancer was diagnosed in the very early stages (a difficult feat).

And even if you do qualify for traditional coverage, you can expect to be in one of the lower rate classes, which means paying higher monthly rates.

A much more likely scenario is you’ll be denied coverage – but it’s just from a traditional policy. You’re still able to qualify for guaranteed life insurance.

A guaranteed life insurance policy is available to almost anyone. The downside is it comes at a higher premium and has lower policy limits.

Find the Best Life Insurance, For You

If you hope to find the best life insurance some stage of pancreatic cancer, your best bet is to start doing your research today.

Look for those companies with the strongest history of insuring those with serious diseases and illnesses like pancreatic cancer. Target these companies first with your applications.

We can help you with the process from beginning to end.

Gather your medical records to have on hand while applying.

Go in and receive an updated medical exam if you haven’t recently.

There’s no harm in applying for traditional coverage with pancreatic cancer, even though your chances of qualifying may be slim.

If you aren’t approved for a traditional policy, a guaranteed life insurance policy is certainly an alternative which is well worth looking into.

Contact us for any questions you may have.


Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.