We received an informal inquiry in January 2012 for a male with a history of recurrent prostate cancer. Our underwriter
knew this would be a difficult case. In reviewing the file, our underwriter found a couple of positive factors: the client’s current age (69) and the low
prostate-specific antigen (PSA) results since the second treatment. Because of these favorable factors, our underwriter remained optimistic and shopped the case to several carriers.
While a number of treatments are available for a client with prostate cancer
, some are considered mainstream while others are experimental. The client chose a relatively new and mostly unknown method of treatment called high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU is a non-invasive treatment that destroys cancerous tissue by raising the temperature of the cells. The client completed the HIFU in 2007, but unfortunately, his PSA began to rise the following year. This rise in the PSA is often considered a recurrence of disease, or “biochemical” recurrence, and required retreatment with radiation. After this treatment, his PSA returned to very low levels and remained stable.
One of the main concerns with cancer histories is spread of the disease. In this case, distant metastasis (spread of the cancer) would have
resulted in a decline from the insurance carriers. The client’s recurrence, however, was believed to have been localized to the prostate, as his PSA returned to very low levels after the radiation and remained stable.
The client’s age was also in his favor, as he had just turned 70 at the time of the formal application. The majority of men at age 70 or above with adequately treated, localized prostate cancer are not expected to die prematurely from the disease. The carriers generally look favorably upon these risks.
Our underwriter felt that a carrier may be able to offer coverage
, given the client’s age and his success after the radiation treatment. Our underwriter shopped the file to over a dozen carriers. Although most carriers declined, our underwriter found a few carriers willing to offer reasonable rates. The client accepted a table 2 offer, and the policy was put in force.