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Breast Cancer – Factors to Consider and Carrier Ratings

Breast cancer is one of the two most common cancers diagnosed in women (the other being skin cancer) and most life insurance brokers have encountered a client with this cancer or most certainly will.  Thankfully, with the expanded awareness throughout our population, early detection of the cancer has increased treatment in early stages which has improved the odds of survival. Additionally, advances in treatment protocol have slowed the death rates.

Factors to consider:

  • Age of the client
  • The date the cancer was diagnosed and the date initial treatment was completed
  • The stage of the cancer
  • The size of the tumor
  • The grade of the cancer (the makeup of the abnormal cancer cells)
  • Type of initial treatment (lumpectomy, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these)
  • Lymph node involvement
  • Estrogen receptor status (positive or negative)
  • Adjuvant therapy (endocrine therapy) post initial treatment
  • Metastasis to other areas of the body – uninsurable
  • Recurrence


  • Carcinoma in situ (considered stage 0) can be considered for standard rates in the first year following surgery, and after 5-10 years cancer free can be considered at better than standard rates.
  • Some carriers may consider Stage T1a cancer at standard rates in the first year following initial treatment.
  • Stage 1 and 2 cancers are generally insurable in the first year following initial treatment for smaller tumors (<2.0 cm) with a temporary flat extra rating applied.
  • Larger Stage 1 and Stage 2 tumors are generally postponed 1 – 4 years from treatment before a flat extra rating is applied
  • Stage 3 cancers are generally uninsurable for 10 years following initial treatment

Breast cancer is a complex cancer with multiple factors that impact life insurance underwriting.  However, with the overall improvements in the survival rate, life insurance ratings have gradually improved.

Highland’s experienced underwriters can help guide you in finding the best carrier and rates. Contact us today to learn more!

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