A common misconception is that any cancer history automatically makes an applicant uninsurable. Advances in breast cancer research, treatment and awareness have produced considerably more survivors who are now thriving and winning the battle. More good news – the opportunity for breast cancer survivors to secure life insurance has become more achievable than ever before.

Viewpoints from Tom Dignan

The insurance underwriting process is all about risk assessment and gathering the necessary medical information. Applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis since each breast cancer case is unique. Underwriters consider several aspects to determine mortality risk, such as family history, age at diagnosis, treatment received, time since completion of treatment, tumor size, lymph node involvement, pathological staging (also known as TNM staging, medical shorthand for “tumor, nodes and metastases”) and grade. Treatment can include radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, mastectomy and lumpectomy. Underwriters need to know the order of treatment, the type of medications taken, and if there were any reoccurrences. Underlying comorbidities, such as blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, etc. also factor into the equation.

Non-invasive breast cancer, or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), has a better prognosis than invasive tumors such as invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), tubular carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, or medullary and papillary carcinoma. Best-case scenarios for non-invasive breast cancer can be considered for coverage within six months after the completion date of treatment.

Overall, the longer a breast cancer survivor is in remission and compliant with doctor recommendations and follow-ups, the better their chances of securing life insurance coverage. Our underwriting team offers a breast cancer questionnaire to begin the assessment process, including in-house, confidential analysis of historical and current medical records. Please feel free to reach out if we can be of assistance!


EPIC offers these opinions for general information only. EPIC does not intend this material to be, nor may any person receiving this information construe or rely on this material as, tax or legal advice. The matters addressed in this article and any related discussions or correspondence should be reviewed and discussed with legal counsel prior to acting or relying on these materials.

Our Leaders

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Thomas Dignan, CFP

Director, EPIC New York, Life Insurance Business Development