Facts about Cervical Cancer Life Insurance (Author: Caroline Sharpe-Szunko)
Iam insured is one of the UK’s top life insurance experts for people with pre-existing medical conditions which includes all types of Cancer such as Cervical Cancer. Generally it is possible to get life insurance if you have previously suffered from Cervical Cancer depending on a few critical factors which we’ll explain in this article.
About Cervical Cancer Awareness Week
Every January there is an event which is held by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (https://www.jostrust.org.uk) which is one of the UK’s leading charities to help support people who have been diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. This amazing charity was founded around 1999 to provide vital information and support to women living with or who have been diagnosed with the condition and does some incredible work.
How can Cervical Cancer affect women?
As a female myself, I am only too aware of how much stress and how traumatic it can be to even just have a Smear test. Those women who have shared the experience of having an abnormal smear result will know how much of an impact this can have on you both mentally and physically.
The harsh reality of abnormal smears can cause a major strain on any woman and can happen at any age, regardless of whether they have children or not. Results of an abnormal smear will also usually take a couple of weeks to be processed currently on the NHS which can also cause additional stress but of course does not necessarily result in a diagnosis of Cervical Cancer in the vast majority of cases.
The NHS are generally very good at providing women in the UK with Smear tests regularly and will also often process results within a couple of weeks. Cancer treatment in the UK on the NHS however can be slightly restricted compared to what treatments might be available through a Private Medical Insurance policy.
Private Medical Insurance can be very cost effective and prices have reduced dramatically so it is worth considering taking out a policy that covers cancer treatment. Most modern private medical insurance policies will provide cover for specialist cancer treatment through a private hospital which can be vital when someone has been diagnosed with cancer.
How does Cervical Cancer affect life insurance?
The common misconception is that it simply isn’t possible to get life insurance if you’ve been diagnosed with any type of cancer. Generally this is not the case so make sure that you contact a specialist insurance company to find out whether you can get cover and how much it might cost. As with most types of Cancer, your chance of getting life insurance will depend on several main factors:
- When were you first diagnosed with Cervical Cancer?
- Which type of treatment did you receive?
- How long has it been since you stopped primary treatment (e.g. Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy)? *usually 2 years minimum period
- What was the Grade and Stage of the cancer
You should also note that if you were given abnormal smear results which did not result in any issues then you should simply disclose that on your application but it should not have any impact on your premiums.
The general rule is the longer it has been since you received any treatment for Cervical Cancer or the lower the Grade and Stage then the cheaper life insurance will be. Most women that we help to get cover who have had this condition are able to get a policy and we would review this annually to try to reduce their premiums.
What is Cervical Cancer?
This type of cancer forms in the cells that line the cervix walls which is the narrow and lower section of the womb (uterus) that joins with the top of the vagina. It is important to have regular smear tests (screening) because cervical cancer doesn’t show any symptoms in the early stages where it is most preventable.
According to statistics, 99.7% of cases where women have been dignosed with cervical cancer it is cause by persistent infections of high-risk HPV which can result in changes to cervical cells. HPV is a very common infection amongst women and approximately 1 in 5 (80%) will contract one type of the virus at some stage in their lives. The main way that HPV can be spread is by skin-on-skin contact around the genital area which means that anyone who is sexually active is at risk of infection.
Statistics about cervical cancer in the UK:
- Cases: There were 3,192 reported cases of cervical cancer in the UK (average between 2014-2016)
- Survival: 63% of women will survive cervical cancer for over 10 years in England and Wales (2010-2011)
- Deaths: According to statistics there were 852 deaths from cervical cancer (average between 2015-2017)
- Prevention: It is suggested that 99.8% of cases where cervical cancer is diagnosed are preventable
What is HPV?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common infection amongst women and approximately 80% (1 in 5) will get it at some point in their lives. Generally the body is able to deal with contracting the virus by itself and can often come and go without even realising there has been any issue.
HPV is the name used most commonly for the virus which is an infection of the skin and moist membrane (mucosa), including:
- Lining of the throat and mouth
- Vagina, Vulva and Anus
The virus is usually contracted through sexual contact which is the main reason why there is a stigma causing embarrassment and also why women do not go for screening as regularly as they should.
Types of HPV
According to medical experts there are around 200 different strains of the HPV virus that are known and different types will affect different parts of the body.
HPV strains are split in to two different types which are:
- Low-risk HPV
- High-risk HPV
Low-risk HPV is the most common form of the HPV virus which can cause minor symptoms such as warts on the hands and feet or genital warts.
High-risk HPV is the form of HPV which is connected to some cancers and therefore the most dangerous strain of the virus. With both strains of HPV, the body will often deal with it itself which means that it can simply disappear without ever knowing it was there.
HPV and cancer
There are 13 types of HPV that are linked to cancer which are known as ‘high-risk HPV’.
If you are diagnosed with high-risk HPV it does not mean that you will get cancer and in the majority of cases it will go without ever knowing it was ever there.
Can I get life insurance after I have been diagnosed with cervical cancer?
It is very often possible to get life insurance if you were previously diagnosed with cervical cancer and you received treatment to remove the cells. Generally there will be a period of time that is required which is usually 2 years from when you last received treatment to when you would be accepted for cover by underwriters. This is to allow the treatment to work and provide a suitable period of remission to show insurers that the risks have reduced significantly.
Most cases that we see where someone is applying for life insurance when they have previously been diagnosed with cervical cancer will be successful. The price can be restrictive in terms of the amount of cover that people can afford particularly soon after diagnosis and after the end of treatment. You can often find that there will be a period of around 5 to 7 years after diagnosis where life insurance premiums can be higher but this can vary depending on the Grade and Stage of the tumour.
The other main point to consider is that some insurance providers are more lenient and flexible than others when it comes to underwriting of cancers. You could save a considerable amount of money on your monthly premiums simply by shopping around or speaking to an expert which ultimately would do that for you.
How long does it take to apply for life insurance with cervical cancer?
The process for applying for life insurance is the same for anyone in terms of the questions that an insurance provider will ask, however the questions can vary depending on the insurer and any medical disclosures. If you disclose a condition such as cancer then you should be aware that the insurance provider will more than likely want to view your medical records from your GP.
It can take longer to process a life insurance application if the insurer requires to view your medical records, generally 4 to 6 weeks. The reason for this delay is simply that GP surgeries are busy and it can take a few weeks for your surgery to sign-off and return your report to the insurance provider.
How much does life insurance cost with cervical cancer?
Premiums for life insurance can increase depending on several key factors which will determine the levels of increased risk. Generally premiums can be higher for someone who has been diagnosed and received treatment more recently or if the Grade or Stage of the tumour is higher or more aggressive.
Cancer rates for life insurance as a whole are reducing across the majority of insurers which is due to higher survival rates and increased levels of competition. You might also find that if you have been declined for cover previously then it may now be possible to get cover as time has passed since then and the fact that underwriting rules are generally relaxing.
What if I have been declined life insurance before because I’ve had cervical cancer?
Often people apply for life insurance through the normal channels which include comparison websites, banks and building societies when they’ve got a pre-existing medical condition. In a large number of cases it may not be possible to get cover through the standard routes because most of these organisations simply are not equipped to deal with difficult or complex applications.
The reason for this is that most online or automatic underwriting systems are not capable of dealing with non-standard applications. If you have been declined previously because you’ve been diagnosed with cervical cancer then you should speak to an expert or specialist such as iam insured.