Securing Life Insurance After Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis

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15 Minute read

Originally published: September 25, 2023

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Talk to one of our experienced advisors today!

15 Minute read
Originally published: September 25,  2023

glioblastoma Life Insurance in Canada

Receiving a colorectal cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering moment. It brings about challenges, emotions, and decisions that extend beyond the realm of medical treatment. One crucial aspect to consider is securing life insurance, a financial safety net that provides peace of mind and security for your loved ones. However, for individuals with a history of colorectal cancer, the path to obtaining life insurance can seem complex and daunting. 

This guide aims to shed light on the journey of obtaining life insurance after colorectal cancer. We’ll address your questions, concerns, and uncertainties, providing valuable insights, expert advice, and real-life examples to help you navigate this important financial decision with confidence.

Overview of Colorectal Cancer

A major health concern around the world is colorectal cancer, which encompasses both colon and rectal cancer. It comes from the colon or rectum, two essential organs of the digestive system in charge of handling and getting rid of waste. 

Risk factors: Although it can strike anyone at any age, colorectal cancer primarily affects those over the age of 50. A family history of the disorder, a personal history of colon or rectum polyps, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and several inherited conditions are all risk factors that raise risk. In addition, lifestyle elements including eating a lot of red and processed meats, getting little fiber, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and being inactive can raise the risk.

Symptoms: Early-stage colorectal cancer frequently exhibits no symptoms at all, which emphasizes the significance of routine screening. However, if the illness worsens, common symptoms may include bowel disturbances (constipation or diarrhea), blood in the stool, abdominal pain or discomfort, unexplained weight loss, and chronic exhaustion.

Diagnosis: Non-invasive procedures like fecal occult blood tests or stool DNA tests are typically the first step in the diagnosis process. However, a colonoscopy, which uses a flexible tube with a camera to view the whole colon and rectum, is the gold standard for diagnosing colorectal cancer. During the process, tissue samples, or biopsies, might be collected for additional analysis.

Staging: For assessing the severity of the disease and directing therapy choices, accurate staging is essential. From 0 (in situ, limited to the inner lining) to IV (advanced, with distant organ involvement), there are many stages of the disease. Oncologists can better personalize treatment for each patient with the aid of staging.

Treatment: Surgery is the main form of treatment for colorectal cancer and often entails the removal of the tumor and any adjacent lymph nodes. Other treatment modalities, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy (drugs that target specific proteins in cancer cells), and immunotherapy (stimulating the immune system to attack cancer cells), may be combined with surgery depending on the stage and specific characteristics of the cancer.

Prognosis: Depending on the stage upon diagnosis, colorectal cancer survival rates change. Regular screening increases the likelihood of successful treatment and long-term survival by detecting diseases early. After initial therapy, regular follow-up care is essential for controlling and monitoring the condition.

Prevention: One of the most preventable forms of cancer is colorectal cancer. The risk can be decreased by making lifestyle changes such switching to a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while consuming less red and processed meat, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and consuming less alcohol. For those with risk factors or a family history of the disease, routine tests, including colonoscopies, are essential for early detection.

Can I Get Life Insurance with Colorectal Cancer?

Yes, people with a history of colorectal cancer can get life insurance, but there are a number of circumstances that can affect their eligibility and the conditions of their policy. When looking for life insurance, those with a history of colorectal cancer should take the following factors into consideration. Many factors can influence the type of policy an individual may be eligible for which include: time since diagnosis and treatment, cancer stage and severity, current health status, type of life insurance, and premium costs to name a few. 

People with a history of colorectal cancer should consult with a knowledgeable insurance agent or broker who can guide them through the insurance industry. They can help you locate insurance providers who are more likely, given your particular situation, to provide coverage. Additionally, leading a healthy lifestyle, following medical advice, and lobbying for routine checkups might increase your likelihood of getting life insurance coverage at favorable conditions.

Case Study: Daniel’s Quest for Life Insurance Post-Colorectal Cancer

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Meet Daniel Anderson, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, who faced the challenge of securing life insurance after battling colorectal cancer. Daniel was diagnosed with colon cancer when he was 50 years old. He successfully had surgery and underwent chemotherapy. Daniel set out to buy life insurance after realizing how crucial it was to provide his loved ones with financial security.

Challenges Faced

  1. Waiting Period: Daniel had to navigate a waiting period imposed by many insurance providers after cancer treatment. During this time, he was determined to focus on maintaining his health and overall well-being.
  2. The Underwriting Process: Daniel was uncertain about the intricacies of the underwriting process, especially given his cancer history. To gain clarity and guidance, he decided to consult a seasoned insurance broker who specialized in assisting individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

Steps Taken to Improve Insurability

  1. Healthy Lifestyle: Daniel committed to adopting a healthier lifestyle. He incorporated regular physical activity into his routine, adopted a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and made the decision to quit smoking, which significantly enhanced his health profile.
  2. Adherence to Medical Recommendations: Daniel diligently followed his healthcare provider’s recommendations. He attended scheduled check-ups, ensuring that he remained proactive about his health, and stayed current with cancer screenings.
  3. Consulting with Specialists: To further bolster his insurability, Daniel consulted with his oncologist, who provided additional documentation regarding the successful treatment of his cancer and his continued remission.


With his constant dedication to staying healthy and the skilled advice of his insurance broker, Daniel was able to obtain a term life insurance policy with favorable conditions and affordable rates. The selected policy offered his family the required financial safety net, giving him the peace of mind that they would be safeguarded in case of unanticipated events.

Life Insurance Basics for Colorectal Cancer Patients

Particularly for those coping with colorectal cancer, life insurance is a vital financial tool that plays a crucial role in providing financial security for people and their families. The main goal of life insurance is to provide your loved ones with a safety net of money in the tragic event of your dying. Making wise financial decisions requires an understanding of the foundational ideas behind life insurance.

There are several types of life insurance policies available, each with its unique features:

  1. Term Life Insurance: This policy provides coverage for a specified term, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. If the policyholder passes away during the term, a death benefit is paid to the beneficiaries. Term life insurance is often more affordable but does not build cash value over time.
  2. Whole Life Insurance: Whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire life. It has a cash value component that grows over time, and you can access these funds through policy loans or withdrawals. Whole life insurance premiums tend to be higher than term insurance.
  3. Universal Life Insurance: Universal life insurance offers flexibility in premium payments and a cash value component. You can adjust the premium amounts and death benefit as your financial situation changes. It can serve as both insurance and an investment tool.
  4. No medical life insurance: No Medical Insurance is term life insurance that doesn’t require a physical.  Even though these policies are simpler and less time-consuming to get, there are several disadvantages to this sort of insurance, most notably increased rates to account for possible pre-existing conditions

When determining life insurance premiums, several factors come into play, and individuals with a history of colorectal cancer should be aware of these considerations:

  1. Medical History: Your health history, including your colorectal cancer diagnosis, treatment, and current health status, will influence the cost of premiums.
  2. Age: Age is a significant factor in premium calculation, with younger individuals typically paying lower premiums.
  3. Policy Type and Coverage Amount: The type of life insurance policy you choose and the amount of coverage you need will impact premium costs.
  4. Smoking Status: Whether you are a smoker or non-smoker can significantly affect your premiums.
  5. Lifestyle Factors: Some insurers consider factors like alcohol consumption and participation in high-risk activities when determining premiums.
  6. Underwriting: Underwriters assess your health and lifestyle to determine eligibility and premium rates. Colorectal cancer survivors may undergo more detailed medical underwriting.

What Factors Affect My Eligibility?

Several key factors play a significant role in determining your eligibility for life insurance, especially if you have a history of colorectal cancer. It’s essential to understand how these factors can impact your insurability:

  1. Cancer Stage and Severity: The stage at which your colorectal cancer was diagnosed is a crucial factor. Generally, early-stage cancers (Stage 0 to Stage II) with successful treatment and no evidence of recurrence are viewed more favorably by insurers. In contrast, advanced-stage cancers (Stage III and IV) or cancers with aggressive features may present greater challenges in obtaining coverage.
  2. Treatment and Therapies: The type of treatment you received for colorectal cancer is also considered. Successful surgical removal of the tumor, combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy as needed, can enhance your eligibility. Some insurers may be more accommodating if you’ve undergone a colectomy (removal of a portion of the colon) or rectal surgery.
  3. Time Since Treatment Completion: The amount of time that has passed since you completed cancer treatment is a critical factor. Many insurance companies prefer to see a longer period of remission or stability, typically ranging from several months to several years, before offering coverage. Longer timeframes often result in better eligibility and more favorable premium rates.
  4. Current Health Status: Your overall health at the time of applying for life insurance is a significant consideration. If you’ve maintained a stable and healthy condition following your cancer treatment, it can positively influence your eligibility. Insurance companies may require you to provide recent medical records and undergo medical examinations to assess your current health.
  5. Compliance with Medical Recommendations: Consistently following your medical provider’s recommendations, including attending regular check-ups and screenings, is essential. It demonstrates responsible health management and can enhance your insurability.
  6. Age: Your age at the time of application plays a role in eligibility. Younger individuals generally have better prospects for obtaining life insurance, even with a history of colorectal cancer.
  7. Type of Life Insurance Policy: The type of life insurance you’re applying for matters. Term life insurance policies may be more accessible and affordable, especially if you’re considered low risk due to successful treatment and remission. Permanent life insurance policies (whole or universal life) may have more stringent requirements but offer lifelong coverage.
  8. Choice of Insurance Provider: Different insurance companies have varying underwriting guidelines and risk tolerance. Working with an experienced insurance agent or broker who can connect you with insurance companies that are more lenient in their eligibility criteria can be beneficial.
  9. Medical Underwriting: Be prepared for a comprehensive medical underwriting process, which often includes submitting medical records, undergoing medical exams, and answering health-related questions in detail.

Remember, maintaining good health, adhering to medical advice, and understanding the underwriting criteria of various insurers can improve your chances of securing life insurance coverage that suits your needs.

How Does Cancer Affect Premiums?

A colorectal cancer diagnosis can indeed affect the cost of life insurance premiums, as insurers assess the level of risk associated with the applicant’s health history. Here’s how a colorectal cancer diagnosis can impact premiums:

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  1. Higher Premiums: Generally, individuals with a history of colorectal cancer can expect to pay higher premiums than those without such a history. This is because cancer is considered a significant risk factor, and insurance companies aim to compensate for that increased risk by charging higher rates.
  2. Individual Health Profile: The specific impact on premiums can vary widely based on individual circumstances. Factors such as the stage and severity of the cancer, the time since treatment completion, and the current health status will influence the premium amount. Those with early-stage cancer in remission for an extended period may receive more favorable rates.

When Should I Apply for Life Insurance?

The timing of your life insurance application, particularly after undergoing colorectal cancer treatment, is a significant consideration that can greatly impact your eligibility and premium costs. Many insurance companies typically impose waiting periods after cancer treatment, which can range from several months to several years. 

During this waiting period, it’s essential to prioritize your health and well-being, maintaining a stable and cancer-free condition. The longer the period of remission and stability you can demonstrate, the more favorable your eligibility and premium rates may become. Therefore, it’s generally advisable to wait until you have achieved a significant period of remission before applying for life insurance. 

Consulting with an experienced insurance agent or broker can provide valuable insights into the waiting period requirements of different insurers and help you determine the optimal timing for your application based on your unique medical history. 

In the meantime, continue attending regular check-ups and cancer screenings, commit to a healthy lifestyle, and explore alternative insurance options, such as group insurance offered through your employer, to ensure you have some form of coverage while waiting for more favorable terms.

Life Insurance Underwriting with Colorectal Cancer

The life insurance underwriting process is a critical step in determining an applicant’s eligibility, coverage limits, and premium rates. It involves a thorough evaluation of the applicant’s health, lifestyle, and medical history to assess the level of risk they pose to the insurer. 

For individuals with a history of colorectal cancer, this underwriting process may be more detailed and nuanced. Insurance companies typically request medical records related to the cancer diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care. They may also require a current health assessment, which can include medical exams, blood tests, and other diagnostic tests. 

The results of these evaluations are used to determine insurability and set premium rates. It’s important for individuals with colorectal cancer to be prepared for this scrutiny and to work closely with their healthcare providers to provide accurate and up-to-date information during the underwriting process. Understanding how underwriting works can help applicants navigate the complexities of obtaining life insurance coverage tailored to their needs and circumstances.

Can I Improve My Insurability?

Yes, you can do many things to improve your insurability.

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Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Embrace a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoiding or quitting smoking. A healthy lifestyle can positively impact your overall health and, consequently, your insurability.
  2. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Moderation in alcohol consumption is key. Excessive drinking can negatively affect your health and raise red flags for insurers.
  3. Stay Compliant with Medical Treatments: Adherence to your healthcare provider’s recommended treatments and medications is crucial. Demonstrating that you are actively managing your health can improve your insurability.
  4. Regular Medical Check-Ups: Attend regular check-ups and screenings as advised by your medical provider. This not only helps in early detection but also showcases your commitment to proactive health management.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for overall health and can positively impact your insurability.
  6. Manage Chronic Conditions: If you have other chronic health conditions in addition to colorectal cancer, ensure they are well-managed. Medication compliance and regular follow-ups are essential.
  7. Consult with Specialists: In some cases, seeking guidance from specialists, such as oncologists or colorectal surgeons, can provide additional documentation of your health status and treatment progress.
  8. Provide Complete and Accurate Information: During the underwriting process, be transparent and provide complete and accurate information about your medical history, treatments, and follow-up care. Honesty is crucial when applying for life insurance.
  9. Consider the Timing: As previously discussed, the timing of your life insurance application matters. Applying when you have achieved a longer period of remission and stability can potentially lead to more favorable terms.
  10. Seek Professional Guidance: Working with an experienced insurance agent or broker who understands the underwriting process, especially in the context of cancer survivors, can be invaluable. They can help you navigate the complexities of insurance and connect you with insurers that may be more lenient in their eligibility criteria.

Remember that improving insurability is not only about your health but also about demonstrating a commitment to responsible health management. While having a history of colorectal cancer may pose challenges, taking proactive steps to maintain your well-being and diligently following medical advice can improve your chances of securing life insurance coverage on favorable terms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with Colorectal Cancer

Yes, individuals with a history of colorectal cancer can often obtain life insurance, but eligibility and terms may vary based on factors like the cancer stage, treatment, and current health status.

Survivors can typically access various policies, including term life insurance and permanent life insurance with varying eligibility criteria.

Consult with an experienced insurance agent or broker who understands the underwriting process and can help you find suitable coverage based on your unique circumstances.

Yes, early-stage cancer survivors generally have better eligibility and more favorable premium rates than those with advanced-stage cancer.

Yes, honesty is crucial during the application process. Failing to disclose medical history can result in policy cancellation or claim denial later.

Group insurance often has less stringent underwriting requirements and can be a valuable source of coverage while you wait for more favorable individual terms.

Find a solution for what you’re looking for 

Securing life insurance in the face of colorectal cancer may seem difficult, but with the correct information and proactive efforts, it’s not only doable but also a vital component of safeguarding your family’s financial security. At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to build the best package to give you the protection you need. 

Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta including areas such as Mississauga, Edmonton, and Abbotsford.

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