Life Insurance Prices and Skin Cancer Policy Rates and Information
Skin Cancer and Life Insurance Prices
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. One
out of six Americans will develop the condition during their
lifetime and approximately 700,000 Americans are diagnosed
with it annually. In the United States, 1 person out of every
65 will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form
of skin cancer. The risk of developing melanoma increases
with age, but the disease frequently affects young healthy
people. Melanoma is the number one cause of cancer
death in women aged 25 - 30. Skin cancers detected
early in their development have the best outcomes and will
receive the most favorable rate consideration from insurers.
Cancer and You
Skin cancer tends to occur on areas of the skin that are
regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation.
They are often diagnosed after the age of forty. People
with fair skin, red or blonde hair, and light eyes are
most likely to develop skin cancer, however, even individuals
with dark skin, hair, and eyes must be proactive in protecting
themselves against exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet
radiation. The risk of developing skin cancer is
elevated if a person had severe, blistering sunburns in
childhood or before the age of twenty. Exposure
to strong sunlight as a teenager also increases a person’s
risk of developing skin cancer. A family history
of skin cancer, melanoma, atypical
moles or multiple birthmarks
puts a person at risk and freckles, once considered beauty
marks, are danger signals if they appear on the upper back.
ABCs of Skin Cancers
Individuals should check their entire
bodies for suspicious growths. Using a mirror or
with the help of someone else, a person’s back, shoulders,
and other hard-to-see areas of the body should be checked
for signs of skin cancer. Skin
cancer comes in all shapes, sizes and varied appearances.
They can be small, shiny, waxy, scaly, rough, firm and red,
crusty or bleeding. The ABCs of skin cancer detection
- Asymmetry: one half of the abnormal
skin area is different than the other half
- Borders: moles or growths with irregular
- Color: variation in color from one area
to another with shades of tan, brown, or black (sometimes
white, red, blue)
- Diameter: lesions that are larger than
6 mm in size, or the approximately the diameter of a pencil
Skin Cancers Are Not Alike
Skin cancer is a term that identifies
an uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. The body’s
outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is made up of different
types of cells. Skin cancers are broadly classified by
the types of epidermal cells involved.
Actinic keratosis is considered a precancerous
lesion and approximately ten percent will evolve into squamous
Basal cell carcinomas develop
from abnormal growth of cells in the lowest layer of the
can present as a small, slightly raised or flat skin
pearly or waxy in appearance; it can be white, light pink,
flesh-colored or brown in color. It often masquerades
as a sore that bleeds easily; a sore with a sunken center
or as a wound that does not heal. It can also appear
as a scar in an area that has not been injured. Irregular
blood vessels may appear in or around basal cell carcinomas. Basal
cell is the most common form of skin cancer and does not
typically spread. If left untreated, it may grow into
surrounding areas and nearby tissues and bone.
cell carcinoma involves
changes in the cells found in the epithelial layer (the surface
layer) of the skin. It may appear on the face, ears,
neck, hands, or arms as a growing bump that has a rough,
scaly surface and flat reddish patch, but they may occur
on other areas of the body as well. It has a greater likelihood
of spreading than basal cell carcinomas, but still may
be relatively slow-growing. It can spread (metastasize)
to other locations, including internal organs.
a malignant tumor that originates in melanocytes, the cells
which produce the pigment melanin, that color our skin, hair,
and eyes. It is the rarest
and most deadly form of all skin cancers and can spread
rapidly. It is less common than other types of skin cancer,
but the incidence of melanoma is steadily increasing. Although
it is the leading cause of death from skin disease, it
can be treated and cured if detected early.
Melanoma may appear on normal skin,
or it may begin at a mole or other area that has changed
in appearance. Melanoma can also affect the iris, the colored
part, of the eye. Some
moles, present from birth, may develop into melanomas. There
are four types of melanomas:
spreading melanoma is the
most common type of melanoma. It is usually flat and irregular
in shape and color, with varying shades of black and brown.
It may occur at any age or body site, and is most common
- Nodular melanoma usually starts as a
raised area that is dark blackish-blue or bluish-red, although
some are without color.
- Lentigo maligna
melanoma usually occurs
in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on
the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually
large, flat, and tan with intermixed areas of brown.
- Acral lentiginous
melanoma is the least
common form of melanoma. It usually occurs on the palms,
soles, or under the nails and is more common in African
All skin cancers are classified as
either melanomas or nonmelanomas. Basal
and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common nonmelanomas. Other
nonmelanomas include Kaposi’s
sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous
Options for Skin Cancer
If skin cancer is suspected, a piece of skin will be removed
from the area so that is can be examined under a microscope.
This is called a skin biopsy and is done to confirm the diagnosis
and type of skin cancer. Once the type of skin cancer is
identified, treatment will vary depending on the size, depth,
and location of the cancer.
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas
may be removed using several techniques. During excision, the physician
cuts the lesion out and stitches the skin back together while
curettage and electrodesiccation involves scraping away the
cancer cells and using electricity to kill any remaining
cancer cells. Mohs surgery removes a lesion by layers. As
skin is removed during Mohs, it is immediately looked at
it under a microscope to check for cancerous cells. Skin
samples continue to be removed and examined until cancer
cells are no longer evident in the sample. Cryosurgery freezes
and kills the cancer cells.
Melanomas are usually removed surgically
as they tend to penetrate more deeply into the skin than
basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. The tumor is then categorized using
two systems: the Clark’s level describes the
how deep the tumor has invaded the skin and the Breslow Scale
measures the vertical thickness of the tumor. The Breslow
Scale is used to determine the likeliness of metastasis.
Radiation may be used if the cancer has spread to organs,
lymph nodes or on tumors that can't be treated with surgery.
Squamous cell tumors have a ninety-five
percent cure rate if removed promptly. Basal cell cancers have approximately
a one percent chance of recurrence after Mohs surgery and
a ten percent chance following other forms of treatment. Melanomas
that are surgically removed are considered “cured”,
however, only time will determine if all cancer was successfully
removed during the procedure. With skin cancer, new
tumors and reoccurrences are possible, so regular skin examinations
by your health care provider are recommended following treatment
for any type of skin cancer.
Skin Cancers, Different Insurance Issues
cancers are not alike, nor are life insurance policies for
those affected with skin cancer. Basal cell carcinomas
do not typically pose a concern to insurers as they review
a life insurance application, except in applications where
multiple basal cell carcinomas have reoccurred, particularly
if the applicant is young. Due to the concern of metastasis,
individuals with squamous cell carcinomas should be prepared
to supply specific, detailed information about their condition.
Insurers will want to know the number of lesions, the aggressiveness
of the cancer cells as reviewed in the pathology report and
the staging of the cells before they make their decisions. Policies
are usually issued to individuals with squamous cell carcinomas,
sometimes with extra flat rates for several years following
the last date of treatment, although occasionally applications
are declined when metastasis is evident. Melanomas,
by virtue of their deadly nature, cause insurers the most
concern. When evaluating applications, insurers will
want the Clark level of staging and the Breslow Scale rating
of the tumor. As time is the best indicator of cure
in the case of melanoma, insurers may postpone their decision
for a few years or impose a flat extra rate on approved applications.
Can MEG Financial Help?
At MEG Financial, we have worked with many
individuals across the country that have had related
histories and have helped many obtain fairly priced life
insurance. A number of these clients previously attempted
to buy life insurance elsewhere but were either turned down
or asked to pay a significantly higher rate. Our experience
helping others with related problems is invaluable
to you in identifying the insurance company that will treat
you most fairly.
For more specific information or to obtain
a custom quote, call MEG Financial today at (877) 583-3955.
You may also submit this short form and an independent insurance
agent will personally contact you to go over any questions
or other concerns.
Links for Skin Cancer