Like any diagnosed cancer, Thyroid Cancer can be a life-threatening condition. BUT the good news is, most are not. If caught early, properly treated and managed going forward, your clients with a Thyroid Cancer history can live long and healthy lives AND be considered for life insurance – POSSIBLY EVEN A PREFERRED RISK!
WHAT IS THE THYROID & WHAT DOES IT DO?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ about the size of a bow-tie pasta that sits low in the front of your neck—below your Larynx and just hiding at the top of your breastbone. Doctors often place their fingers on the trachea (windpipe) and ask the patient to swallow which causes the thyroid gland to rise above the breastbone for easier examination. The doctor is feeling for irregularities, nodules, or enlargement during this simple and quick procedure. It is comforting to know that most thyroid nodules are quite common (about ½ of the American population will have one by the time they are 60 years of age) and are found to be non-cancerous after evaluation.
The thyroid gland, while small, influences nearly all the metabolic processes in the human body. Too much thyroid hormone production is called Hyperthyroidism and causes an accelerated metabolism – high pulse rate, cardiac irregularities, weight loss, digestion issues and disrupted menstrual cycles among other things. Too little thyroid hormone production, Hypothyroidism, from an underactive thyroid gland can lead to weight gain, lethargy, slow breathing, and mood changes. The thyroid gland is very small but powerful and has a primary role in the development and growth of our bodies.
CANCER OF THE THYROID & TREATMENT
The two most common forms of Thyroid Cancer are Papillary carcinoma and Follicular carcinoma. As such, they are the two that AgencyONE sees most often in underwriting. Typically, the first sign of a thyroid tumor is swelling in the neck area stemming from either the thyroid gland itself or the surrounding lymph nodes. If the physician finds a thyroid nodule or irregularity, he or she may order a biopsy to determine if cancer is present or suggest removal of the gland altogether.
The good news is that the CURE RATE for Thyroid Cancer is particularly HIGH. Metastasis is of course possible, but the probability of this occurring is low. Therefore, surgical excision of the thyroid gland tends to be the first course of action taken if deemed necessary. The expectation after surgical excision of the thyroid gland is lifelong thyroid replacement therapy (i.e. levothyroxine) to imitate a normal functioning thyroid.
UNDERWRITING THYROID CANCER
Underwriting a Thyroid Cancer history requires complete medical records from the client’s physician which include the date of diagnosis, treatment plan, and the stage of the disease as provided on the final pathology report. For consideration of better than Standard Non-Tobacco rates, underwriters at our carrier partners want confirmation of the following:
- Conclusion of treatment for the Thyroid Cancer was greater than 10 years ago;
- Only surgical excision was required; and
- Tumor staging was low with no metastasis.
Should you and your client want to be considered for Preferred risk, the following additional factors will be considered by the underwriters:
- Diagnosis at a younger age (less than 55)
- Post-surgery treatment compliance including a physician-managed thyroid hormone regimen
Evident overall health and wellness, optimal build, and active lifestyle with no additional significant medical impairments
Mr. Rose is a 45-year-old gentleman looking to secure $1,500,000 of Indexed Universal Life (IUL) insurance coverage. Aside from a history of Thyroid Cancer diagnosed and successfully treated approximately 15 years ago, Mr. Rose is a healthy, active individual. Mr. Rose’s low grade mixed Papillary/Follicular carcinoma required only a Thyroidectomy (complete removal of the thyroid gland). His case did not warrant the use of radiation and/or chemotherapy. Since completion of the surgery, Mr. Rose has been followed closely by both his oncologist and endocrinologist with routine physical exams, imaging, and lab work. His thyroid hormones are well managed medically with daily levothyroxine.
Although Mr. Rose has a history of Thyroid Cancer, his case possessed enough favorable factors to offset the cancer diagnosis and to potentially secure a Preferred Non-Tobacco rate. AgencyONE underwriters targeted a small selection of carriers that we felt would view Mr. Rose’s case in the most favorable light. Our efforts were successful, and we locked down a Preferred Non-Tobacco offer from Carrier A!
The AgencyONE Underwriting Department is ALWAYS FOCUSED on delivering the very BEST underwriting offer for your clients. While not always possible, our GOAL on Thyroid Cancer cases is always PREFERRED! If you have a client with a known Thyroid Cancer history, please reach out to AgencyONE to revisit the case for new underwriting consideration.