[How To Buy] Life Insurance After Pancreatic Cancer

The average lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer for men is about 1 in 63. For women, the lifetime risk is about 1 in 65. 

American Cancer Society

Pancreatic cancer, like any serious medical diagnosis, is a stark reminder to double-check the financial future of our loved ones – and often to make a life insurance purchase.

Thankfully, you CAN secure life insurance after cancer.

You must know, though, it won’t be as straightforward as it would be for someone with a spotless medical history.

Consider this your go-to resource for understanding exactly what life insurance carriers will want to know about your pancreatic cancer – and how to find the best policy you qualify for.

Table Of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Underwriting Process
  3. No Exam
  4. How To Buy

Life Insurance And Pancreatic Cancer Overview


Cancer originating in the cells of the pancreas.

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach.

Mayo Clinic

Can I Buy Life Insurance If I’ve Had Pancreatic Cancer?

In a word, YES.

Your specific experience with this form of cancer determines the type of life insurance you qualify for.

Generally speaking, early stage pancreatic cancer, successfully treated, and in remission for at least 2 years, will possibly qualify for traditional coverage:

What If I Had Advanced Pancreatic Cancer?

Usually, any form of advanced cancer limits your life insurance options.

Guaranteed issue (GI) life insurance is typically recommended for someone with late-stage pancreatic cancer.

Also referred to as guaranteed acceptance, think of this type of coverage as life insurance with no health questions.

GI policy face amounts are modest, the death benefit is often graded, and age restrictions do exist. However, if you qualify age-wise, GI is a godsend for those who would otherwise be unable to buy life insurance.

Pancreatic Cancer Questions Asked By Underwriters

If you prepare for your application, you have the best chance of quickly securing a policy.

For traditional life insurance, underwriters will ask you seven important questions about your cancer.

Note – Be honest and upfront about your history with cancer and overall health. Any discrepancies could hinder or delay your ability to purchase coverage.

Subject to change.

1. What was the date of your diagnosis?

As a rule, the longer it has been since your diagnosis, the better in the eys of the underwriting.

Here’s why – If a significant amount of time has passed since you were diagnosed, it demonstrates your ability to maintain remission, and well, survive.

The longer it has been, the higher the odds of successful cancer treatment.

2. What type of pancreatic cancer?

Plan to communicate your specific type of pancreatic cancer. Why? The two different types are associated with vastly different treatment plans and health outcomes.


By far, the most common type of pancreatic cancer.

It’s possible you’ll be asked for the specific exocrine cancer:

  • Adenocarcinoma (most common)
  • Adenosquamous carcinomas
  • Squamous cell carcinomas
  • Signet ring cell carcinomas
  • Undifferentiated carcinomas (with or without giant cells)


Neuroendocrine neoplasms (also known as endocrine or islet cell tumors) account for about 1-5% of pancreatic cancers.

John Hopkins Medicine

You many need to share the kind of endocrine cancer:

  • Insulinomas
  • Glucagonomas

3. What stage was your pancreatic cancer?

Cancer staging is a crucial factor in determining the type of life insurance you qualify for.

Early Stage

Best case scenario.

Pancreatic cancer diagnosed at Stage 0 or 1 affords you the best odds of securing a traditional life insurance policy.

Plan to wait about 2 years (sometimes longer) until you qualify for term life insurance or whole life insurance.

Late Stage

Your options change with advanced cancer.

You will want to buy a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. While policy face amounts are modest, in almost all cases, some life insurance is better than no life insurance.

4. What types of treatment did you receive?

Underwriters ask about the types of cancer treatment you received because, while treatment is necessary to fight cancer, there are risks and side effects.

Be ready to disclose the forms of medical care you underwent and if you experienced serious effects:

  1. Surgery
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. Radiation
  4. Clinical trials
  5. Palliative care

5. When was your last treatment?

Mark the date of your last treatment. Or, if you are still undergoing medical care, be ready to communicate your treatment schedule.

The timeline of your treatments is important because carriers typically want to see a number of years pass since you completed treatment before they will issue traditional life insurance.

In the case of pancreatic cancer, the best case scenario is typically at least 2 years since remission until a traditional policy is available. Your required wait time could be much longer, depending on your diagnosis.

6. Are you going to follow-up appointments?

You underwriter will be happy to see documented follow-up appointments with your oncologist. Why? Proactive care of your health demonstrates responsibility.

On the other hand, your application will be negatively affected if you haven’t seen your physician as recommended.

7. How is your overall health?

First, you will be asked if you are in remission. Remember, for traditional life insurance, you will need to demonstrate at least 2 years (often more) of remission before you can qualify.

Second, you will be asked about your overall health and lifestyle.

Certain factors relate to higher risk of pancreatic cancer:

No Exam Life Insurance For Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer patients and survivors buy life insurance with no exam all the time.

It’s important, though, to understand that each carrier underwrites a history of cancer differently. That’s why we recommend you evaluate the best life insurance companies with no required physical before applying.


You may be able to qualify for traditional no exam life insurance after pancreatic cancer, although it is uncommon.

Your ability to qualify depends on:

  1. How long you have been in remission
  2. Stage and type of pancreatic cancer
  3. Your overall health and lifestyle


Current cancer patients actively undergoing treatment will need to buy guaranteed issue life insurance.

We recommend you evaluate the top guaranteed issue companies:

  1. AIG Guaranteed Issue Whole Life
  2. Gerber Guaranteed Issue
  3. Great Western Guaranteed Assurance

How To Buy Coverage

About 56,770 people (29,940 men and 26,830 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

American Cancer Society

You are not alone. And, finding a life insurance policy is entirely possible.

Do two things:

  1. Partner with an independent agent. You will want access to multiple carriers because each company underwrites a history of cancer differently.
  2. Document your medical history. Prepare to communicate the details of your pancreatic cancer. It can make all the difference in streamlining your life insurance application.

To get started, fill out your free instant quote.