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Life Insurance for Ovarian Cancer Survivors

I Have Ovarian Cancer. Now What?

Any type of cancer is always a serious concern to life insurance companies. Ovarian cancer accounts for 5% of all cancers in women and is the fourth leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. Life underwriters typically assess ovarian cancer based on the grade (aggressiveness) and stage (size) of the cancer, as well as the type of cancer cells that are present. Your pathology report will have the level of detail necessary for the underwriter to make an accurate evaluation. Allow plenty of time for the insurance company to review your records and be prepared to pay higher rates than you would pay if you did not have ovarian cancer. 

Ovarian Cancer's Effect on Insurance Rates

The first table below gives definitions of the different stages of ovarian cancer, as well as the 5 year survival rates. Like most types of cancer, ovarian cancer is staged according to the size when it is diagnosed. The lower the stage, the earlier it was detected, thus the less of a chance it has spread to other areas of the body and the greater the survival rates. The second table provides an outline of the kinds of ratings and flat extras you can expect to receive depending on your stage of cancer. This table is for "epithelial ovarian tumors" only since this makes up 90% of all cancer types in the ovaries. Other forms of ovarian cancers including stromal cancers, germ cell tumors, and other cancers of non-specific mesenchymal origin typically have similar postponements as those outlined below, but actual ratings will vary from standard to Table ratings to declines. 

Ovarian Cancer Stage Classification



5-year survival rate


Cancer limited to ovaries

70% to 90%


Cancer limited to pelvis

50% to 70%


Cancer limited to abdominal cavity



Distant metastasis (has spread to other parts of the body)





Usual Characteristics

Expected Rating


Cancer present in one or both ovaries

Postponed for 1 year following last treatment; then Standard through Table 2 plus $5-$10 per $1000 flat extra for 5 years


Cancer is present in other areas of the pelvis

Postponed for 3 years following last treatment; then Standard through Table 2  plus $10 per $1000 flat extra for 5 years


Cancer present in lymph nodes and maybe present in abdomen

Postponed for 5 years following last treatment; then Standard through Table 2  plus $15 per $1000 flat extras for 5 years


Cancer is present in area outside the abdomen and lymph nodes

Usually Declined; individual consideration occasionally given after 5 year postponement 

More Information on Ovarian Cancer

It is estimated that 1 in 70 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is most common in women between ages 50 and 59. A very small percentage of women contract ovarian cancer before age 40 or after age 70. 

Sadly ovarian cancer often does not usually have any symptoms until it has spread beyond the ovaries, causing the survival rates for ovarian cancer to drop significantly. Surgery is the recommended treatment for ovarian cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy are often used in addition to surgery. 

Important Things to Know for Those with Ovarian Cancer

What are some of the issues that interest underwriters?

  • When were you first diagnosed with ovarian cancer?

  • What is the stage and grade of your cancer?

  • How has your cancer been treated?

  • Has there been any recurrence?

  • When was your last treatment?

  • What kind of cancer was it? 

What can I do to help the underwriting process?

Make sure you include the contact information for all your treating doctors and medical centers. Also, please include a copy of your pathology report. The life underwriter will need this information in order to obtain and review your medical records.


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