Skip links

Breast Cancer Awareness Month & Life Insurance

During the month of October, people across the UK show their support and raise awareness for those affected by breast cancer. The aim is to amplify the work that is being done all year round to accelerate research and provide vital support and treatment for those who have been diagnosed, along with their families.

At The Insurance Surgery, we try to support and raise awareness around health conditions and encourage lifestyle choices to help with any health conditions you may have, preventing any further health conditions developing.

We are the UK’s No.1 Specialist Life Insurance Broker for those with medical conditions or dangerous occupations.

We get many questions around cancer and life insurance on a daily basis, including whether you can take out a life insurance policy when you have or have had cancer.

Unfortunately, you cannot take out life insurance if you currently have cancer, and most providers usually want you to be in remission for at least 2 years before taking out a policy.

Our handy infographic gives you an at a glance run down if you’re looking for life insurance after having cancer.

Cancer Infographic 01Breast Cancer in the UK


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the UK. One woman is diagnosed every 10 minutes. Around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. In each country, 46,000 people are diagnosed yearly in England, 4,700 in Scotland, 2,800 are diagnosed in Wales and a further 1,500 in Northern Ireland.

A further 7,000 people are diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) which is an early form of breast cancer, in the UK every year.

Roughly one in 7 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Wear it Pink Day

On 22nd October, thousands of people across the country wore pink to raise money towards life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing care. Breast Cancer Now’s Wear It Pink day is one of the biggest fundraising events in the UK.

This is the 20th year of the campaign, and since 2002 over £36 million has been raised.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, nearly 5,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Eight out of 10 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women aged 50 and over. Breast cancer in men is rare with just 370 new cases in the UK each year, compared to around 55,000 new cases in women.

How many people survive breast cancer?

Almost nine in ten (85%) of women survive breast cancer for five years or more. Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.

An estimated 600,000 people are alive in the UK after a diagnosis of breast cancer. This is predicted to rise to 1.2 million in 2030.

If you are a cancer survivor, we can help you find a life insurance policy. Life insurance provides a lump sum pay out that your family can use if you were to pass away. It could help them pay for your funeral, cover day to day costs or pay off your mortgage.

Most insurers view Cancer life insurance underwriting similarly in terms of when primary treatment ended (usually it must be 2 years). They will ask about:
  • Grade
  • Stage
  • Type of Cancer
  • Location of Cancer
  • Treatment (e.g. Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, Mastectomy or Lumpectomy)
  • Time from end of treatment
  • Any current reviews/treatment
They will also ask your GP or consultant.

It’s important to note that insurers usually require you to have been in remission for 2 years, depending on the treatment you have received. It is likely that your application will be declined or the insurer will postpone cover until you have met the time period in remission.

Breast Cancer Screenings

These last 18 months have been like no other for many of us and in terms of healthcare, the NHS have been put under unimaginable strain.

Across the UK, many women have had their routine breast screening delayed or cancelled due to the impact of the pandemic. As the world slowly starts to get back to normal, it’s important that you contact your GP if you are due your breast cancer screening this year, or if yours was postponed last year.

Anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for NHS breast screening every 3 years between the ages of 50 and 71. You’ll automatically get your first invite through the post for breast screening between the ages of 50 and 53. You’ll then be invited every 3 years until you turn 71.

If you’re a trans man, trans woman or are non-binary you may be invited automatically, or you may need to talk to your GP surgery or call the local breast screening service to ask for an appointment.

You need to be registered with a GP surgery to be invited for breast screening.

Breast Cancer & Life Insurance

A recent study has shown that the number of breast cancer claims appear to have largely held up during the course of the whole pandemic when compared with 2019 levels.

Vitality and Aviva have both revealed it has seen similar numbers of IP claims for breast cancer throughout the pandemic as it was seeing pre-pandemic.

The Exeter revealed breast cancer claims increased year-on-year in 2020. The number of claimants for breast cancer increased slightly by 4% in 2020 compared to 2019.

They believe this is due to private hospitals being requisitioned by the NHS during the pandemic, so that health insurance members were still able to access digital health services.

Royal London are said to have received around 20% fewer critical illness claims than it would have expected to in a non-pandemic environment. This is due to the screening programmes being temporarily suspended or delayed.

As the NHS recovers, the number of claims are expected to rise again. Early detection and treatment is key to improve survival.

Symptoms and Signs of Breast Cancer

The first symptom of breast cancer that most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. Most breast lumps are not cancerous, and can often be nothing to worry about, however it is so important to make sure you get any changes checked by a GP.

If you notice any of the following, it is important to see a doctor.
  • A new lump or area of thickened tissue in your breast
  • A change in shape or size of your breasts or nipples
  • A discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
  • A lump or swelling in your armpit
  • A change to the look or feel of your skin around the breast
  • A rash or redness on the breast or nipple
  • Crusty, scaly or itchy
Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

Being diagnosed with cancer is a heartbreaking time. If you are looking for a life insurance policy or would like to take out critical illness cover for if the worst was to happen, The Insurance Surgery can help. We work alongside big name insurance providers to find you the best policy for your personal circumstances.

If you are looking to take out a policy, fill in our online quote form and one of our expert advisors will be in touch.