Head and Neck cancer : getting insured

I have tried a number of companies,  one of them recommended here . I have just started radio treatment on 21 March for 6 weeks. Tumor was in tonsil but removed 6 weeks ago.  Some cells in Lymph nodes hence treatment now. So far knocked back 3 times. Any advice or recommendations please?

  • John you are very early into treatment to start trying to get travel insurance.  I think insurers will want to see a completion of treatment and an assessment of success before they can understand the risk.  You may not be well enough to travel outside of the UK for a few months post treatment depending on what side effects you get.

    I too have an H&N cancer and choose to travel without insurance cover for my cancer.  I've not had RT only surgery.  In my case the risk of a cancer related issue is minimal.  If I get a reoccurrence then with this cancer there should be no problem in returning home at the end of a holiday.  We also book last minute to minimise the risk of cancelling through something being found at a routine appointment (that happened to me a year ago).

    This approach is not for everyone and my insurer (through Nationwide banking) is fully appraised of the situation and in agreement with this approach.  I may actually be able to get full cover in the next few weeks as I will be one years since my last surgery at the end of the month and that is one of the criteria they have for assessing the risk.

    Are you a member of the H&N forum - I may have missed you on there, but we would welcome you with open arms.

  • Thanks a lot for your reply and information. 

    Did not know a H & N forum existed 

  • Hi Peter,

    I have now been refused twice by the biggest specialist Cancer Insurers, All Clear and World First and I have a trip booked to Spain for May.

    I am over two years post treatment for Stage 4 Head & Neck Cancer.

    I had an Unknown Primary but the Consultant strongly suspected it may have started at the back of the throat close to my tonsil, the cancer then moved to my lymph nodes in my neck, I had 60 lymph nodes removed by way of Neck Dissection 15 of those Lymph Nodes  were cancerous, and I also had a tonsillectomy. Chemo & 6 weeks Radiation, all completed September 2019.

    My Camera check ups were 3 monthly and are now 4 monthly.  

    No one will insure me as soon as you tell them you had an Unknown Primary Site.

    I have contacted My Consultant's secretary to seek advice yesterday, but she seemed to be already very familiar with my predicament.

    My question is, are you travelling without any Insurance whatsoever Peter?


  • Gill - you are very similar to me.  Although they eventually found my cancer after looking for 15 months of CUP and taking much the same as you - only one lymph node positive.  When they went to remove the cancer in my tongue (confirmed by biopsy) it had gone...  I am not sure how you would describe me - maybe CUP again or maybe cured.

    Nationwide bank insure me for everything except the H&N cancer issues.  I would not travel abroad without cover as we are probably far more likely to fall over and break a bone that have to have treatment abroad for the cancer as it stands right now for me.  I rang them up and confirmed this with them and it is also written into the policy.

  • Hi Peter,

    I apologise for the delay, I wasn't expecting such a rapid response, so thank you very much :-)

    I feel that after talking to my Consultant's secretary that this is quite a common problem for cancer patients.

    I would be happy to proceed with Travel Insurance excluding the Head & Neck Cancer Issues as I don't want to travel abroad without any cover.

    May I ask, that is if you know.........

    Which Insurance Brokers Nationwide use?

    Kind Regards


  • The underwriter appears to be UK Insurance Limited.  Seems like the underwrite a huge number of branded policies.

  • Thank you so much, my Macmillan Nurse contacted me yesterday with a list of companies, they all list what cancers they cover but I haven't come across any that will insure for CUP Cancer even though it will be 3 years since the last day of treatment this September.

    I will try to get some Insurance Peter because as you say, we are more likely to fall over etc.

    I will report back if I'm successful with the company and the price.

    Kind Regards


  • Hi Peter

    Just to update you, I have obtained Full Comprehensive Travel Insurance with Aviva.co.uk, absolutely brilliant, I have put a full post on Travel Insurance on here with the details.  They covered Unknown Primary for £64.50, I have used Aviva in the past, however only for Motor Insurance and they were Amazing when I once had to make a claim.  So good to know I'm fully covered :-)  just in case you wish to give them a go in future.