Not that long ago a diagnosis of cancer often meant a death sentence. Fortunately, rapid advances in early detection and treatment during the past three decades have led to a dramatic rise in the odds of surviving the disease. The result: it’s easier than ever for cancer survivors to find life insurance at an affordable rate.

If you have survived cancer, the first step in buying coverage will be to provide the insurance company with your comprehensive medical records. Any attempt to fudge these records could lead to cancellation or denial of some or all of benefits.

Most policies will require you to complete an extensive health questionnaire and provide blood and urine specimens. However, some insurance companies will waive these steps in return for offering more limited coverage at a higher premium.

Generally, to purchase life insurance, a survivor must be in good health, with the malignancy cured or in remission, and no history of treatment for three months to as much as five years (depending on the nature of the cancer. A survivor who has been in complete remission for at least five years might be able to obtain life coverage at a reasonable rate.

Insurance companies are most likely to cover survivors of early breast cancer (Stage 1), prostate cancer, and conditions that are caught and cured early. For those whose disease is more advanced (Stage 2 or higher), have suffered a recurrence or multiple malignancies, whose cancer has metastasized, or who use tobacco products may find it more difficult, or pay a hefty surcharge, to buy a life insurance policy.