Any type of cancer can be a major disruption to a person’s life even if they have good chances of a positive outcome, and adrenal cancer is no different. Anyone who has been diagnosed with this type of cancer should learn of the ways that the Social Security Administration can help. They’re here to provide financial help to people with adrenal cancer who can no longer work and qualify for disability benefits. Learn more about adrenal cancer, the treatments, and how a person with adrenal cancer can get more information about applying for disability benefits.
What Is Adrenal Cancer?
Adrenal cancer is a rare type of cancer that forms on the outer edge of the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are located at the top of the kidneys, and they produce a lot of the hormones that our bodies need on a daily basis, including the hormones that give instructions to almost every organ in the entire body of a human.
People are most likely to develop this kind of cancer before the age of 5 or while within their 40s or 50s. When adrenal cancer is found in the early stages, there’s a good chance for remission and recovery. Unfortunately, adrenal cancer that’s found in one of the later stages is less likely to have a cure, especially if it has spread beyond the adrenal glands.
Some people are at a greater likelihood of developing adrenal cancer. For instance, people who have inherited certain syndromes are more likely to develop them. Some of these syndromes include Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Carney complex, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Lynch syndrome, and multiple endocrine neoplasias.
While there is no clear cause of adrenal cancer, researchers know that it occurs when there’s a mutation in the DNA of an adrenal cell. When this happens, the cells multiply rapidly at the expense of healthy cells, and a tumor forms as the mutated cells begin to build up. Over time, these cells will break away and move to other parts of the body, infecting the liver, kidneys, and other vital organs with cancer.
Symptoms of Adrenal Cancer
There are several symptoms of adrenal cancer, but many people will only experience some of them. For instance, it’s common for people to have either unexplained weight loss or weight gain. Additionally, it’s very common for people with adrenal cancer to have some types of symptoms that are tied to whether they are male or female because adrenal cancer affects a person’s hormones. For instance, women with adrenal cancer are more likely to experience changes in their hormones that result in excess facial hair, loss of hair on the head, and irregular periods. It’s possible for women to experience some of these symptoms as part of the normal aging process, especially if a woman develops this type of cancer when they’re in their 40s or 50s. The symptoms of men’s hormone irregularities will look different. For instance, men are more likely to experience enlarged breast tissues and shrinking testicles.
Many people will also experience changes in the way that they eat and the way that their stomach feels. For instance, some people are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting if they have adrenal cancer. Abdominal bloating and loss of appetite are also possibilities. Back pain, fever, muscle weakness, and pink or purple stretch marks on the skin are also possible.
Other people will experience elevated blood pressure, decreased potassium levels, increased urination, and increased production of cortisol, aldosterone, and mineralocorticoid. Cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other chemicals that naturally occur in the body are low because the adrenal gland is what produces these chemicals.
Treatment for Adrenal Cancer
There are several types of treatment for adrenal cancer, including surgery. People who undergo surgery for adrenal cancer will have all of the affected adrenal glands removed because the goal is to remove all of the cancer. If the surgeon finds that cancer has also spread to nearby organs, such as the liver, they might also remove parts of this organ.
Chemotherapy is another type of treatment that might be right for some patients with adrenal cancer. When someone gets chemotherapy, they’ll either receive a pill form or be injected via IV. Chemotherapy is a treatment that kills the cancer cells with poison. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of chemotherapy is that it can kill regular, healthy cells, too. This type of treatment is usually used on adrenal cancer if all of it can’t be removed because chemotherapy can slow the progression of the disease.
Some people will receive radiation for their adrenal cancer. This type of therapy uses beams of energy, such as x-rays, to kill the cancer cells. These beams of energy are concentrated and targeted, so it’s much more likely that you can remove only that specific part of the adrenal system.
Other people will also benefit from some types of medications that are used to reduce the recurrence of cancer once the body has been rid of it. For instance, mitotane has been used for decades to reduce recurrence.
Disability Benefits for Adrenal Cancer
Adrenal cancer can often be life-threatening, but even if you only need treatment to get better, you’ll need to take some time off of work to rest and fight off cancer. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation often leave people feeling sick, and it’s usually impossible to work. That’s why anyone who has adrenal cancer or knows someone with it should learn more about the disability benefits that the SSA has and what a person needs to do to qualify for them.
First of all, in order to qualify for benefits, an applicant needs to have paid in a certain amount of money already through jobs or self-employment. Additionally, an applicant needs to anticipate being sick for at least a full year, and they’re not eligible for benefits during the first six months of having been diagnosed with cancer. People who are applying should also know about what symptoms and other qualifying events they need in order to receive benefits.
Adrenal cancer is one of the few types of illnesses that might allow receiving assistance through the medical allowance program, which is a program that can help expedite the process to receive benefits sooner if you meet certain qualifications. Namely, the applicant must have a case of adrenal cancer that involves distant metastases or a type of adrenal cancer that’s inoperable. This process takes weeks as opposed to the many months that it would take to receive benefits through the regular process.
When an applicant doesn’t qualify for the medical compassion program, they might still receive benefits, but it could take a longer amount of time. That’s why people should start their application process as soon as they find out.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Depression, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.