People who are undergoing treatment for cancer have a lot of needs and need a lot of support, including help with paying for their everyday needs, such as the rent, car bill, and other bills that don’t go away just because someone is too sick to work. Sometimes people are working jobs that don’t provide insurance for instances like cancer, especially when it’s prolonged. Getting the financial help a person needs through these difficult times is of utmost importance, and knowing about the options that are available is as easy as talking to a qualified attorney. Putting together the information that you need can be a challenge, though, but here are a few things that anyone considering applying should know.
What is Cancer?
Cancer comes in many varieties, but in a general sense, cancer is when the genetic information in a cell is altered and multiplies itself, causing destruction of the healthy cells in the process. In reality, even healthy people have cancerous cells in their bodies all the time, but normally, the body is able to destroy those cells before they multiply and become a disease. When a person is said to have cancer, their body was unable to kill the mutated cells before they spread. Cancerous cells also kill normal cells.
Some types of cancers are highly genetic, such as breast and ovarian cancer. And some factors, such as smoking, pollution, obesity, and UV rays, can increase the likelihood of developing some kinds of cancers. Many of these factors can also increase the rate of growth for cancers that are genetic predispositions.
Some cancers cause tumors, which can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors will not spread outside of the localized region, but malignant tumors can spread well beyond the place of the original tumor. While most benign tumors can be removed with surgery and are generally not life threatening, other benign tumors can become life threatening because of their location. For instance, tumors in the brain are difficult to remove. Additionally, some cancers, such as cancers in the blood, don’t form tumors but can still be life threatening.
There are many different types of cancer and many different reasons why people get cancer. The prognosis can even be affected by age, weight, family history, and many other factors.
Symptoms of Cancer
The exact symptoms that a person with cancer will notice will vary according to the type of cancer that the person has and the stage of the cancer. For instance, someone with an advanced stage of lung cancer might begin to cough up blood, but the cancer is difficult to catch in the early stages unless regular screening is done because there are far fewer signs of lung cancer in the early stages. Some other signs of lung cancer include hoarseness, and night sweats and persistent indigestion can be signs of many types of cancer.
Similarly, someone with stomach cancer might have pain in their stomach. Brest cancer can be detected by doing regular breast exams. Skin cancer is one of the few types of cancers that can be detected by looking at the skin. For instance, moles with irregular shapes might actually be cancerous. Some people might also have reddening of the skin, wounds that won’t heal, or a darkening or yellowing of the skin.
Some symptoms that are common across many varieties of cancer include weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. Some people might also experience changes in weight that can’t be accounted for by changes in diet and exercise.
People with breast cancer and other types of cancer in the tissues might also notice lumps, and people with some types of cancer might also notice that their bowel movements have changed and they need to urinate more or less often.
Treatment for Cancer
For people who have cancer, there are several forms of treatment, and the type that someone receives will depend on the type of cancer, the stage, and several other factors. Often times, more than one type of treatment is used.
Chemotherapy is one of the most well-known types of treatments for cancer. In this process, chemotherapy drugs are sent into the bloodstream intravenously. The chemotherapy drugs kill the cancerous cells, but they can also damage healthy cells, which is why chemotherapy can have side effects. With some forms of cancer, the patient can also take an oral chemotherapy drug from home.
Radiation is another form of treatment that kills cancerous cells by destroying the DNA. With this treatment, beams of x-rays or protons are shot into the body to destroy the cancerous cells
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps a body’s immune system to recognize cancerous cells so that the immune system attacks them.
Hormone therapy is a type of treatment that blocks hormones from the patient’s body to stop or slow the growth of the cancer cells. Some types of cancer, such as breast cancer, are fueled by the hormones that a person’s body makes, so getting rid of the hormones cuts off what the cancerous cells needs to thrive.
Surgery is a common type of treatment in which a tumor is removed. Many times, this procedure is used in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Bone marrow transplants are often used to make the body healthy enough that it can withstand higher doses of chemotherapy.
Disability Benefits for Cancer
People who need to undergo radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and other forms of treatment will likely find it impossible to work. Both cancer and the treatments can make people tired, sick, and unable to concentrate. Anyone who is struggling with this disease should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits so that they can have the financial resources that they need during this difficult time.
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for cancer, a person’s cancer must either be terminal or be a form that will put them out of work for more than 12 months.
To know whether or not a person meets the requirements, they should look at the Blue Book, which lists all of the condition, diseases, and disorders under which a person could qualify for disability benefits through the SSA. The requirements for cancer will vary according to where the cancer originated even if it has already spread. For instance, to receive benefits for some types of cancer, a person only needs to have been diagnosed. For other types of cancer, the person must have been diagnosed with the cancer, but in some circumstances, they might also need the diagnosis of it having spread.
Anyone who is looking for disability benefits for cancer should know what they can expect. Also, since going through cancer treatment is expensive, people who are trying to undergo treatment are going to need support from people and the financial support that disability insurance provides.
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 Still’s Disease, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.