Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts within the lymphatic system. This type of cancer can be slow-growing, medium-growing, or quick-growing, and it can be difficult or even impossible to go to work for people struggling with this kind of cancer. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is especially hard on the body, and people who have this type of cancer can get benefits through the Social Security Administration to pay their bills so that they can focus on their treatment. Learn more about non-Hodgkin lymphoma and how someone with this cancer can start receiving benefits within a matter of weeks.
What Is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. When someone has non-Hodgkin lymphoma, white blood cells that are mutated and don’t fight infection produce rapidly, often destroying healthy white blood cells in the process.
The lymphatic system is responsible for fighting infections and germs. People who have non-Hodgkin lymphoma have white blood cells that grow in an abnormal way and can cause growths or tumors throughout the body. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a general category of lymphoma, but there are several more specific types of lymphoma under this larger umbrella term. For instance, follicular lymphoma and large B-cell lymphoma are two other common types of lymphoma under the larger term of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
No one knows for sure what causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but white blood cells usually go through a predictable life cycle that doesn’t happen when someone develops non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Usually, non-Hodgkin lymphoma begins in the B-cells, which are responsible for producing antibodies that fight off invaders. Sometimes, non-Hodgkin lymphoma starts with the T-cells, which kill invaders more directly.
There are some risk factors for developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. For instance, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is much more common in people over the age of 60, and exposure to certain chemicals, such as those that are used to kill insects and weeds, also put a person at a greater risk of developing this cancer. Additionally, infection with some viruses and bacteria, including HIV, Epstein-Barr, and the Hellicobacter pylon bacteria, can increase a person’s chances of getting non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Finally, medications that are used with people who have an organ transplant can also increase a person’s risk of developing this type of cancer.
Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
The symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma can vary from one person to the next, but there are some certain symptoms that are often seen in patients with this type of cancer. For instance, some people will experience swollen lymph nodes in the groin, neck, and arm pit. The swelling occurs when white blood cells that are reproducing too quickly collect in the lymph nodes, causing them to swell bigger.
Additionally, some people will experience shortness of breath, abdominal discomfort, feelings of fullness in the stomach that won’t go away, fatigue, chronic fever, night sweats, and weight loss when not trying to lose weight. Some people will also experience chest pain and coughing.
The exact symptoms that a patient feels can vary depending on a lot of factors. For instance, someone who has cancer in the lymph nodes in the cheast are more likely to experience coughing and shortness of breath than someone who has a tumor in another lymph node area because the swelling in the cheast lymph node can press on the trachea, causing difficulties with breathing. Additionally, if the cancer is affecting lymph nodes in the stomach, the patient is more likely to experience feelings of fullness, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort, especially if the spleen or liver are enlarged or there’s fluid buildup in the abdomen.
Treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Several types of treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma might be used on someone, but the exact treatment plan will likely vary from one person to the next. For instance, some people might benefit from targeted drug therapy, which can be used alone but is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy.
People with non-Hodgkin lymphoma will undergo one or a handful of some of the following treatments, including radiation, which is a type of treatment that uses focused rays of light to kill the cancer cells in a targeted way.
Some people will also benefit from chemotherapy, which is a drug that can be taken orally or injected directly into the bloodstream. Chemotherapy kills the cancer cells, but unfortunately, it also kills healthy cells. Often times, chemotherapy is used right before a bone marrow transplant so that the body can start growing back healthy white blood cells.
Immunotherapy is a fairly new type of treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to fight off the mutated cells. This type of therapy gets rid of the protein that the mutated cells use to hide from the immune system so that the body can kill the mutated cells.
Bone marrow transplants are a type of treatment in which bone marrow from a healthy donor is given to the cancer patient. This bone marrow will help the patient grow new, healthy white blood cells.
A new type of treatment is to take T-cells out of the patient’s body and engineer them to fight off the cancer cells. Then, they’re reinserted into the patient’s body.
Disability Benefits for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a serious type of cancer, and anyone who has been diagnosed with it should know that going on with work is simply not possible. Treatments are exhausting even if they prove to be beneficial, and not all patients survive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Because some types of cancers and other conditions can be aggressive and life-threatening, the Social Security Administration recognized the need to get people disability benefits and a special way of expediting the process of receiving disability benefits was created. This process is called a compassionate allowance, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma was added to the list of conditions that receive this allowance in 2012. People who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and meet the requirements are able to receive benefits within a few weeks of application rather than waiting several months or even years, which is what most applicants for disability benefits have to wait.
Although you can receive benefits much more quickly than if you had another condition, and although having the diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is enough to qualify you for benefits, there are certain pieces of paperwork that you need to turn in to show evidence that you’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Namely, applicants need to provide documentation of the clinical examination, imaging related to diagnosis, biopsies related to diagnosis, pathology reports, records of any surgical procedures performed, treatment records relating to the lymphoma, and any progress notes from the physician.
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.