Cancer and Related Disorders
Cancer can affect virtually every organ and system in the body. No other disorder is more universally feared. Despite astounding advances in treatment, it remains a serious and potentially life-threatening disease.
All types of cancer are evaluated essentially the same way for disability purposes. Determining the level of disability requires consideration of (1) the site of the primary tumor or lesion; (2) the histogenesis of the tumor; (3) the extent to which it has compromised the primary site and/or spread to other sites; (4) whether or not it has responded to treatment; and (5) the side effects of such treatment.
Once a diagnosis of cancer has been made, pain, fatigue, impaired body function and other symptoms of the disorder can provide the basis for a finding of disability. People with cancer, including cancer survivors, often experience significant depression or anxiety that may contribute to their disability. And the recurrence or spread of cancer after treatment is almost always disabling.
The Social Security Administration and most disability insurance carriers do a reasonably good job evaluating cancer cases. This is not to say that mistakes aren’t made. However, people whose cancer is untreatable, or whose cancer has spread, will normally be awarded disability benefits . . . provided they live long enough to survive the waiting period.