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FAQ: Is Colon Cancer A Disability?

Colon cancer, with its significant impact on health and daily functioning, can indeed qualify as a disability. In this guide, our professionals will walk you through everything you need to know about this condition, including how to pursue disability benefits for colon cancer.

What Is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer, also known as rectal cancer and colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the large intestines. It typically starts from small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancers.

Symptoms of colon cancer can include changes in bowel movements, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, persistent abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. However, in the early stages, colon cancer might not cause any symptoms. Therefore, regular screening is recommended, especially if you have a family history of the disease, as it can help detect cancer at an early stage when it is more likely to be treatable.

Diagnosis often begins with a colonoscopy, where a doctor examines the inside of the colon and rectum with a camera. If suspicious areas are found, a biopsy may be performed to determine if cancer cells are present. Understanding your medical history and risk factors is also a crucial part of diagnosis.

A doctor uses a stylus to point at a human colon anatomy model and tablet.

IBS vs. Colon Cancer

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer share some symptoms like abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits.

IBS affects the large intestine, causing cramping, bloating, and sometimes diarrhea or constipation. Unlike colon cancer, IBS does not lead to changes in the bowel tissue or raise the risk of colorectal cancer.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates IBS and colon cancer differently for disability benefits. Colon cancer may lead to automatic qualification if it’s widespread or untreatable.

However, qualifying for IBS depends on how much it affects daily activities and work. Cancer treatments, with side effects like fatigue and nausea, can also influence benefit eligibility.

For IBS, treatments typically aim to relieve symptoms and may involve dietary adjustments and stress management. Providing detailed medical evidence is crucial for both conditions when applying for benefits.

Testing For Colon Cancer:

  • Diagnosis involves tests like colonoscopies, biopsies, and imaging scans.
  • Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.

Treating Colon Cancer:

  • Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapies.
  • Side effects of treatments can be significant, affecting daily functioning.

Showing Your Inability To Work:

  • Document how treatments and symptoms impair your work capability.
  • Include detailed medical records and physician statements.

What Can I Do If I’m Denied For Disability Benefits?

Most disability applications are initially denied, even after a claimant has provided sufficient evidence and waited months for a decision to be made. You shouldn’t give up on your claim just yet, since you might still qualify for benefits. To appeal a denial of disability benefits due to colon cancer, follow these steps:

  • Understand the Denial Reason: Often, denials happen because there isn’t enough medical evidence to support your claim.
  • File an Appeal: Submit more documents and any new medical information that supports your case.
  • Get Legal Help: Consider hiring a lawyer who knows how to handle Social Security disability benefits claims. They can guide you seamlessly through the appeals process.

Schedule Your Free Consultation With Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein

If you or a loved one is struggling with colon cancer and facing challenges in securing disability benefits, Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein are here to help. Our experienced legal team can guide you through the complexities of your disability claim. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your options.

Posted on April 17th, 2024 by Leventhal, Sutton and Gornstein

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