Any type of cancer can seriously affect a person’s ability to work, and acute leukemia is a type of cancer that can make it impossible for many people to continue working. Some types of leukemia allow people to continue to work, but other types will require that the person receive regular care to fight off leukemia. These treatments often leave a person feeling sick and require that the person rest to allow their body to heal. Anyone who has been diagnosed with acute leukemia should learn about the benefits that the Social Security Administration might be able to provide and how they can apply for these benefits.
What Is Acute Leukemia?
Acute leukemia is a type of cancer that’s rooted in the blood. While people can sometimes live with some types of leukemia for years, acute leukemia is a type of cancer that grows quickly, starting in the blood. More specifically, it starts in blood-forming tissues, such as the bone marrow. It also causes large numbers of white blood cells to be produced and go into the bloodstream.
There are many types of leukemia, with some affecting children more and others affecting adults more, but two of the more common types are acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoid leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia occurs when the extra white blood cells come from the myeloid line, and acute lymphoid leukemia occurs when the white blood cells are from the lymphoid line.
White blood cells normally fight infections, but when a person has leukemia, their body makes lots of abnormal white blood cells that don’t function properly. These blood cells often pool in places like lymph nodes.
Some people are more likely to get acute leukemia than others. For instance, one of the most common risk factors for acute leukemia is having another type of cancer in the past. Additionally, genetic disorders, smoking, a family history of leukemia, and exposure to certain chemicals can make it more likely that some people will develop this type of cancer.
Symptoms of Acute Leukemia
There is a range of symptoms that usually occur in the body of someone who is experiencing acute leukemia, including bone pain or tenderness, which tends to be sharper and deeper than muscle pain. It’s also much less common than muscle pain and should never be ignored.
Another common symptom is excessive sweating, especially when you’re asleep at night. Some people also experience recurrent nosebleeds and are more likely to have more bruising and problems with bleeding because the body isn’t making enough of the platelets that are required to clot bleeding.
Tiny red spots on the skin called petechiae are also common. People might also experience swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen, fever and chills, unintended weight loss, frequent and severe infections, and persistent fatigue and weakness. Petechiae are also caused by the lack of platelets in the blood, causing broken blood vessels. Lymph nodes are prone to swelling in people with leukemia because abnormal white blood cells collect there even though they’re incapable of fighting any kind of infection.
Not all patients with acute leukemia will exhibit the same symptoms, but many of these in themselves can be disabling. When they’re combined with treatment for acute leukemia, it’s even more likely that the patient won’t be able to work.
Treatment for Acute Leukemia
There are many types of leukemia, but there are also several types of treatments that someone with this condition might receive to cause to go into remission. Additionally, there are some forms of leukemia that aren’t severe enough that treatment is necessary or in the patient’s best interest. Each patient might be different in their needs, but there are several forms of treatment that are commonly given to people with leukemia.
Chemotherapy is one of the standard forms of treatment for leukemia. This form of treatment uses chemicals to kill the cancer cells, but it also kills healthy cells. The type of drug that a person receives will depend on the type of leukemia. Additionally, some people might receive more than one kind of chemotherapy, and some people will take it as a pill while others will get it through direct injection into the vein. Targeted therapy is another option. This type of therapy kills specific genes and proteins in the abnormal cells to prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that’s used to treat acute leukemia. In this type of treatment, high-energy beams or x-rays are shot into the body to damage the cells with leukemia. Leukemia patients might get radiation in a specific area that has a lot of leukemia cells, or they might receive radiation all over the body.
Immunotherapy is another option for some patients. With this treatment, your own immune system is used to attack the cancer cells. Normally, the immune system doesn’t attack leukemia cells because cancer uses proteins to hide from the immune system. Immunotherapy drugs work by interfering with these proteins.
Some people benefit from stem cell transfers. Usually, the patient will receive a dose of chemotherapy to kill the leukemia-producing before receiving the new stem cells to replenish their lost cells.
Disability Benefits for Acute Leukemia
Many people with acute leukemia will qualify for benefits for their condition when they apply with the Social Security Administration. One of the first qualifiers for receiving benefits is to be rendered permanently disabled, which means that the applicant will be unable to work for at least one year. Additionally, the applicant is ineligible for benefits for the first six months after they’ve been diagnosed and deemed unable to work. They also have to have paid a sufficient amount of money into the SSA to qualify.
Additionally, applicants need to meet certain qualifications in the Blue Book, which is the handbook that’s used to determine who is eligible for benefits for a disability. There’s a specific listing for acute leukemia in this handbook. There are various factors that are considered when determining whether someone meets the listing in the Blue Book, including the duration of the condition, malignancy origin, response to therapies, and the extent of the involvement with the condition in the body.
Another option for people who are trying to qualify for disability benefits but don’t meet the listing for acute leukemia is to qualify with a medical-vocational allowance. When applying this way, applicants need to fill out the information about how their condition affects them. Additionally, the physician will fill out limitations that the applicant has so that the SSA can compare this list with all of the other jobs that the applicant has done in the past. If there are no jobs that the applicant could still do, it’s somewhat likely that they’ll qualify for benefits.
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.