Cancer is never an easy disease to be diagnosed with, and many forms of cancer can be difficult to recover from. But mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer that can quickly make it impossible for the patient to work. Additionally, it can be a particularly difficult form of cancer to overcome. Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma should seek Social Security disability benefits when they find out so that that they can get the benefits that they need when they can no longer work because of treatments and symptoms from the mesothelioma.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a very dangerous form of cancer that affects the lining of the internal organs. It’s a very rare condition, but it’s incurable in many patients. It’s a particularly aggressive form of cancer, and it’s divided into types according to which organ the mesothelioma is affecting. The mesothelioma that surrounds the lungs is one of the most common types. Some other areas that are affected by mesothelioma include the lining around the abdomen, heart, and testicles.
Mesothelioma and other types of cancers occur when there’s a mutation in a cell’s DNA. These mutations tell the cell to multiply at a very fast rate, which results in a tumor. The exact cause of the DNA change isn’t always completely clear, but environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and genetic factors can all contribute to cancer.
More specifically to mesothelioma, there are certain chemicals that might cause mesothelioma when a person is exposed to them. For instance, asbestos exposure is linked to the development of mesothelioma. While asbestos is a naturally occurring substance, the fibers can cause damage when a person inhales or swallows them. Basically, the fibers create irritations that can cause the cancer. It might take someone up to 60 years to develop mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos or another substance that causes mesothelioma.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
The symptoms that a person will experience depends on the type of mesothelioma that the person has. For instance, a person with mesothelioma around the lungs, called pleural mesothelioma, will experience painful coughing, chest pain, lumps under the skin of the chest, shortness of breath, and unexplained weight loss. Some people might also experience pain and swelling in the neck and face.
People with peritoneal mesothelioma, the type that occurs around the abdominal cavity, will likely experience swelling, nausea, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal pain. they can also have bowel obstructions, anemia, fever, problems with blood clotting, and a general wasting away of the body.
The exact symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are less clear because the other forms are very rare. For instance, pericardial mesothelioma, which is mesothelioma around the heart, is not the most common form. But one of the symptoms that people with this type of the disease might get is difficulty breathing and pains in the chest.
Tunica vaginalis is mesothelioma that affects the area around the testicles, and someone with this type might have a lump in the testicle region. Establishing a list of other symptoms is difficult because there are not enough cases of these more rare forms of mesothelioma to establish a pattern of symptoms.
Treatment for Mesothelioma
Most of the time, there isn’t a cure for mesothelioma. Instead, a doctor will use certain techniques to slow the progression of the disease and make the person more comfortable. The type of treatment that a person receives is dependent on the location of the cancer and the stage. The patient’s overall health can also play a major role. Mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed until one of the later stages, so this will also play a role in the treatment plan.
Finally, since mesothelioma is often terminal, the patient’s wishes are also very important. There are some people who want to do everything they can to improve their chances of extending their life, regardless of the amount of suffering, but some people would rather do what’s possible to increase their enjoyment and comfort during the time that they have left.
One possibility for treatment is surgery. In some instances, when the cancer is diagnosed early enough, it’s possible for the surgeon to remove all of the cancer. Most of the time, the surgeon is only able to remove part of it. Even if not all of the cancer can be removed, the partial removal of the cancerous tissue can slow the spread of it to other parts of the body and decrease some of the symptoms.
There are several types of surgeries that a person with pleural mesothelioma can undergo, including removal of tissue around the lungs and even one of the lungs. Some people might also opt to have a surgery that will reduce the amount of fluid buildup on the lungs.
Chemotherapy is another common form of treatment. It can be used both before and after surgery. If it’s used before surgery, it’s usually to make the operation go more smoothly. If it’s used after surgery, the intention is usually to make sure that the cancer doesn’t return.
Radiation is another form of cancer treatment in which beams of energy are sent to the affected areas to kill cancer cells. Sometimes this treatment is used to reduce the symptoms of cancer.
Immunotherapy is a treatment method that helps the body’s own immune system fight cancer cells, and this treatment might be an option for people who have tried other treatment methods without success.
Disability Benefits for Mesothelioma
Since mesothelioma is almost always fatal, people who are diagnosed with it will meet the listing requirement for compassionate allowance. This process allows people to go around the full application process if they’re diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Some people will meet the listing for Social Security Disability Insurance if they are diagnosed with mesothelioma, which means that they will be able to collect a monthly income to offset the cost of living expenses. In order to receive this particular benefit, one of the requirements is that the applicant has already paid in a sufficient amount of money to the Social Security Administration through working a regular job or through their self-employment taxes.
In almost all cases, people with mesothelioma meet the listing requirements to receive benefits. But in the rare instances in which an applicant for whatever reason doesn’t meet the listing requirements, they might still be able to get benefits by filling out the residual functional capacity test. This assessment takes the information that the patient’s doctor gives, including the stage of the cancer and whether or not it has metastasized, along with the treatments that the patient is receiving and what it will prevent the applicant from doing. Then, the Social Security Administration looks at the jobs that the applicant has done and whether or not the person has sufficient loss of ability in areas that they would need to do one of their previous jobs. In most cases, this will be sufficient information to get disability 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 Mesothelioma please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.