Residents of Arizona see a lot of sunshine every year. However, more sun means an increased risk of skin cancer. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may be able to recover Social Security Disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers many factors when determining eligibility for benefits for those with skin cancer. If you meet certain criteria or are unable to work due to skin cancer, you may be eligible for disability benefits. The Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers can help you with your initial application or with the appeals process.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are four main types of skin cancer, including:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
This is the most common form of skin cancer, with an estimated 4.3 million cases diagnosed each year, causing more than 3,000 deaths. This form of cancer usually does not spread, it stays in the area where it forms and slowly destroys surrounding tissues.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This is the second most common form of skin cancer. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, this version of skin cancer is more likely to spread to other portions of the body, especially if it begins on the lower lip.
While this form of cancer is the least common, it is the most serious. It can quickly spread to other parts of the body. This is often caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun and it triggers mutations that cause skin cells to rapidly multiply and form malignant tumors in the pigment-producing cells in the epidermis.
Melanoma can be difficult to cure if it has spread. It can also reappear years later. Individuals with this form of skin cancer may experience pain, nausea and fatigue.
This form of cancer usually affects people who have suppressed immune systems, such as people who have had an organ transplant or have the HIV virus. Certain ethnic backgrounds are also more prone to getting this type of skin cancer. This form of cancer appears as skin lesions.
Factors and Evidence Needed in Skin Cancer Cases
If you want to obtain disability benefits for skin cancer, you must be able to show that you have sarcoma or carcinoma cancer that spread beyond the lymph nodes in the region where cancer originated. For melanoma, you must be able to show that the cancer moved to a lymph node and this is clinically observable, or, in the alternative, that the cancer spread to at least four lymph nodes or to nearby skin or other locations in the body. Melanoma that recurs even after skin was removed also meets the listing.
The SSA will need ample medical evidence that shows the type, severity and location of your skin cancer, including the primary and recurrent locations. If you underwent surgery or other operations, you may need to provide a copy of the operation notes and the pathology report.
You should also collect the summary of hospitalization report and other reports. To be sufficient, the documentation should establish what the surgical findings were and report the pathological findings. The SSA may also require medical records that details the recurrence and progression of the cancer, as well as how you have responded to therapy and treatment.
The SSA requires longitudinal evidence when you have cancer with distant metastases. Generally, the administration does not need this evidence when there are metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes, but this information is necessary when there are metastases expected to respond to anticancer therapy.
In these situations, the SSA usually needs a longitudinal record of three months after therapy commences. This information helps show whether the therapy had the effect your doctor expected and whether the effect is likely to be successful.
You may also need to provide information about your initial planned treatment regimen.
Treatments for Skin Cancer
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type of cancer the person has and how severe it is. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are usually treated through the use of creams, freezing or surgery. However, if the cancer is located in a position that is difficult to treat, radiation therapy might be used.
For melanoma, surgery is often required. Lymph nodes may have to be removed if the cancer spread to them. Treatment may also require chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. If the cancer cannot be treated, portions of it may be removed and treatment may target the immunodeficiency.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have skin cancer and would like to know if you may qualify for disability benefits, contact Dayes Law Firm PC. We have assisted victims who have various disabilities with obtaining benefits. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency, so there is no risk for you learning about your rights and the application process.