There is one (relatively) good thing about testicular cancer: if caught early enough, it has a great survival rate.
Testicular cancer is an uncontrolled, abnormal, and invasive growth of cells that begins in one or both testicles. It’s the most common form of cancer for men between the ages 15 and 35. If detected early on, testicular cancer is highly treatable. Like other cancers, if it is not caught and treated, cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body.
However, early detection is difficult. Often, the earliest signs include a painless swelling or lump on the testicle or retention of fluid in the scrotum. Self-examination is the best way to detect these sorts of changes, but young men are often not educated to conduct regular self-exams. Many men also resist discussing reproductive health with their doctors. As a result, testicular cancer is often not diagnosed until later stages, when the tumor becomes painful. Unfortunately, at this point the chances of successful treatment have significantly fallen.
Testicular Cancer as a Disabling Condition
Conventional treatment for testicular cancer usually involves surgery and follow-up radiation or chemotherapy sessions to kill off any remaining stray cancer cells. The therapy process, rather than the disease, is more likely to prove disabling.
Patients who have a solid employment history and find themselves too disabled to work may be eligible for income support from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Other disabled cancer patients who lack the required years of contributing to the federal Social Security fund may be able to get smaller benefits from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. In both cases, the first step is to send an application to the Social Security Administration and to document the level of disability caused by the medical condition and treatment.
The Social Security Administration does not consider testicular cancer as a condition that is automatically worthy of disability benefits. The applicant bears the burden of proving that the condition is disabling. This can be done by showing that the cancer has recurred or spread despite treatment, and that the cancer—or the treatment—has left the patient too weak to work any job function. But even a patient whose cancer has not yet shown itself resistant to treatment can qualify for disability benefits by showing that his residual functional capacity—his ability to work productively—is too limited to hold down a job.
Fighting Cancer Versus Fighting the Social Security Administration
Getting the complex paperwork in order to file for SSDI for testicular cancer would be a daunting task even for a healthy man. For a patient dealing with a life-threatening illness, it can seem a nearly impossible job. The stakes are huge: if the application is incomplete, the Social Security Administration will reject the claim and deny you the income needed to survive.
It’s no surprise that the majority of first-time disability applicants have their claims rejected.
If you are a cancer patient in central Pennsylvania, you should know that the Harrisburg disability income attorneys at Schmidt Kramer have spent years helping your neighbors get the SSDI benefits they deserve. Our team of experienced Pennsylvania disability lawyers can track your case from the start. We can help fill out your application for benefits, help compile the medical records, or handle an appeal if the decision has gone against you. Call us at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free to get us started with a confidential and FREE review of your case.