The Disabling Effects of Lung Cancer
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
As with many cancers, lung cancer itself may not produce symptoms severe enough to qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. To qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, your symptoms must be severe enough to make you unable to perform substantial gainful activity. Even though the cancer itself may not produce severe impairment, you may qualify because of treatment side effects.
In more advanced stages of lung cancer, you may experience many disabling conditions, such as:
- shortness of breath;
- coughing up blood;
- violent coughing fits;
- fluid in the chest;
- chronic pain; and
Treatment for lung cancer is normally through drug therapy, radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery. Each type of treatment carries the risk of side effects ranging from fatigue to weakening of the immune system. The treatment for cancer is often costly and can take months, even years of clinic visits.
Surgery may result in prolonged hospital stays and more recovery from treatment, further impairing the ability to continue working. Many patients on chemotherapy regimens require weekly or monthly treatment, causing a loss in their ability to earn a stable income. In cases such as these, Social Security disability benefits can help their financial situation.
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