Esophageal Cancer and Getting Social Security DisabilityEsophageal cancer is one of the many forms of cancer. It is a cancer that originates in your esophagus. Your esophagus is a hollow muscular tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach where it is digested.
Esophageal cancer usually starts in the cells that line the inside of your esophagus. Even though esophageal cancer may develop at any point along your esophagus, in the United States it begins most of the time in the lower area of your esophagus.
In other areas of the world like Asia and portions of Africa, esophageal cancer is a far more common type of cancer than it is here in the United States. Fortunately, less than 5 out of every 100,000 people are afflicted with esophageal cancer in the United States. It is more common in men than in women, especially men who are over the age of 50.
When cells mutate
Esophageal cancer begins when cells in your esophagus start to mutate and divide and grow out of control. However, no one knows for sure why this takes place.
Researchers think that chronic irritation of your esophagus may be one of the factors that result in the formation of this type of cancer. There are several things that can irritate your esophagus. Some of these include:
Eating a diet that is low in fruit and vegetables
Drinking extremely hot liquids
Eating foods that have been preserved in lye
Having certain disorders, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or Barretts esophagus
Radiation therapy of your chest or upper abdomen
Esophageal cancer is like many other forms of cancer in that it does not usually produce any signs or symptoms in its early stages. However, there are signs and symptoms that can be an indication of the disease. Some of these are:
Weight loss that is not intentional
Difficulty with swallowing solids or liquids
The backward movement of food through your esophagus and mouth (regurgitation)
Chest pain that is not associated with eating
Diagnosing esophageal cancer will usually involve some diagnostic tests and procedures. These may include:
X-rays of your esophagus
A biopsy of your esophagus
Endoscopy (the use of a scope to examine your esophagus).
In 2008, the Social Security Administration implemented the Social Security Compassionate Allowances initiative. What this initiative does is to permit certain people with certain disorders to qualify for Social Security disability benefits without going through the standard disability claim process that can take months or years to complete.
Esophageal cancer is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for expedited claim processing through the Compassionate Allowances initiative. If you have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, this could mean approval for Social Security disability benefits in less than a month.
However, you will still have to give the Social Security Administration as much medical evidence as you possibly can. Things like treatment records, lab results and written statements from your doctor will be needed in order for you to qualify for Social Security disability benefits due to esophageal cancer.
Approval is not automatic. It may be in your best interests to have a disability attorney representing you.