September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States causing more deaths than any other female reproductive system form of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year, about 22,530 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 13,980 women will succumb to the disease.

Ranking fifth in cancer deaths among women, a woman has a 1 in 78 chance of being diagnosed with the reproductive system cancer during her lifetime. A woman’s chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108, according to the American Cancer Society. White women are more likely than African-American women to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and about half of those who are diagnosed are 63 or older.

Why An Awareness Month for Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the silent killer. In its early stages, ovarian cancer presents no symptoms. When an individual does exhibit symptoms, they are often associated with other conditions. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, frequent urination, or difficulty eating and feeling full quickly.

By learning the early signs and symptoms of the disease, it can help lead to an earlier diagnosis that will allow for the cancer to be treated more effectively and increase the odds of survival. While it is difficult to screen for ovarian cancer, the most effective tests for the condition include blood tests and pelvic imaging. The strongest risk factors include a family history of the disease and those who are older.

How Can Someone With Ovarian Cancer Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Just like other cancers, ovarian cancer can potentially qualify for disability benefits. The medical guide used by the SSA, which is called the Blue Book, has a listing that applies to ovarian cancer. Section 13.23 applies to all kinds of ovarian cancer, including germ cell, carcinoma, and sarcoma.

Germ cell ovarian cancer qualifies for disability benefits if it has recurred after initial treatment. To be approved with carcinoma or sarcoma, you must provide detailed medical records that indicate tumors that go beyond the pelvis such as to the bowel, metastatic tumors that extend into regional or distant lymph nodes, or there is a recurrence after the initial treatment of the condition.

If you have ovarian cancer that meets those criteria, you will still need to provide detailed medical records to confirm it. Your records should indicate there has been a formal diagnosis and include how the diagnosis was made, include pathology reports and surgical records if applicable, all diagnostic reports, your treatment plan and any side effects of it, and a written statement from your physician about your cancer as well as your restrictions and limitations.

What If My Ovarian Cancer Doesn’t Meet A Blue Book Listing?

If your ovarian cancer has left you unable to work but doesn’t meet the specifics of the Blue Book listing, you can still be approved for disability benefits. You can use a medical-vocational allowance. After it has been determined the claimant cannot meet the Blue Book listing, his or her medical record will be reviewed to determine functional limitations and restrictions. A residual functional capacity (RFC) will be completed, determining what kind of work – if any – you can do. Your medical history, work history, educational background, transferrable work skills, and age are all considered when making the determination.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

How Do I Start The Disability Application Process For Ovarian Cancer?

If you are unable to work because of ovarian cancer and you are ready to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you can start the application process online at www.ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213.When you call, you can start the application over the phone with a representative or you can schedule an appointment at your local field office. Providing hard medical evidence and supporting documentation is essential to having a successful claim.

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