Social Security Disability Key Consideration for Those With Colorectal Cancer, Allsup Reports

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Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month highlights importance of screening; tens of thousands of people receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for colon cancer, related conditions

Colorectal cancer is a serious condition and one of the more prevalent types of cancer affecting people’s ability to work. – Ed Swierczek, Allsup

Nearly 30,000 former workers received Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in 2011 because of colorectal or related cancers, according to Allsup, reporting data recently provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation, is joining other organizations to highlight National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and prevention activities during March.

Colonoscopies appear to reduce the risk of developing late-stage, advanced and hard-to-detect colon cancer by 70 percent, according to a study published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine. About 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases occur in people 50 years old or older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

“Colorectal cancer is a serious condition and one of the more prevalent types of cancer affecting the ability to work,” said Ed Swierczek, Allsup senior claimant representative.

The CDC reports that colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it each year. CDC researchers report that as many as 60 percent of deaths from this cancer can be avoided if detected early through colonoscopy screenings.

Colorectal cancer falls under SSA medical listing (13.18). “There are multiple criteria that can meet the medical listing which would warrant a finding of disabled under SSA rules,” Swierczek explained. “For example, adenocarcinoma that is inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent; squamous cell carcinoma of the anus, recurrent after surgery and with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes.”

It’s possible for someone who doesn’t strictly meet the medical listing to have medical findings that equate to the severity of the medical listing, or other complications that result in a finding of disability, Swierczek said.

Radiation and chemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer may cause other significant medical problems such as peripheral neuropathy, Swierczek pointed out. “This condition may be so severe as to prevent the individual from using hands or feet effectively.”

The effects of medication, Swierczek said, also may produce marked functional limitations secondary to medication induced fatigue, drowsiness and dizziness, which could stop an individual from working.

“It is important for individuals seeking Social Security disability benefits to always let their doctor know what symptoms are being experienced,” he said. “The medical records need to substantiate their SSDI claims so the SSA may render a fair decision.”

For more information about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, contact Allsup’s Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. Visit or connect with Allsup at

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