PROSTATE CANCER & DISABILITY BENEFITS
FACTS ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, after skin cancer. This year, 268,490 men in the United States will be found to have prostate cancer. Worldwide, almost 1.5 million men had prostate cancer in 2020. Most of those men were older than 60 years old. Doctors rarely find the cancer in men who are younger than 40. However, the number of new cases found in black men is 73% higher than the number of new cases found in white men.
Also, prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world. About 13 in 100 men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. And, if you do not get treatment, this medical condition can keep you from working. However, benefits exist for you if you cannot work due to your cancer. You can win SSDI benefits by filing an application with the Social Security Administration.
If you cannot work due to your cancer, then you may be able to be paid a monthly SSDI benefit. Keep reading to find out more about your Social Security benefits and how to qualify for them.
WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the prostate, which is a gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate gland is below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
When the cancer spreads from its original site, it can affect distant parts of the body, such as bones, skin, brain, or the spinal cord. If prostate cancer spreads, then it is called advanced or metastatic prostate cancer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PROSTRATE CANCER?
While most prostate cancer does not cause any symptoms, there are signs that show you may have an enlarged prostate or cancer. Some of the most common symptoms of prostate cancer are a pain in the pelvis, hips, and near the lumbar region. Other signs include:
Pain During Urination
A large tumor can block the urethra and hinder the flow of urine. Because of this, some men experience intense pressure or mild pain when urinating. Likewise, it may take longer to urinate.
Blood in the Urine
Prostate cancer leads to an enlarged prostate, which can press on the urethra and irritate it. The result is blood in the urine. The stream will start as a faint red one but become a deeper red as time goes by.
Erectile dysfunction is a common sign of prostate cancer. It happens when the gland grows and presses against nerves leading to the penis. The pressure prevents blood from flowing and that impairs the ability to get an erection. Some men with prostate cancer will also experience pain during intercourse.
Some men with prostate cancer find that they can’t empty their bladder completely. The can also have a weak flow of urine. This can happen if the tumor presses on your bladder muscle. Because of the pressure, urine won’t drain from your bladder. Therefore, this causes pain and leads to infections.
WHAT TESTS DIAGNOSIS PROSTATE CANCER?
If your doctor thinks you have prostate cancer, then he or she will do a physical exam. Also, your doctor may perform the following tests to decide if other tests need to be done to confirm the cancer. The following test can confirm the disease:
Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed by using a blood test called the PSA (prostate specific antigen). PSA is a protein. The protein is produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate. The blood test measures the level of PSA that is in your blood. There is a range of what doctors consider to be a “normal” PSA level. For example, men who are in their 40’s usually have a PSA from 0 to 2.5. When men are in their 50’s, their PSA level can go up to 3.5. Likewise, if men are in their 60’s, their PSA level can go up to 4.5. And, in their 70’s, men can have a PSA level that goes up to 6.5.
Therefore, an elevation in the PSA level does not always mean that a man has prostrate cancer. In men, the PSA level can go up due to benign enlargement of the gland, which usually occurs as a man ages. In the past, a PSA level of 4.0 was considered normal by most doctors. Now most doctors use a PSA level of 2.5 as the cut off. The main issue that most doctors look for, however, is not just a high PSA level. But also, a PSA level that is increasing rapidly.
If your PSA level doubles in one year, then that is a sign you may have prostate cancer. If your PSA level is high or has doubled in one year, then your doctor may request that you have a biopsy of your prostate gland. A needle biopsy of the gland is the only sure way to know if you have cancer.
FREE PSA TEST
The “free” PSA test is simply another version of the PSA test. Free PSA is found in your blood and is not bound to proteins. The normal PSA test measures your total PSA. The total PSA test measures both PSA in your blood that is and is not bound to proteins. The free PSA test measures the amount of free PSA in your blood and compares it to the total PSA in your blood. A higher free PSA level can be a sign that you have prostate cancer versus a benign condition.
DRE (Digital Rectal Exam)
A doctor uses a digital rectal exam (DRE) to feel the abnormal parts of the gland with a finger. It is not very precise test. Therefore, DRE does not usually detect early prostate cancer.
A biomarker is an element that is in the blood, urine, or body tissues of a person with cancer. The biomarker exists because it is made by the tumor or the body in response to the prostate cancer cancer. A biomarker can also be called a tumor marker. Talk with your doctor for more information about biomarker tests. You doctor can explain how the results affect your treatment plan.
In order to find out if your cancer has spread beyond your prostate gland, the doctor may perform the following imaging tests. Imaging tests that a doctor might use are a CT scan, MRI, a bone scan, and a PET scan. An imaging test can provide information about your cancer’s location.
WHAT CAUSES PROSTATE CANCER?
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. However, research suggests certain genes do cause the cancer. The potential for these abnormal gene comes from your parents. As such, it wouldn’t be completely wrong to consider prostate cancer an inherited condition.
If your father has had prostate cancer at some point in his life, there is roughly twice as much chance for you to develop this particular cancer. However, most men who suffer from prostate cancer have no family history of it.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR PROSTATE CANCER?
Age and race are the two biggest risk factors for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is most common in men over 50. But, it can occur in younger men as well.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, but when caught early, it is a disease with a high rate of survival. In fact, the survival rate is almost 99% for men with Stage 1 regional prostate cancer, who get treatment.
For this reason, it is important to know what the risk factors are. The following is a list of factors that can increase your chances of developing prostate cancer:
Prostate cancer is more common among older men. For example, most men who are found to have the disease are over the age 65. Men who are diagnosed before they turn 40 are more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease that may be more difficult to treat.
Race and Ethnicity
African-American men are more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as Caucasian men. Asian men have the lowest rates of the cancer. Black men are also more likely to die from prostate cancer than White men.
Although doctors and treating sources are trying to address these racial differences, it is important for you to know these facts. Therefore, you can be aware of the facts when you make decisions about treatment options or tests.
Family History and Genetics
If you have a family history of prostate cancer, your risk of developing the disease may be higher. About 20% of all prostate cancers are run in families. Men with a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65 have an higher risk of getting the disease themselves.
Some studies suggest that diet and nutrition play a role in cancer development. In fact, high calorie diets, which often include red meats and foods and drinks high in sugar, are more commonly associated with prostate cancer than low calorie diets.
However, the scientific community still has not reached any agreement about whether specific dietary patterns or food choices increase the odds of getting cancer.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT PROSTATE CANCER?
As a person at risk of prostate cancer, you may wonder how to prevent the disease. Besides going to the doctor and getting early tests, there are other ways you can reduce your risk of getting this form of cancer:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise by walking or doing another activity you enjoy (like playing tennis)
- Stay sexually active for your erectile health
- Increase your Vitamin D intake through foods such as fish or vitamins
TREATMENTS FOR PROSTATE CANCER
The most common cancer treatment options include surgery to remove the prostate gland. After surgery, most men choose radiation therapy to treat any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy can also be a primary treatment option, instead of cancer. However, you should follow the advise of your doctor.
Some other common treatments are:
- Hormone therapy
- Biological therapy
Some men choose not to have prostate surgery, even though they have cancer, because they fear erectile dysfunction (ED). It is true that after surgery, you may experience erectile dysfunction for a few weeks, a year, or longer. ED can occur because two small nerve bundles on either side of the prostate can be injured during the operation. However, a type of operation called “nerve sparing” surgery is possible. But whether you can have the nerve sparing surgery will depend on the size and location of your cancer.
SSA’S DISABILITY LISTING 13.24 FOR PROSTATE CANCER
SSA’s listing 13.24 gives us the standards for an award of benefits for prostate cancer. The SSA considers many factors when deciding whether to award benefits, including:
- The origin of the cancer
- Duration and response to treatment
- Effects on your life if problems, like incontinence, do not respond to treatment
Listing 13.24 includes specific elements that you must meet to qualify for benefits. Below please find the entire listing:
LISTING 13.24 Prostate gland- carcinoma.
A. Progressive or recurrent (not including biochemical recurrence) despite initial hormonal intervention. (See 13.00K8.)
A. You have a diagnosis of prostate cancer that is progressing or recurring despite hormonal intervention (treatments).
B. Your prostate cancer has spread to internal organs outside the prostate gland, such as bone marrow or lymph nodes.
COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCE FOR SMALL CELL CANCER OF THE PROSTATE
The SSA has a program where they award benefits quickly when an individual has cancer and they are not expected to survive. Therefore, a compassionate allowance is available for men who have a certain type of prostate cancer: small cell cancer of the prostate. Small cell cancer of the prostate is rare. It accounts for less than one percent of all prostate cancers.
Because most prostate cancers grow slowly, there is the possibility of curing the cancer. However, small cell prostate cancers metastasize quickly. More importantly, small cell carcinomas do not affect your PSA levels. Therefore, small cell cancer is not normally found in the early stages when it can be cured.
As such, the five year survival rate for men with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. However, the five year survival rate for small cell cancer of the prostate is 20 percent when the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate gland. But, the survival rate is less than 5 percent after the cancer has spread. Find out more here about the how to win benefits under the compassionate allowances rules.
PROSTATE CANCER AND YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY
The SSA bases your residual functional capacity (RFC) findings on your current medical evidence and your symptoms. They then use this information to determine if you condition keeps you from working.
In order to figure out your RFC, the SSA will examine your medical records. They will take into account what your doctor states in your medical records. Also, the SSA will review any statements from your doctors. Likewise, if they need more information, they may send you to a consultative examination. Learn more here about what to expect at SSA’s consultative exam.
The SSA will also consider descriptions about your condition from your family, neighbors and friends. For example, your family or friends could write a statement about the fatigue or pain you experience from your cancer. Find out more here about RFC and how it combines with age to eliminate work. Also, find out more about SSA’s Medical Vocational Guidelines here.
Your RFC is important because it determines, after considering your condition, whether you can still do any type of work. If you have an RFC that limits you from doing certain tasks or types of jobs, then SSDI benefits are an important source of income.
MEDICAL EVIDENCE PROVING YOU CANNOT WORK
Your doctor must diagnose your prostate cancer with the proper lab tests and scans in order for you to have the evidence you need to win your benefits. The medical record evidence in your SSD case is the single most important thing in your case. Building that medical evidence is the best thing you can do to help yourself win benefits.
Unfortunately, many people who apply for benefits do not understand this simple fact. Instead, they think they can explain their condition to a judge. Then, they think their explanation alone will win the case. However, SSA law requires the judge in your case to find evidence of prostrate cancer in your medical records. If your medical records are complete, the judge will be able to see that you have cancer symptoms that keep you from working.
If you do not have a doctor, we can help. We have resources on this website that can help you find a low cost physician or a free doctor in Nevada or a free doctor in Utah. Once you find a doctor, we also have information about how to obtain your medical records for free. If you have medical insurance, use it. Visit your doctor. Tell your doctor about your prostate cancer symptoms. Then, get treatment and follow it.
WHAT SSDI BENEFIT COULD YOU RECEIVE?
The average SSDI monthly payment in 2022 is around $1,358. However, some people may receive more than that amount. About one in 10 people who receive Social Security benefits get more than $2,000 per month. People with spouses and children receive more money. The SSA also pays SSDI benefits to those with a spouse and children. A person with a spouse and children can expect an average monthly payment of around $2,383 in SSDI benefits.
If your prostate cancer symptoms are so severe that you cannot work, then you should file for SSDI benefits. The amount of money you receive will depend upon the amount of money you have earned during your working years. You can apply for SSD benefit online at the Social Security’s website.
WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR DISABILITY CASE
There is some good news. You do not need to obtain SSD benefits for prostate cancer on your own. Cannon Disability Law can help file your disability application. Also, we can help you file an appeal after every SSA denial. That way, you can focus on your health and spending time with your family. Our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
- Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
- Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
- Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question the vocational and medical witnesses.
- Read more about vocational experts here
- Learn more about medical expert testimony here
- Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back.
Additionally, once you receive a denial from the SSA, you have 60 days to file an appeal. You must meet the time limit set by the SSA. If you do not, then you will have to start the process over again. That means you will lose any benefits you could receive on any prior application.
CANNON DISABILITY CAN HELP YOU WIN YOUR SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS
If you or a loved one is suffering from prostate cancer, you may be wondering whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) will approve your claim for SSD and SSI benefits. If so, call Cannon Disability. We are the only law firm helping SSD and SSI clients in Utah and Nevada with over 30 years of experience. For example, we are rated in the top three SSD lawyers in the state of Utah.
We also help clients in many other states. For example, we have clients in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are also rated in the top three SSD lawyers in the state of Nevada. Find out more about our Nevada legal experience here. We also have clients in Idaho, Colorado, and California.
Over the past few decades, we have won over 100 million dollars in ongoing and past due benefits for our clients. You can benefit from our experience. We’ll help you get your SSDI benefit and fight for the benefits the SSA owes you under the law.
If you want to learn more about Cannon Disability’s lawyers, then read our About Us page. For instance, Andria Summers is an amazing advocate. She can help you with your Medicare plan. She has also won thousands of SSD cases. Dianna Cannon has been representing SSD and SSI clients for thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has significant experience helping people obtain their benefits. We are experts. You can trust us to help you win SSD and SSI benefits for prostate cancer.