STOMACH CANCER & SSD BENEFITS
WHAT IS STOMACH CANCER?
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, develops in the cells that line the stomach walls. It is one of the most common types of cancer and can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages due to its lack of symptoms. However, with proper screening and early detection, it can be treated.
Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. It accounts for almost 5.7% of all new cancer cases. In the US, stomach cancer accounts for about 1.5% of all new cancers in each year. The American Cancer Society 2022 estimates 26,380 new cases and 11,090 deaths from stomach cancer in 2022. Stomach cancer occurs most often in people older than 55. For example, most people who have stomach cancer are in their 60s and 70s. Additionally, men are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer as women.
Stomach cancer usually does not cause a patient to experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease. By the time a patient does notice symptoms, the cancer has usually spread and reached an advanced stage that offers poor prognosis. Doctors describe the cancer by states, which go from Stage 0 through 4. The more advanced the stomach cancer, for example stage 4, the poorer the outcome for the patient.
Because stomach cancer is hard to detect and very aggressive, it causes around 800,000 deaths worldwide each year. In this article, we will discuss the causes, risk factors, and methods for early detection of stomach cancer.
CAUSES OF STOMACH CANCER
The causes of stomach are still not fully understood. However, there are a few known risk factors for developing stomach cancer, such as smoking, obesity, family history of stomach cancer, and eating certain foods. In addition to these factors, exposure to chemicals and viruses are also linked to a greater risk of stomach cancer. It is important to be aware of these potential causes so that you can take steps to reduce your risk for this disease.
EARLY DETECTION OF STOMACH CANCER
Early detection is the key to successful treatment for stomach cancer. Fortunately, there are a number of methods for early detection that can help identify stomach cancer before it spreads. These include endoscopy, imaging tests, and blood tests.
Endoscopy is used to view the inside of the stomach and detect any abnormal growths or tumors. Imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans can be used to detect any problems in the stomach lining or other organs. Finally, blood tests can be used to measure substances in your blood which prove cancer cells are present in the body. By using these methods for early detection, doctors can identify stomach cancer at an early stage and provide better treatment options for their patients.
SYMPTOMS OF STOMACH CANCER
Common symptoms of stomach cancer may include abdominal pain, indigestion or heartburn. You may also have nausea or lose your appetite. You might vomit, have weight, and blood in your stool. Treatment options for stomach cancer depend on the stage and location of the tumor and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, drug therapy, and immunotherapy.
Here are some common signs to watch out for:
- Stomach pain: You may have an ongoing ache or burning feeling in your upper abdomen, especially after eating.
- Indigestion: You might often feel bloated, have trouble digesting food, or experience chronic heartburn.
- Nausea and vomiting: You may feel sick to your stomach and vomit, especially after meals.
- Weight loss: You might not feel hungry and may lose weight without trying.
- Trouble swallowing: It could become difficult to swallow food or drinks.
- Blood in the stool or dark stools: You may notice blood in your stool or have black, tarry stools. This is usually due to bleeding in the digestive tract.
- Fatigue and weakness: You might feel extremely tired and lacking in energy.
- Anemia: You could develop anemia, which is low iron in the blood. Anemia can cause weakness and shortness of breath.
THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STOMACH CANCER
There are different types of stomach cancer, including: Adenocarcinoma, Lymphoma, and GIST.
Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer and arises from the glandular cells in the stomach lining. This type of cancer usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus, near the connection to the stomach. It is often occurs along with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that causes abnormal changes of the lining of the esophagus.
Lymphoma is a rare type of stomach cancer that affects the immune system cells present in the stomach wall. Lymphocytes, which are lymphoma cells, grow and block the stomach from emptying properly, which can cause food particles to build up in the stomach. The cells release proteins and enzymes that can destroy the stomach lining. This can also lead to food particles collecting in the stomach. Stomach cancer is a rare form of lymphoma that often spreads to other organs. For example, it can spread to the esophagus. Learn more about esophageal cancer here.
GASTROINTESTINAL STROMAL TUMOR (GIST)
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are rare tumors that can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, including the stomach, small and large intestine, or the appendix. Most people with GISTs have no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Usually the tumor is not found until it is inoperable. The most common symptom is rectal bleeding that can occur as a result of a mass in the rectum or colon.
TREATMENT FOR STOMACH CANCER
The treatment of stomach cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of the cancer, the location of the tumor, and the overall health of the patient. Treatment plans are developed by a team of doctors, which may include oncologists, surgeons, radiation doctors, and other experts. Here are some common treatment options for stomach cancer:
Surgery is a common treatment for stomach cancer. It removes tumors along with nearby lymph nodes and tissues. The extent of surgery can vary and may involve partial or total removal of the stomach. In some cases, nearby organs or lymph nodes may also need to be removed.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or slow down their growth. It can be given before surgery to shrink the tumor, after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells, or as the primary treatment for advanced cases. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with other treatments.
Radiation therapy uses high energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. In some cases, radiation therapy may also be used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in advanced stages of the disease.
Targeted therapy drugs specifically target cancer cells by interfering with specific molecules involved in cancer growth. Drug therapy is often done along with chemotherapy for advanced stomach cancers.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Certain drugs, such as checkpoint inhibitors, may be used in some cases of advanced stomach cancer to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.
Palliative care focuses on giving relief from symptoms. It also improves the quality of life for those with advanced stomach cancer. It manages pain, your food needs, and provides emotional and mental health support. In stage 4, stomach cancer has spread throughout the tissue of your body, your blood, or your lymph system. Cancer may be found in organs such as the liver, lungs, or distant lymph nodes. Stage 4 is also called advanced stomach cancer. Knowing the stage of stomach cancer helps determine treatment options.
APPLY FOR SSDI & SSI BENEFITS FOR STOMACH CANCER
If you have stomach cancer, then there are two types of benefits you can file for under the Social Security program: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In order to receive benefits, you must first file an application. You can do this online at Social Security’s website. Below, please find an explanation as to each type of benefit you can apply for if you have stomach cancer:
SSDI benefits are for those who have worked in the recent past and can no longer work at any job due to a medical condition. The amount of money you will receive from SSDI benefits every month is based on how much Social Security tax you have paid during your work history. To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned enough “work credits” to qualify. A work credit is an amount of taxable income. You can earn up to 4 work credits per year. The amount of work credits you will need will depend on how old you are when you apply. If you haven’t earned enough work credits for your age at the time you apply, you will only qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
SSI is a needs based benefit and it is for those people with little to no income, such as children and the elderly. Anyone who makes more than a certain amount of money per month cannot receive SSI benefits. The SSA counts the income of those in your house, not just your income. If you have a spouse who earns more than $4000 a month, for example, then that income will be the factor in whether you can receive SSI benefits. You cannot qualify for SSI benefits, no matter how severe your stomach cancer, if you do not meet the income and asset rules for SSI.
SSA’S LISTING 13.06 FOR STOMACH CANCER
SSA has a listing of physical conditions for which they will pay benefits. You can win benefits for stomach cancer. But, only if you meet or equal all of the elements of the SSA’s rules. In the case of stomach cancer, you must have a diagnosis from a doctor. Your cancer must also be inoperable and have spread to the lymph nodes. Below you will see the elements of listing 13.16:
13.16 Esophagus or stomach.
A. Carcinoma or sarcoma of the esophagus.
B. Carcinoma or sarcoma of the stomach, as described in 1 or 2:
1. Inoperable, unresectable, extending to surrounding structures, or recurrent.
2. With metastases to or beyond the regional lymph nodes.
C. Small-cell (oat cell) carcinoma.
STOMACH CANCER & YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY (RFC)
If you don’t meet listing 13.16, you can still win SSDI and SSI benefits through a vocational allowance. This takes your stomach cancer symptoms, medical conditions, your age, work history, skills, and education into account.
When the SSA decides your residual functional capacity (RFC), they use your statements on the forms you fill out for them. For example, when you fill out forms about your past work, you state how much you had to lift on the job and how also tell them how much you stood or sat during a work day.
Your answers on these forms are often some of the most important statements you make. If you state on your Work History form that you lifted nothing on the job, then that is what the SSA assumes is correct. Frankly, there are no jobs where you lift “nothing.” But for some reason, many people write that down as an answer. Even desk jobs require some lifting. You might, for example, lift files, boxes of paper, books, or supplies. The SSA wants to know the heaviest weight you lifted on the job.
Think about it. Failing to tell the SSA about the lifting you had to do at your past jobs, makes it easier for them to return you to your past jobs. In other words, you are making it easier for them to deny your case.
An RFC form filled out by your treating doctor can prove you cannot work by setting out your physical limits. The doctor will state how long you can stand, how far you can walk, and how much you can lift. It will also show your ability to squat, bend, and use your hands.
THE MEDICAL EXPERT CAN TESTIFY ABOUT YOUR STOMACH CANCER
Medical Experts or ME’s commonly testify at Social Security hearings. They are called by the ALJ to review your medical records for stomach cancer. Also, they explain your medical conditions to the judge. Additionally, they testify as to whether or not your medical condition meets or equals an SSA listing, like 13.16. Similarly, an ME can be requested by your attorney. This is, however, mostly done in complex medical cases.
The medical expert who appears at the hearing is not your treating doctor. The doctor at the hearing must have never met you before. Because, the medical expert is there to give testimony about your medical records and should not be for either side of the case.
Medical experts are doctors who the SSA calls to testify about your stomach cancer at the hearing. Usually, the medical expert comes to the hearing. However, they can also testify by video or by telephone.
It is also possible for an ME to answer written questions after the hearing. These written questions are sent to the expert and are interrogatories. The ME’s answers require review and possibly filing objections. If you do not know how to do this, then hire an attorney. Do not make the mistake of not preparing for the medical expert.
SUBMIT ALL OF YOUR STOMACH CANCER RECORDS
Prior to your hearing, you can review the medical experts resume. If an ME is going to testify at your hearing, then they must submit a resume to the court. Your attorney can review the resume of the medical expert. They can also object to the appearance of the ME. Remember, at the hearing, the burden to prove that you deserve benefits is on you.
There are firm time lines in which you must submit your medical records. The SSA rule states that all medical records must be sent to the judge five days prior to your hearing. This means five “working” days. In other words, you must submit all medical records SEVEN days prior to a hearing. If you submit evidence past the seven days, then you must have a good reason as to why you did not submit the records on time. Learn more about the SSA evidence hearing rules here.
Remember, everything must be in the SSA record one week prior to the hearing. There are good reasons for this rule. The SSA is dealing with thousands of hearings across the nation. It helps the SSA to have the evidence so the judge and experts can review it. The bottom line is this: one week prior to the hearing is the final date for you to submit all of your medical records. If you have an attorney to help you do this, it will help your case.
WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS
If you have stomach cancer, then you need help to apply for Social Security benefits. You can always call our law firm and we will help you. We can help you file your application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
- Help you file your application for SSDI and SSI benefits
- Inform the SSA they should automatically pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
- Appeal if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
- Help you confirm your Consultative Examination
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to testify at your SSA hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question the witnesses
- Read more about vocational experts here
- Learn more about medical expert testimony here
- Request review of an SSA 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. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as you can.
IS HIRING OUR LAW FIRM EXPENSIVE?
No. We are not expensive to hire, because we only charge you an attorney fee if we win your case.
It also doesn’t cost you any up front money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit.
Also, there is a cap on the attorney set by the SSA at $7200. You never pay more than the fee cap at the hearing stage of your case. And, 25% of your back benefit is usually less than the $7200 cap. You will pay the lesser amount between the fee cap and 25% of your back benefit.
If there are costs in your case, like getting medical records, then you pay for those costs. But the costs are usually less than $100. Typically, if a doctor charges for copies of your medical records, then that is your cost.
You will owe the costs in your case whether we win or lose your case. However, your attorney fees come from your back benefit and you pay them only if we win your case.
We will use our skills to help you through the Social Security appeal process. It is our goal to make filing for SSD and SSI benefits easier for you. We offer a free review of your case for stomach cancer. There is no pressure to become a client if you call. Even if we don’t accept your case, we will still try to help you.
HIRE US FOR OUR YEARS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE
If you have stomach cancer, then you need to hire a law firm with experience to help you win your benefits. Cannon Disability is one of the best Social Security law firms in the country. We are one of the best Social Security benefits firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, we are one of the best Social Security law firms in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our attorneys are also members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives. Learn more about Utah SSD benefits here. Nevada SSI Information is on this website. We also represent clients in Idaho. Find out more about Colorado SSDI benefits here. Likewise, if you are from California, go here for California SSD & SSI information.
Over the last 30 years, we have won thousands of SSDI and SSI claims. Additionally, we have won over $100 million in SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. It has become more difficult to win Social Security cases. Also, SSA’s listing rules are harder to meet. That is why you need an attorney who will help you win your case.
We recommend you do not go to your hearing without an attorney. Why? Because a lawyer can prepare you for your hearing. She can explain the judge’s questions. Preparation will help you win your case.
Those who come to the hearing without counsel are usually not successful in winning benefits. You should hire an attorney who has legal experience winning SSD and SSI benefits. Contact Cannon Disability Law today. We can help you win benefits for stomach cancer. Call us today and ask us for a free review of your case.