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Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Lymphoma

Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Lymphoma

Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system and often begins in the lymph nodes.  The lymphatic system aids your immune system in fighting disease and infection, in addition to many other important functions.  Over time, cancerous cells may spread to other parts of the lymphatic system and body through the transportation of lymphatic fluid.

A diagnosis of lymphoma can be scary and upsetting, and if you find yourself unable to work due to your symptoms and treatment, you may be able to file for long-term disability (LTD) insurance.  It can be helpful to contact a long-term disability attorney to assist you with filing your claim or appeal, especially while you are managing your condition.

The lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick are able to help, and you can contact us at 800-544-9144 today for a free consultation about your case.

Understanding Lymphoma

Your lymphatic system is a key part of your immune system and vital to your body’s overall functioning.  The lymphatic system collects waste from cells, aids digestion, regulates fluid levels in the body, and fights infection and disease by transporting white blood cells.

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Essential to the lymphatic system are lymph nodes, which are small, bean-shaped glands that filter and cleanse lymphatic fluid as it travels through your body.  The average person has about 600 lymph nodes scattered throughout the body.  Lymph nodes are clustered are the neck, armpits, and groin.  When fighting infection, healthy lymph nodes may swell or become tender before returning to their normal size after fighting off infection.

Lymphoma most commonly begins in the lymph nodes, when white blood cells called lymphocytes begin to grow abnormally and form cancerous tumors.  There are two types of lymphocytes, B-cells and T-cells.  B-cells protect against bacteria and viruses, while T-cells attack.

Cancerous lymphocytes are no longer able to fight or protect for the immune system as healthy lymphocytes would.  Lymphoma may begin in only one group of lymph nodes, such as the neck, and spread through the lymphatic system to other lymph node clusters, such as in the armpit.

There are two most common types of lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which are marked by the difference in lymphocytes affected.

Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Marked by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are abnormally large B-cells with multiple nuclei
  • Typically begins in the upper body, such as neck, chest, or armpits
  • Hodgkin lymphoma is much rarer than Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for only 0.5% of cancers in the United States
  • Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in young adults, often ages 15-40, and is among the most common cancers in adolescents. The risk for Hodgkin lymphoma rises again after the age of 55

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has abnormal B or T-cells
  • B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas are often slow-growing, while T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas tend to be more aggressive
  • May begin anywhere in the body
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the most common type of lymphoma and is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States
  • Most common in adults over the age of 55

Symptoms of Lymphoma

signs and symptoms of lymphomaLymphoma can develop slowly, sometimes taking multiple years before symptoms develop or signs are detected.  However, as cancerous cells spread and your lymphatic system grows weak, symptoms may intensify.  Symptoms for both types of lymphoma can include:

  • Swollen, often painless, lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Itchy skin or rash

Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose lymphoma, you will receive a physical exam in which your doctor checks your body for swollen lymph nodes, as well as possible swelling in the spleen or liver, which are also part of the immune system.  Further testing may consist of imaging tests of lymph nodes, removal of a lymph node or bone marrow for testing, and blood tests to evaluate white blood cell count.

The main form of treatment for both forms of lymphoma is chemotherapy, the most common drug used to kill fast-growing cancer cells.  Radiation therapy, which uses X-rays to kill cancer cells, is also commonly used.  Stem cell transplants may be required, which replenish healthy cells in the blood and bone marrow that may have been diminished by chemotherapy or radiation.  Medication treatments may include drugs that may target specific abnormalities in your cells.

How Lymphoma Can Affect Your Ability to Work

As with any type of cancer, lymphoma can severely impact your ability to perform your everyday functions, including your job.  Lymphoma commonly has a slow onset, but once symptoms begin to develop, it can disrupt your life and become disabling.  Lymphoma can lead to pain, weakness, fevers, and difficulty breathing, all of which can impact your ability to concentrate or carry out duties of your job, no matter the field or occupation.

Treatment for lymphoma may be more disabling than the disease itself, depending on how early you begin treatment.  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to kill cancerous cells, but also healthy cells are also killed in the process, which can be difficult on your body.  Side effects of these therapies can include fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, infection, diarrhea or bowel cramping, nerve problems such as numbness, tingling, or pain, sores, and cognitive side effects that make it difficult to focus or concentrate.

Cancer therapies can be incredibly disabling, and you may need to be out of work for as long as you are receiving treatment.

Filing a Long-Term Disability Claim for Lymphoma

At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick, we understand that a diagnosis of lymphoma can be life-altering.  We can help you navigate the process of filing a long-term disability claim or appealing a denial.  Our experienced long-term disability attorneys are able to take on the legal difficulties for you while you manage the effects of your lymphoma.

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Our attorneys will gather the evidence necessitated by your policy to prove that your lymphoma is disabling.  We will gather reports and physical evaluations from your doctors in addition to your medical records.  These will outline the symptoms of your cancer, as well as describe your treatments or the frequency of your appointments that cause you to miss work.

We can act as a point of contact between you, your insurance company, and your doctors, so that the weight of communication and gathering information is off your shoulders.

Our legal team at CCK is experienced in ERISA law, which can mean your claim is governed by strict rules and regulations.  We will make sure that all your deadlines are met and that your strongest evidence is submitted during the correct stages of the process so that you do not have to worry.

Contact the Long-Term Disability Lawyers at CCK For A Free Consultation

We want you to know that your claim is in safe hands when you contact us for assistance with your long-term disability claim.  CCK wants you to be able to focus on treating your lymphoma as we take care of your claim and get you the benefits you deserve.  You can call us for a free consultation at 800-544-9144 or contact us online today.