In recognition of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, the disability denial attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates would like to focus attention on this often misdiagnosed disease that claims the lives of over 14,000 women in the U.S. each year.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in 78 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetimes; each year, there are over 22,000 new cases of Ovarian Cancer in the United States.
There’s good news: when properly diagnosed and treated in the earliest stages, the 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is over 90%. That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness of this potentially fatal disease — so women recognize the symptoms and seek treatment as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are caught before they reach the advanced stage. Ovarian cancer has often been referred to as a “silent killer” because its symptoms are so hard to diagnose in the early stages of the disease. Routine tests, such as a pap smear, do not detect ovarian cancer.
Recent studies have indicated a set of symptoms more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:
- Bloating, indigestion or nausea
- Pressure in the pelvis or lower back
- Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
- Changes in appetite — loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
- Changes in menstruation
- Changes in bowel movements
- Fatigue, low energy
The difficulty with early detection is that many of these symptoms mimic those of minor stomach and digestive ailments. Women aren’t likely to experience any overt symptoms of ovarian cancer until the disease has spread beyond the ovaries — and then it may be too late for treatment.
Family medical history is a good indication for risk of ovarian cancer. There is also research that suggests a link between ovarian cancer and the use of talcum powder in the genital area.
Early Detection Is Critical To Treatment for Ovarian Cancer
Despite all the research, treatments for ovarian cancer are still limited. In its latter stages, ovarian cancer is very difficult to treat and in many cases is fatal. If the disease is caught in its earliest stages – when the cancer is still restricted to the ovary — it can be successfully treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are caught before they reach the advanced stage.
I Have Ovarian Cancer. Do I Qualify for Disability?
Since ovarian cancer is most treatable in its earliest stages, it’s critical to correctly diagnose the disease as soon as possible. A delay of treatment can mean the patient will need more aggressive treatment once the condition is discovered. These aggressive treatments can leave the patient too ill to work. In some cases, a healthcare provider may arrive at the correct diagnosis too late to treat the disease.
Women with later stage ovarian cancer may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) sees cancer as a long-term disability when it is expected to last 12 months or longer or is found to be inoperable and terminal. If the patient responds well to treatment, she may be considered able to go back to work within 12 months.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and are unable to work to do the disease or the effects of treatment, Marc Whitehead & Associates can help you get qualified for cancer disability benefits. Call us today at (800) 562-9830 to schedule a free consultation.