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Boston SSDI May Be Available to Breast Cancer Patients

There has recently been some great news on the breast cancer research front, where the Massachussetts-based firm ImmunoGen Inc. was given the FDA green light for its cancer treatment using a drug called Herceptin.behindtheshutter.jpg

Our Boston Social Security Disability Lawyers understand that this experimental drug, also known as T-DM1, is going to marketed as Kadcyla to patients with HER2-positive mestatic breast cancer who have already gotten prior treatment with a combination of chemotherapy and Herceptin.

It’s pricy, though – approximately $9,800 a month for now. Still, many hail the decision to approve the life-saving drug. The main complaint, according to the Boston Business Journal, was that it had taken seven years to approve in the first place – far too late for far too many breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the world, and sometimes, if untreated, may be deadly. Prognosis may be positive, however, for those who catch the progression fast enough.

But a diagnosis of breast cancer is not enough to secure SSDI benefits. To understand who is eligible, first let’s give a little background of the way we measure the severity of the disease. We rate breast cancer stages on a scale of Stage 0 to Stage 4. The higher the number, the more advanced the cancer is.

Stage 0 cancer involves non-invasive cancers. In this stage, cancers or abnormal pre-cancerous cells haven’t yet spread from the part of the breast where they first formed.

Stage 1 breast cancer involves cancerous cells – up to 2 centimeters – that have begun to invade nearby tissues, excluding lymph nodes.

Stage 2 cancer is divided into 2A or 2B. In 2A breast cancer, doctors are unable to find cancer cells in the breast, but they are able to find it in the lymph nodes located under the arms. In 2B, the tumor is at least five centimeters, but hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes under the arm or is less than 5 centimeters, but it has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

Stage 3 breast cancer is divided in 3A, 3B and 3C. Stage 3A breast cancer means there is no actual breast tumor and it’s all located in the underarm lymph nodes and has spread to the nearby breast bone and is sticking to other areas as well. Stage 3B breast cancer means that the tumor – any size – has spread to the breast skin, chest wall both and that it may be invading other axillary lymph nodes well. Stage 3C breast cancer means that the tumor has spread to the breast skin and chest wall and lymph nodes above and below the collar bone, as well as the lymph nodes under the arms and/or near the breast bone.

And then there is Stage 4 breast cancer. This is where the cancer has invaded other vital organs in the body, such as the brain, lungs, bones or liver.

Women who have been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer or cancer that is inoperable have been given an expedited means to disability benefits through a compassionate allowance.

In less serious cases, the administration is going to evaluate your breast cancer disability claim under Section 13.10, breast cancer. In order to meet the listing criteria, the administration requres that the cancer be locally advanced (or with inflammatory cancer, it can be a tumor of any size with extension directly to the skin or chest wall or internal mammary lymph nodes) or one with mestastases to the nearby bones or to 10 or more lymph nodes. Alternatively, if the breast cancer is recurrent, you would qualify for disability benefits.

The explanation is quite technical, but if you have questions about whether your condition likely qualifies you for disability benefits, we are happy to answer your questions.

If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
ImmunoGen wins first FDA approval with breast cancer drug, Feb. 22, 2013, By Julie M. Donnelly, Boston Business Journal
More Blog Entries:
Some Boston Burn Victims Eligible for Federal Disability Benefits, Feb. 11, 2013, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog