Liposarcoma is a cancerous tumor found in soft tissues and stemming from unregulated fat cell growth. In many cases, liposarcoma is found in the thigh or the abdomen. Older adults—from age forty on—are most susceptible to liposarcoma, though it can affect children in their teens. At this point, there is no known cause of liposarcoma, though chemical and radiation exposure has been shown to increase risk. Liposarcoma does not develop from benign soft tissue tumors.
Researchers have identified four different types of liposarcoma:
- Well-differentiated liposarcoma, which starts as a low grade tumor and develops slowly.
- Myxoid liposarcoma, which is a mid-to-higher grade tumor.
- Pleomorphic liposarcoma is the rarest type of liposarcoma, which tends to be high grade.
- Dedifferentiated liposarcoma is classified by cells in a low grade tumor eventually being replaced by high-grade tumor cells.
Liposarcomas can be hard to catch early because there is no associated pain or discomfort until the tumor has grown to a significant size. Because of this, many liposarcoma tumors tend to be large when they are finally discovered. Eventually, the patient may notice a soft lump beneath the skin that, while not painful, may move other structures in the body and impair functioning. This may mean poor limb functioning, shortness of breath, or bleeding in the uterus, depending on the location of the tumor.
Typically, liposarcoma is diagnosed using body imaging techniques—X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds—but may also be detected with a biopsy. Lumps that are 5 centimeters or larger will be examined closely. During the imaging tests, doctors will examine the appearance of the cells, in order to determine whether they are normal or cancerous.
Liposarcoma can be treated via radiation or chemotherapies, though surgery to remove the tumor is usually most effective.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Liposarcoma
It is important to remember that only severe health conditions that interfere with your ability to work or your daily activities will qualify for benefits. Most cancers—which are listed in blue book section 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases—must be progressive and have spread to other locations in the body, be reoccur in spite of therapy, or be inoperable in order to qualify for benefits. You will need a diagnosis and significant medical evidence, including lab results, that confirm the nature of your case.
Fortunately, Liposarcoma is one of several medical conditions eligible for an expedited application program, called Compassionate Allowances. Compassionate Allowances allow those with obvious and very severe health conditions to receive Social Security Disability benefits more quickly, based on minimal objective medical information. Both metastatic and recurrent liposarcomas are eligible for compassionate allowances.
The Application Process
Before you begin the application process, collect all the documentation you will be required to present. This includes doctor's notes, lab results, and record of medical visits, but also may include financial or work-related information as well. To begin the application, you can either complete the forms online or schedule an appointment with a representative from your nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Applications for children must be processed in person.
There is no separate application for Compassionate Allowances; the case examiners will automatically review your case for eligibility if you have proof of your diagnosis. The application itself ordinarily takes several months to a year or longer, but Compassionate Allowances allow for you to begin receiving benefits in around a month if you qualify. If you are denied, you are entitled to a separate appeals process within 60 days of the denial. Regardless, the application process requires you to be very organized and thorough; consider hiring a disability attorney to help you with your claim if you encounter obstacles.