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Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma and Social Security Disability

If you have just received a cancer diagnosis, your outlook on the future may be uncertain and fearful. Your dreams and plans have been interrupted with a life-threatening condition which requires aggressive treatments in an effort to stop the growth of cancerous tumors. The treatments designed to kill cancer tissue are at the same time very harsh on healthy cells in the body, leaving you weak, vulnerable to other illnesses, and often unable to even take care of your own basic needs.

When you’re fighting a grueling battle with cancer, the last thing you need is a long battle to be approved for disability benefits. Sadly, until the last few years, the SSA’s case load has been so backlogged that even cancer patients had no choice but to wait for disability determination along with everyone else, a process which often takes several months or even more than a year.

With the introduction of the Compassionate Allowances Initiative, one of the SSA’s solutions to the overburdened SSDI application process, cancer patients and other with rare, severely debilitating and deadly diseases no longer have to wait for benefits they need immediately.

Since 2008, the list of Compassionate Allowances grew from a few dozen to 113. These diseases are identified as having symptoms and conditions which are already established by extensive research, public input, and medical institutions as qualifying a person for Social Security Disability benefits according to the SSA’s criteria.

Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma – Conditions & Symptoms

The most recent update of Compassionate Allowances, effective December 2011, includes a cancer known as pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma.

Kaposi sarcoma is a cancer of the connective tissue in the blood as well as the lymphatic system which causes lesions on the skin and in the mucous membranes, and may also affect the lungs and digestive track. There are different types of Kaposi sarcoma based on who it effects and how it is caused:

  • Classic KS is mostly isolated to Mediterranean men and those of Mediterranean descent.
  • Endemic KS affects mostly Africans close to the equator.
  • Acquired KS occurs in people who contract it from a donor when they receive an organ transplant.
  • AIDS-associated KS, now the most widely known, affects those who are suffering with AIDS.

Before the AIDS epidemic of the last few decades, classic Kaposi sarcoma was the most commonly documented, but now it is strongly linked to a particular sexually transmitted disease – human herpes virus 8, or HHV-8 and is largely associated with AIDS.

The most common symptom of Kaposi sarcoma is painful brown, purple, or red raised lesions on the skin. When Kaposi sarcoma occurs inside the body, such as on the digestive tract, it can also cause internal bleeding.

Pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma occurs when the delicate bronchiole tissue of the lungs are infected, often identified with symptoms of labored breathing and coughing up blood.

Pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma is by far the most dangerous form of KS. When the cancerous tumor tissue grows inside the lungs, it obstructs the airways, making it difficult to breathe and possibly leading to further complications such as fluid on the lungs or complete lung failure.

The treatments for pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma depend on the severity and whether it is the result of HHV-8 infection. Since there is no cure for AIDS, the only treatments for it are to relieve pain, although a new therapy known as antiretroviral therapy is gaining popularity for its success in restoring immune function in many AIDS sufferers.

Other treatments include surgery to remove Kaposi sarcoma lesions, radiation, and chemotherapy to destroy the cancerous tissue.

Depending on the progression of pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma and considering other complications related to AIDS, prognosis for survival of pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma can vary from 4 to 19 months.

Applying for Social Security Disability with a Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma Diagnosis

As stated, pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma has been added to the SSA’s list of Compassionate Allowance conditions. Qualifying for a Compassionate Allowance with pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma requires receiving a diagnosis of the disease with the symptoms and conditions as described, as well as in the SSA’s guide to Compassionate Allowances. Medical documentation of your pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma may include CT scans and x-rays, but definite diagnosis is established by a bronchoscopy to verify the presence of the KS tumors in the lungs.

In addition medical documentation which clearly diagnoses pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma, you will need to meet the standard requirements for all applicants of SSDI. The Compassionate Allowance status of this disease will allow you to bypass additional extensive proof for your disability and be quickly approved for benefits.

Your Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma Disability Case

Fighting a life-threatening cancer is a battle no one should have to fight without the assistance of friends, family, and disability benefits. Getting the help you need and deserve requires applying for disability benefits, and with the assistance of a Social Security Disability lawyer, even that can be hassle-free so you can focus on overcoming your condition.

Thanks to the Compassionate Allowance program, your disability status will be quickly determined so you can receive benefits faster than ever.