Can I Continue Working with Colon Cancer?

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, you may find yourself unable to work and earn a living. Colon cancer is among the three most commonly diagnosed cancers. The Social Security Administration refers to colon cancer, along with rectal cancer, as cancer of the large intestine.

Most of these cancers are adenocarcinomas, but they can be squamous cell carcinomas, lymphomas, or melanomas. The most common treatment for colon cancer is surgery with chemotherapy or radiation, but in some situations the tumor is inoperable.

If you are unable to work because of colon cancer, you may qualify for disability benefits from the SSA.

How Colon Cancer Affects Your Physical Capacity To Work

As previously mentioned, colon cancer often requires surgery. This can prohibit you from lifting heavy amounts, you may be limited on how long you can stand, how far you can walk, your ability to bend, your ability to reach, and your ability to carry things.

This can significantly limit your mobility and your ability to perform work duties. Because of these restrictions, you aren’t able to perform work requiring extensive physical activities, such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and commercial driving.

It can keep you from sitting at a desk and performing clerical duties. The treatments can cause fatigue, malaise, aches and pains, and nausea. These side effects can be effective at battling cancer, but they can also make you ill and keep you from performing any work duties.

Your physician should indicate in your medical records how you are affected by your condition and your treatments, detailing what you can and cannot do.

How Colon Cancer Affects Your Mental Capacity To Work

The cancer treatments may be overwhelming, and that can cause severe fatigue and an overall feeling of being unwell. You may become depressed and suffer from anxiety because of the cancer diagnosis and because of your concerns regarding treatments.

You should discuss any changes in your behavior, or your emotional state with your doctor. The depression, fatigue, and anxiety can keep you from being able to stay focused or concentrate, and it may also affect your memory.

Colon Cancer and Applying for Social Security Disability

The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if an individual qualifies for disability benefits. You will automatically qualify for disability benefits if you show any of the following is true and you have supporting documentation:

  • Your colorectal tumor is an adenocarcinoma that is – recurrent, inoperable, or unresectable
  • Your tumor is a squamous cell carcinoma of the anus that has returned after surgery
  • Your colorectal cancer has spread past the lymph nodes nearest the original tumor

You can start your disability application online or by calling 1-800-772-1213 and speaking with a representative or scheduling an appointment at your local SSA field office.

Additional Resources

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!