Brain Cancer & Long-Term Disability

Brain Cancer & Long-Term Disability

Brain cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the brain that can affect men and women of all ages. In Canada, it is the second leading cause of overall cancer death, the second most common form of cancer among children under 14 years of age, and the fourth more common form of cancer among adults. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 2,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with brain cancer this year. Brain cancer can be difficult to treat, and often results in long-term disability, affecting an estimated 10,000 working Canadians.

Staying in, returning to, or looking for employment after a brain cancer can be quite a challenge – for people who have a brain cancer and for people caring for them. If you have been diagnosed with brain cancer and are unable to work, you may be eligible to collect long-term disability benefits. Unfortunately, many people who apply for long-term disability benefits are denied, leaving them without viable financial options to support themselves or their families.

If you have been denied work your long-term disability benefits contact our Hamilton long-term disability lawyers for your free consultation. Our long-term disability lawyers can help you understand your legal options and help get the benefits you deserve. We are happy to discuss your right as a disability policy holder – and take as long as you need to hear your story.

Causes of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that starts in the brain. It can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Brain cancer can spread to other parts of the brain and the nervous system, but it does not usually spread to other parts of the body.

The most common type of brain cancer in adults is glioblastoma, which is a tumour of the glial cells in the brain. Glioblastoma is a very aggressive type of brain cancer that can grow quickly and spread rapidly. It is the most common type of brain cancer in children, accounting for about 20% of all childhood brain tumours. It can also affect adults and is more common in older adults over the age of 60.

Although it’s unclear exactly what causes of brain cancer, there are indications of risk factors that may increase your chance of developing the disease:

Genetics: people with certain genetic disorders, such as neurofibromatosis and Li-Fraumeni syndrome, are also at increased risk for developing brain cancer.

Radiation: Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, can increase the risk of developing brain cancer. Radiation therapy is a common treatment for brain cancer, and it can be an effective way to kill cancer cells. However, radiation therapy can also increase the risk for brain cancer. Radiation can damage the DNA of healthy cells, which can trigger them to become cancerous. In addition, exposure to radiation from sources such as cellphones and power lines has been linked to an increased risk for brain cancer.

Tumours: People who have benign (noncancerous) tumors in the brain are at a higher risk of developing brain cancer. Many people have to give up work entirely, change jobs, or reduce their hours or duties. If a partner is acting as a carer, their work may be affected too. As a result, financial difficulties are common for families affected by a brain tumour.

Infections: Infections with certain viruses or bacteria, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV), can increase the risk of developing brain cancer.

Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental toxins, such as benzene, can increase the risk of developing brain cancer.

Symptoms of Brain Cancer

The symptoms of brain cancer can vary depending on the size, location, and type of brain tumour.  Brain cancer is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be vague and nonspecific. In some cases, people may not have any symptoms at all, until cancer begins to spread. In other individuals, the symptoms of brain cancer can be similar to those of other conditions, such as migraines, anxiety, and depression, which can make it challenging to identify and treat quickly.

Brain cancer can cause a wide range of symptoms that vary depending on the size and location of the tumour. Depending on the location of their tumour in the brain, people with brain cancer can experience very different symptoms. Different sections of the brain control different functions of the body:

  • Pons: manages eye and facial movement.
  • Occipital lobe: controls eyesight and vision
  • Medulla: manages the heart and lungs
  • Temporal lobe: in charge of memory, speech and rhythm (such as in music or motion)
  • Frontal lobe: helps manage personality, physical movement and sense of smell.

A cancerous tumour growing in the brain will apply pressure to the local area of the brain, resulting in symptoms affecting the area’s function. For example, a frontal lobe tumour may result in personality or physical movement changes. As it develops, brain cancer can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the brain or the spinal cord. When this happens, it can cause general symptoms such as headaches, seizures, nausea and vomiting as well as other symptoms, any of which can impact working ability:

  • Seizures (either myoclonic or grand-mal)
  • Difficult thinking, constructing sentences or remembering vocabulary
  • Changes in personality or behaviour
  • Physical weakness or paralysis
  • Dizziness or difficulty with balance
  • Challenges with hearing or eyesight
  • Confusion or may experience disorientation
  • Loss of memory

Side effects of Brain Cancer Treatment

When it comes to brain cancer, there are a few common treatment options. Doctors may recommend a treatment plan for brain cancer patients that incorporate both a primary and adjuvant (supportive) form of treatment:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

Brain cancer treatment can, unfortunately, mean serious physical and mental side effects for brain cancer patients, some of which can result in work disability:

  • Brain surgery may result in paralysis, loss of speech, and memory problems.
  • Radiation therapy may cause side effects like hair loss, fatigue, and nausea.
  • Chemotherapy can also have serious side effects, like hair loss, fatigue, and nausea.
  • Targeted therapy may cause side effects such as fatigue, skin problems, and diarrhea.

Any of these side effects can make working difficult or impossible for brain cancer patients. If you have been diagnosed with brain cancer and are unable to work because of your treatment, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits.

Receiving a brain cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event which can often compromise a person’s ability to work.

Brain cancer can have a profound effect on an individual’s ability to work. In Canada, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 people will experience a disability that lasts 90 days or longer during their working life and that brain cancer is responsible for about 2% of long-term disability (LTD) claims.

The symptoms of brain cancer can vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer but can include headaches, seizures, vomiting, and changes in mood or personality. No matter the type of occupation, it’s difficult for any working individual to maintain their productivity levels when experiencing these symptoms. Side effects from brain cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can cause fatigue, nausea, and cognitive impairment. It’s not surprising for someone who appears fine even when diagnosed with brain cancer to have their work performance rapidly decline in the months that follow, as the brain cancer treatment takes it’s toll on both their physical strength and mental spirit.

Cancer treatment typically lasts about six months, and entail repeated visits to the hospital for radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. The time spent away from work and the long-term side effects of cancer treatment can make it very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain employment.

Even with an understanding employer, individuals with brain cancer can find it increasingly difficult to keep up with their tasks, as well as experience additional stress from worrying about job security. It’s not uncommon for an individual with brain cancer to eventually be let go from their position, whether it’s because they’re unable to complete their work or because their employer can no longer accommodate their needs.

Long-term disability benefit and brain cancer

If you’ve done all you can to keep up with the tasks of your job but no longer feel you’re able to, or if you’ve been let go from your position because of your brain cancer diagnosis, you may be eligible for long-term disability (LTD) benefits. In Canada, countless individuals with brain cancer have had to rely on long-term disability insurance to help make ends meet. For a person of working age, a brain cancer diagnosis can mean a complete lifestyle change, as they can no longer support themselves or their family.

Long-term disability benefits are meant to replace a portion of your lost income when you’re unable to work due to a long-term medical condition, including brain cancer. Long-term disability benefits can be an important hope for people who have been diagnosed with brain cancer and can no longer work. However, many disability insurers will try to deny claims or terminate benefits early, leaving claimants without the support they need. It can be extremely disheartening and frustrating to be denied long-term disability benefits when you’re already struggling to cope with a brain cancer diagnosis.  

Suffer from brain cancer and denied your long-term disability benefits?

If you have been diagnosed with brain cancer and are have been denied long-term disability benefits, we would suggest contacting our Hamilton long-term disability lawyers, no matter where you are in Ontario – BEFORE – filing your internal appeal. In our experience, the internal appeals process is a highly biased process – decisions are not made by an independent body or organization, but rather employees from an “appeals committee” who are paid a salary by the same insurance company that originally denied your benefits.

Since 2003, Hamilton long-term disability lawyer Matt Lalande has recovered tens of millions in wrongfully denied long-term disability benefits for disabled claimants were going to the worst times of their lives. Stop struggling with a faceless insurance company – and call our Hamilton disability lawyers to get your free consultation today. We represent claimants all over Ontario can help you get your long-term disability benefits back on track.

Our consultations are 100% free – and if you decide to work with our Hamilton disability lawyers, the fee is free. We do not charge our clients anything unless we win their case. We are happy to provide you the legal advice you need in order for you to make an informed decision about your own particular situation.

Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Southern Ontario region at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to explain your long-term disability rights and legal options to you, at no cost.

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