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Colon cancer refers to the formation of harmful cancerous cells within the colon, a part of the large intestine. “Colorectal cancer” is a broader term that includes cancers of both the colon and rectum, given that these organs are composed of similar tissue and lack a clear dividing line. In Canada, approximately 26,900 individuals were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2020.
This cancer predominantly impacts those over 50, often affecting people deep into their professional careers and family lives, with over 90% of cases occurring in this age group. Colorectal cancer begins in the cells of either the colon or rectum and is characterized by the presence of a malignant tumor. This tumor, comprised of cancerous cells, not only has the potential to invade and damage surrounding tissue but can also spread to different parts of the body.
Colon cancer, like any other type of cancer, of any type significantly disrupts lives, hindering individuals from performing their jobs due to the distress caused both by the disease itself and its associated treatments.
Living and coping with colon cancer often makes managing a routine or daily lifestyle, let alone meeting the strenuous demands of employment, an ongoing battle – often leading the long-term disability benefits. However, not all disability claims are easily approved – and worse, many disability claims are often wrongfully denied. Should you be experience work interruptions due to colon cancer and are wrongfully denied your disability benefits, we encourage your to reach out to our disability lawyers today.
Contact us local in Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888, or toll free no matter where you are in Canada at 1-844-525-2633 or submit a confidential message via our website for complimentary consultation. We are committed to assisting disability claimants nationwide.
Colorectal cancer denotes the malignant proliferation of cells in the lower intestine, an organ essential for water extraction and transforming food residues into feces. With a length of approximately 90 cm (around 3 feet), the colon extends to the rectum and anus. In colon cancer scenarios, cells in the inner lining replicate swiftly and uncontrollably, forming a mass that may penetrate adjacent tissues and might metastasize to various organs.
If not discovered and treated timely, colorectal cancer may prove deadly. Each year, it’s projected that close to 23,000 Canadians receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis, with around 9,000 individuals succumbing to it.
Occupying the third spot in cancer prevalence, colon cancer follows prostate and breast cancers closely and stands as the second primary reason for cancer-associated fatalities.
A significant number of colorectal cancer cases stem from antecedent polyps. These cellular clusters, residing in the bowel lining, generally exhibit a mushroom-like configuration anchored to the intestinal wall. Despite up to 30% of individuals possessing polyps, a minimal percentage actually morph into cancer. Cancer development, from polyp formation to its subsequent evolution into cancer, is a prolonged process often unfolding over years. In their initial phases, neither polyps nor cancers typically display symptoms. Nonetheless, during these asymptomatic phases, emerging cancers and precancerous formations can be identified and eradicated, thereby providing an opportunity for either preventing or effectively curing colon cancer.
The exact etiology of colon cancer remains a topic of active research and debate. While the overarching mechanisms behind cancer development are well-understood, pinpointing the direct causes within the colon continues to challenge the medical community. Studies imply that colon cancer surfaces due to cellular changes or mutations within the colon. However, several risk factors heighten the likelihood of colon cancer onset, such as:
Hereditary Factors: A person with a familial history of colon cancer experiences a 10-20% elevated risk of contracting the ailment.
Inherited Syndromes: Several hereditary conditions predispose individuals to colon cancer, primarily due to the growth of polyps (non-cancerous cell aggregations) within the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Depending on the specific condition or genetic anomaly, an individual might possess anywhere from a few to hundreds of these polyps of diverse dimensions. These polyps bear the potential to become malignant, marking continuous cancer risk for these individuals.
Juvenile Polyposis Coli: A genetic disorder affecting children, leading to polyp formation throughout the GI tract. These polyps can become malignant, elevating the risk of colon cancer in affected individuals’ later years.
Turcot Syndrome: A rare syndrome manifesting as polyps in the colon. While most polyps remain benign, the larger ones can become cancerous, signifying an elevated risk for those with this condition.
Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS): Recognizable by distinctive dark, blue or brown moles, PJS individuals tend to develop polyps in the colon and throughout the GI system, thus raising their cancer risk.
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP): An inherited rare condition, those with FAP start developing numerous polyps around age 16, which, if unchecked, can lead to cancer typically before turning 40.
Lynch Syndrome or Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC): Another rare hereditary condition, HNPCC results in fewer polyps compared to FAP, but still increases colon cancer risk.
Ethnic Disparities: Studies show elevated incidences of colon cancer among Ashkenazi Jews and African Americans. While the reasons remain uncertain, a blend of genetic predispositions and socio-economic factors might contribute, such as limited access to early screening or lifestyle choices.
Lifestyle Factors: Several lifestyle-related choices can enhance colon cancer risk. These encompass obesity, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, sedentary habits, and diets rich in red meat and animal fats.
Coexisting Medical Conditions: Those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) possess a heightened risk of developing colon cancer.
Colon cancer comprises several types distinguished by the uncontrolled proliferation of cells within the colon or rectum. Adenocarcinomas, arising from glandular cells lining the colon’s inner wall, represent about 95% of these cases. Variations in their biological characteristics, treatment responses, and outcomes make accurate diagnosis crucial for treatment planning. The main types are:
Adenocarcinoma: Predominantly, colorectal cancer is due to adenocarcinomas. These cancers originate in the glands of the colon lining. Their detection can be challenging until symptoms intensify, indicating advanced stages.
Carcinoid tumours: Cells in the large intestine producing hormones might become cancerous, resulting in carcinoid tumours. Generally, these tumours grow slowly and seldom metastasize.
Sarcomas: Originating from the colon’s connective tissue, sarcomas account for less than 5% of colon cancer cases. However, their potential aggressiveness warrants attention.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumours: Classified as soft tissue sarcomas, these originate from specific tissues mostly found in the limbs but can also emerge in the gastrointestinal tract.
Lymphoma: Although primarily an immune system cancer, it often originates in the colon. If untreated, it can spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Family colorectal cancer: Some patients exhibit distinct biological indicators compared to typical adenocarcinomas or lymphoma cases. Such cancers, potentially hereditary, are termed family colorectal cancer. Research remains limited, but inheritance patterns suggest a genetic link.
Numerous individuals with colon cancer initially exhibit no symptoms. As symptoms manifest, they typically vary based on the tumor’s size and its location within the large intestine.
Signs of colon cancer may encompass:
Advanced stages might show no prominent symptoms initially but later can manifest as:
Colon cancer is not just a medical diagnosis; it profoundly touches every facet of a person’s life, including their ability to work. The journey through this illness brings with it a myriad of challenges that intersect with one’s professional life. The impact can vary based on the stage of the cancer, the treatment modalities employed, and the nature of the person’s job, but several common challenges often arise such as:
1. Physical Challenges:
The physical manifestations of colon cancer can significantly influence one’s daily work activities. These include:
2. Psychological Challenges:
The emotional weight of a cancer diagnosis cannot be understated:
3. Challenges from Treatments:
Life-saving treatments, while necessary, introduce their own set of obstacles:
Again, colon cancer is a challenging journey, and for many facing this diagnosis, the concern extends beyond health to practical matters, such as whether they might qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.
In many instances, colon cancer patients will qualify for LTD benefits. However, the duration and eligibility can be variable. In Canada, eligibility largely hinges on the specific conditions of one’s insurance policy and the severity of their medical condition. For many with advanced stages of colon cancer, there’s a good chance they can avail LTD benefits, provided they fit the criteria of total disability.
Let’s explore what “total disability” means:
This transition in definition after the 24-month mark is pivotal, as it might influence the continuity of your benefits.
Every individual’s experience with colon cancer is unique, influencing their work capacities differently. So, while the diagnosis is a key factor, how the ailment and its treatments impact one’s work function also determines LTD eligibility. Proper medical documentation is paramount in supporting a disability claim, highlighting the significance of constant collaboration with your medical professionals.
also, LTD policies can vary extensively, so it’s crucial to be well-versed with your policy’s particulars. If ever you feel overwhelmed or face challenges in your claims process, reaching out to our expert long-term disability lawyers can provide you with guidance and support in a time of need.
Lalande Disabilty Lawyers are dedicated colon cancer disability lawyers who have assisted countless cancer victim since 1983. Our mission is to assist you in obtaining the disability benefits essential for your well-being, allowing you to prioritize healing without financial worries. If you or someone close to you is battling colon cancer and has encountered challenges with long-term disability insurance benefits, please reach out to us. We’ve successfully advocated for numerous clients, and we’re committed to ensuring you receive the support you rightfully deserve.
Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888. Otherwise, you can speak to our like chat operator or fill in a contact form and one of our Hamilton disability lawyers will get back to you within 24 hours.
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Individuals diagnosed with colon cancer may be eligible for disability benefits if the disease significantly impedes their ability to work or if it meets the definition of total disability.
If you’ve been denied long-term disability benefits, an experienced disability lawyer can assist with the complex process of filing suit against your disability insurance company and seek payment of the wrongful denial of disability benefits.
A disability lawyer specializes in helping cancer patients navigate the complex claims process, ensuring they obtain the benefits they’re entitled to when they’re unable to work due to their condition.
Disability lawyers provide crucial guidance to cancer victims, from compiling thorough medical documentation to representing them during appeals, ensuring that they have the best chance at securing the disability benefits they deserve.