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One-third of cancer survivors experience chronic pain, study says

Cancer survivors often go through a litany of extensive treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. And while these measures may save a person's life, that's not to say there are not long-term effects. Those in Charlotte who have survived cancer or have a loved one who has done so may already know that one possible long-term effect of cancer treatment is chronic pain.

According to a new study, one-third of those in the United States who have survived cancer still have ongoing pain, and one-sixth of those individuals find that their chronic pain stops them from engaging in daily activities. The study surveyed over 4,500 cancer survivors and found that almost 35% of them claimed they still suffered from pain most days or every day for half a year. Of those surveyed, 16% stated their pain was so extreme that it limited their everyday activities.

The American Cancer Society stated that chronic pain is one of the most prevalent long-term effects of cancer leading to a lower quality of life. Some of these individuals will find that their ongoing pain stops them from being able to hold down a job. Chronic pain sufferers will incur medical expenses, as well as expenses related to their daily care. These expenses can be difficult to cope with when one cannot work.

However, some of these individuals may be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits for illness. Cancer is a disease included in the Social Security Administration's "Listing of Impairments." One consideration made in determining whether a person's cancer meets the definition of disability are the effects of any post-therapeutic residuals. So, it may be possible in some circumstances that a cancer survivor's ongoing pain that is a result of the treatment they received for the disease could be included in their application for Social Security disability benefits. However, applying for SSD benefits can be complicated, and many initial applications for benefits are denied. Working with an attorney when applying for SSD benefits can be helpful.

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