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Disability Benefits for Castleman's Disease

Social Security Disability Attorneys: Riverside, OC & San Bernardino

Castleman's Disease

Castleman's Disease is a rare, benign lymphoproliferative disorder that can be “unicentric” (confined to one lymph node, usually in the chest or abdomen) or “multicentric” (all over the body). The cause is not known. Multicentric Castleman's Disease (“MCD”) causes more symptoms and can be disabling.  Castleman's Disease is sometimes called “angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia,” because of its microscopic appearance. This condition was first described by Dr. Benjamin Castleman in the 1950s.

Symptoms

Symptoms of MCD typically include fever, infections, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, nausea, lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), and splenomegaly (enlarged spleen). Although MCD is not a malignancy, it has symptoms that overlap with malignant disorders such as lymphoma, and MCD is sometimes treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some patients diagnosed with MCD eventually progress to developing lymphoma.  In such cases, the prognosis can be poor.

Diagnosis

Castleman's Disease is diagnosed by performing a lymph node biopsy. It must be differentiated from other lymphoproliferative disorders, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and POEMS. MCD has been associated with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), which has also been linked with Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancerous tumor seen in patients with HIV/AIDS.

Treatment

Unicentric Castleman's Disease may not require much in the way of treatment other than surgical removal of the involved lymph node. However, multicentric Castleman's Disease (MCD) may require treatment with siltuximab (Sylvant) or rituximab (Rituxan), which control unregulated proliferation of lymphocytes and other aspects of the immune system.

A useful medical journal article summarizing this disorder entitled “Update and new approaches in the treatment of Castleman disease” by Kah-Lok, C, et al may be found in J Blood Med. 2016; 7: 145–158.

Disability Benefits for Castleman's Disease

The Social Security Administration (SSA) includes MCD in its Compassionate Allowances program. However, that doesn't always guarantee that an SSDI claim will be automatically approved.  You still must submit medical records that document the diagnosis, symptoms, and how those symptoms affect your functional capacity.

Similarly, claims for long-term disability (LTD) benefits under an employer-based group disability plan (ERISA) requires the same kind of “due diligence.” Working with your doctor and with an experienced disability attorney is important.

At Law Med, we represent clients for both SSDI and ERISA claims. Navigating a disability claim either before the SSA or in Federal Court necessitates advocates with experience to represent your interests.

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