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ERISA Disability Benefits for Leukemia

ERISA Disability: Southern California Lawyers

ERISA Disability Benefits for Leukemia

Leukemia is a broad term for cancers of the blood cells. The type of leukemia depends on the type of blood cell that becomes cancerous and whether it grows quickly ("acute") or slowly ("chronic"). Leukemia occurs most often in adults older than 55 (but it is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15).

There are several types of leukemia. The key points about leukemia are as follows:

Leukemia may affect red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Previous chemotherapy and exposure to radiation may increase the risk of developing leukemia.

Signs and symptoms of leukemia include fever, feeling tired, night sweats, weight loss, and easy bruising or bleeding.

Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect and diagnose leukemia.

"Acute" leukemias usually get worse rapidly and require prompt treatment.

"Chronic" leukemias may be more slowly progressive and some may not require treatment, but that depends on the patient.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). In some cases, it can get worse rapidly and requires prompt and aggressive treatment.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Acute myeloid leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. In some cases, it can get worse rapidly and require aggressive treatment.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). It usually gets worse slowly, and some patients may not require any treatment for many years, or at all.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

Most people with CML have a gene mutation called the Philadelphia chromosome, which is a translocation (swapping) of DNA between it (chromosome 22) and chromosome 9 .CML can be aggressive and most patients require prompt treatment.

Hairy Cell Leukemia

Hairy cell leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). This rare type of leukemia gets worse slowly or not at all. The disease is called hairy cell leukemia because the leukemia cells look "hairy" when viewed under the microscope. In most leukemias, the white blood cell (WBC) count may be high or very high. It may be low in other leukemia, such as Hairy Cell Leukemia or Large Granulocyte Lymphocytic leukemia (LGL leukemia).

Treatment of Leukemia

There are many treatments available to successfully treat leukemia. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, stem cell therapy, and precision based treatments have greatly improved the prognosis of leukemia and new treatments are being developed all the time.

Reference:

https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/hairy-cell-treatment-pdq

Reduced-intensity stem cell transplant (Mini-SCT)

An alternative option for older individuals that may not be able to tolerate the intensive pre-treatment with radiation and chemotherapy that a conventional SCT requires, is what has been called a "mini"-SCT. Mini-transplant patients are pre-treated with lower doses of chemotherapy, generally without radiation therapy, which they tolerate better. They then receive an infusion of donor stem cells from a compatible donor, which reconstitute the bone marrow with healthy stem cells that give rise to normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Mini-SCT has been successfully used to treat aplastic anemia, leukemia, myelodysplasia, myeloproliferative diseases, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Unlike conventional SCT, which essentially eliminates all lthe stem cells in the bone marrow, mini-SCT suppresses the bone marrow to allow healthy donor stem cells to reconstitute the bone marrow.

While there are still significant risks with the mini-SCT, it is an option for older patients that may not tolerate conventional bone marrow therapy.  

Documenting your limitations:  How does your condition affect you? Be specific to articulate to your physician details of your physical limitations and how they impact you on a daily basis with regard to your daily living activities, your ability to stand/walk, lift/carry, and even sit for extended periods of time and need for breaks or rest from pain or fatigue. These are important factors and details regarding your functional capacity and important in evaluating whether you can perform your work or any work.

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