Colon cancer is the development of dangerous cancerous cells in the colon, a section of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer is a term encompassing both colon and rectal cancers, as the organs share the same tissue composition and don’t have a distinct boundary between them. In 2020, it was estimated that there were 26,900 people in Canada diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Canada.
Over 90% of cases of colon cancer occur in people over 50, making it a condition that affects individuals well into their careers and settled into their family lives.
Colorectal cancer originates in the cells of the colon or rectum. This form of cancer involves a malignant tumor, which is a collection of cancerous cells with the ability to infiltrate and destroy adjacent tissue. It can also disseminate, or metastasize, to other areas of the body.
Any kind of cancer is a major disruption in someone’s life can interfere with an individual’s ability to work. There is discomfort from both the condition itself and the treatments associated with it.
For those suffering from colon cancer or with family and friends in the same situation, understand that we are here to help.
It can be a life-long struggle for someone with colon cancer to manage a regular routine or daily lifestyle, much less keep up with the rigors and demands of work. If you or a loved one suffers from colon cancer cancer that is interrupting your ability to work or you are dealing with symptoms of colon cancer that impair your ability to do your job, call us today at 1-844-434-7224 or send us a confidential message through our website. We help disability claimants all over Ontario, and our consultations are 100% free.
Colorectal cancer is a harmful expansion of cells within the lower intestine, an organ that takes care of water removal and converting food waste into solid stool. The colon, measuring about 90 cm (roughly 3 feet) in length, culminates at the rectum and anus. In cases of colon cancer, cells within the inner lining multiply rapidly and uncontrollably, resulting in a growth that can infiltrate nearby tissues and possibly spread to different body parts.
Colorectal cancer can be fatal if not identified and addressed promptly. Annually, it is estimated that around 23,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 9,000 will succumb to this disease.
Colon cancer ranks as the third most prevalent form of cancer, trailing only prostate and breast cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
The majority of colorectal cancer instances originate from pre-existing polyps. These are clusters of cells confined to the bowel lining, typically assuming a mushroom-like shape attached to the wall. Polyps can be found in as many as 30% of individuals, but fortunately, only a small fraction of these polyps will transform into cancer. The evolution of cancer, including the creation of polyps and their eventual progression into cancer, is a process that can span several years. In their early stages, polyps and cancers do not manifest symptoms. However, during this symptom-free period, these nascent cancers and precancerous growths can be detected and eliminated, thereby allowing the potential prevention or cure of colon cancer.
The precise cause of colon cancer remains a subject of intense discussion. While much is known about the general processes leading to cancer formation, the specific reasons for its occurrence in the colon are still somewhat enigmatic in the medical field. Research suggests that colon cancer emerges due to alterations or mutations in the cells of the colon. Additionally, various risk factors appear to enhance the probability of developing colon cancer. These include:
Family history: Individuals who have family members who have experienced colon cancer have a 10-20% increased risk of developing the condition themselves.
Congenital conditions: There are a number of conditions that puts someone at greater risk of developing colon cancer later in life. One of the key markers that make these genetic conditions similar is the development of polyps, which are non-cancerous growths of cells, throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Depending on the condition or genetic mutation, the number of polyps that a person could be living with might be anywhere from a couple of dozen to several hundred, of varying sizes. These polyps have the potential to mutate into cancer cells, making colon cancer for these individuals a serious risk throughout their life.
Juvenile Polyposis Coli: this is a disease that affects children and is caused by a genetic mutation. As a result of the mutation of cells, polyps can develop throughout the gastrointestinal tract, any one of which can develop into a cancerous tumour. While having this congenital condition does not necessarily predict the development of colon cancer, the presence of polyps in individuals with juvenile polyposis coli does make them more likely to have complications like colon cancer later on in life.
Turcot Syndrome: A rare condition that results in polyps developing in the colon. Although polyps themselves are usually non-cancerous in nature, larger polyps can mutate into cancerous tumours. Someone born with this condition has a much higher than average likelihood of developing colon cancer during their lifetime.
Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS): Another congenital condition is known as Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS). Visually, people with PJS may have dark moles that are blue or brown on their bodies. People with PJS may develop polyps in their colon and the rest of their gastrointestinal tract, which also places them at a heightened risk of developing colon cancer.
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP): A rare condition passed down genetically, people with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) develop a large number of polyps internally from around the age of 16. These polyps pose a serious risk of developing cancer if left untreated, usually before age 40.
Lynch syndrome or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC): This is another congenital condition inherited and not very common. It also creates polyps along the gastrointestinal tract, but not as many as FAP. The risk for developing colon cancer for individuals with HNPCC is also higher than individuals who do not have polyps in their system.
Ethnicity: Research has indicated higher than average numbers of Ashkenazi Jews and African Americans who develop colon cancer. It’s unclear why this is the case, but statistically, it is still a reason to be vigilant. It has been suggested that there are both genetic causes for the higher incidence of colon cancer in these two ethnic groups, while social and economic reasons may also play a role. (e.g. the lack of access to early cancer screening services and unhealthy lifestyle choices, etc.).
Lifestyle: There are a number of different lifestyle choices that could place someone at a higher risk of developing colon cancer, such as obesity or being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, lack of physical activity and a diet with a large proportion of red meat; animal fat is connected with the development of cancer cells.
Other medical conditions: People who have type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a higher risk of developing colon cancer.
Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, encompasses a variety of types characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the colon or rectum. The most common form is adenocarcinomas, which constitutes approximately 95% of all colon cancers and originates in the glandular cells lining the colon’s interior wall. Each type can vary significantly in its biological behavior, response to treatments, and prognosis, making the specific diagnosis vital for an effective treatment strategy. These types include:
Adenocarcinoma: The majority of cases of colorectal cancer are caused by adenocarcinomas, which are cancerous cells that develop in the glands located in the lining of the colon. Adenocarcinomas pose a significant health risk because they are difficult to identify until symptoms worsen, meaning that cancer has progressed to later stages.
Carcinoid tumours: There are cells in the large intestine that are responsible for creating hormones, these cells can also mutate and become cancerous, which is known as a carcinoid tumour. These kinds of tumours are typically slow-moving and rarely spread to other parts of the body.
Sarcomas: These are cancerous cells that originate in the colon’s connective tissue and can become dangerous if they metastasize (spread) outside the colon. Sarcomas make up less than 5 percent of colon cancer cases, but they may be more aggressive than adenocarcinomas.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumours: A kind of colon cancer categorized as a soft tissue sarcoma, this is a type of cancer that forms on a particular kind of tissue that is usually found in arms and legs but also in the gastrointestinal tract, including the large intestine. It usually forms in other parts of the body but can also be one type kind of colon cancer.
Lymphoma: This is a cancer that affects the immune system, but it can commonly start in the colon. By later stages, if left untreated, cancer can move its way and infect neighboring lymph nodes.
Family colorectal cancer: Some individuals who develop colon cancer do not show the same biological signs as other patients who develop adenocarcinomas or lymphoma. There is a kind of cancer that can be linked to having a family history of colon cancer, which is called family colorectal cancer. There isn’t a lot of research about this type of cancer, however, just as other disabilities and conditions can be inherited, it seems that family colorectal cancer is a form of colon cancer that is passed down directly from family members who have had colon cancer in the past.
As colon cancer develops, the symptoms that someone with this condition will worsen as well. The earlier cancer is identified, the sooner a plan can be put in place to treat it, meaning better prospects for recovery. Often symptoms in the early stages of cancer (stages I and II) may be very mild or mistakenly attributed to general unwellness rather than cancer:
In colon cancer cases, many individuals may develop cancer and not experience any noticeable symptoms until they’re in the later stages (stages III and IV).
If cancer metastasizes, there may be even more symptoms that may not be directly associated with the colon but rather connected to new cancer, affecting different parts of the body.
Once someone is diagnosed with cancer, medical staff will do their best to quickly assess the situation and identify the best action to take. Different forms of cancer treatment continue to be developed, and each comes with their own, life-altering symptoms:
Surgery can have various symptoms that range from minor to significant. Many of these have to do with the physical trauma of the surgery as well as the impact on the colon and, subsequently, the health of the GI tract. These include:
A form of cancer treatment that relies on courses of regulated chemicals that work to kill cancerous cells in the body. Many of the symptoms associated with chemotherapy have to do with its potency, or strength, as a cancer treatment option; the efficiency of the drugs in killing cancer cells also works against healthy cells in the host body, resulting in many of the adverse symptoms that can be felt, including:
When continued over a longer time frame, chemotherapy has been linked to other more serious side effects:
Using beams of radiation targeted towards the affected area, radiation therapy is another common form of cancer treatment. Radiation therapy often used alongside chemotherapy and surgery.
Radiation therapy is a calculated risk; exposure to any level of radiation is damaging to the body. The symptoms from radiation therapy can vary from person to person, but include:
Individuals who live with colon cancer – either while waiting for treatment or undergoing treatment – can experience disability in various aspects of their working lives. As with other forms of cancer, colon cancer can mean that an individual’s ability to work is significantly reduced, whether it be in terms of office hours or physical roles. Colon cancer can even result in a complete inability to work, depending on the severity of the situation.
The colon is a significant part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract responsible for digesting food. Individuals with colon cancer can experience symptoms like increased constipation, passing gas, and abdominal cramps, all of which can be extremely irritating and disruptive to a working person.
Frequent diarrhea or constipation, an urgent need to move the bowels, and nausea and vomiting can make it difficult to maintain a regular work schedule which may mean reduced productivity. This may necessitate frequent breaks and can be particularly problematic for jobs that require long periods of uninterrupted work or those that do not allow easy access to a restroom.
Depending on the individual, dietary adjustments can help manage some symptoms. However, this is also something that may not be possible for individuals in certain industries or areas of work. Ideal dietary options for people who experience difficulty and disease with their GI tract, including colon cancer, require preparation time and the financial flexibility to have regular access to those food items.
Additionally, the unexpected weight loss and a poor appetite that accompanies colon cancer and its treatment can result in decreased energy levels and a reduced ability to focus and perform tasks.
Fatigue is a common symptom of colon cancer due to the disease itself or from anemia caused by chronic blood loss in stools. This can significantly affect one’s energy level and concentration, impairing productivity and the ability to carry out tasks, particularly if the work is physically or mentally demanding.
Although it serves an incredibly important biological function, the bowel is an area of the body that many are not comfortable speaking about, particularly when it comes to diseases and disabilities of the bowel. At the very least, it can be slightly embarrassing to keep explaining the reason for the numerous trips to the restroom to a team or manager, and in the worst-case situation, it could be a point of friction at the office.
Symptoms from colon cancer can result in uncomfortable social situations. Working alongside other team members may become difficult while trying to control bodily functions like diarrhea, passing gas or constipation. It can be challenging to stay collected and professional while living with a condition that makes it hard to control bowel movements. This can particularly be the case for people who work in leadership or highly visible positions.
It’s impossible for someone who hasn’t been through cancer treatment to understand how physically and emotionally draining a process it can be. Cancer survivors describe cancer treatment as a full-time commitment that leaves them drained of energy and motivation. Returning to work immediately after cancer treatment is not only ill-advised but would even result in other medical complications that arise in someone who is further exhausting their body.
However, the luxury of taking time to rest during or after cancer treatment is not something that all have. For someone working to support dependents, like children, not being able to work might directly mean a reduction in wages, which may not be an option for many people who are making minimum wage or working a shift position. The mental stress of figuring out how to continue with work and the physical discomfort and pain that comes with having to live through cancer treatment can be overwhelming.
Many individuals do not find a good solution to working after cancer. There are countless cases of patients who have undergone chemotherapy and simply never recover to their pre-cancer energy levels, much less physical fitness. Even if a return to the workplace were a possibility they could consider, there would be little opportunity for them to continue to look for opportunities to improve their financial situation, and they would always be living with the anxiety that cancer would return and cause them to have to stop working again.
For colon cancer survivors, the importance of Long-Term Disability Benefits cannot be overstated. Colon cancer treatments can take months or even years to complete, and while the treatment is ongoing, the patient may not be able to work due to either physical pain or low energy levels.
In such cases, Long-Term Disability Benefits provide essential financial protection for those unable to work due to disability. In Canada, it’s estimated that cancer treatments and medication can cost colon cancer patients upwards of $10,000. If a colon cancer patient cannot work, the situation can become dire, particularly for those living on a fixed income or those with minimal financial means.
In most cases, yes – colon cancer will qualify for long-term disability benefits – but the questions is – for how long?
In Canada, whether or not a person with colon cancer qualifies for long-term disability depends on the specific terms and conditions of their insurance policy and the severity of their condition. However, in most cases, persons with severe conditions such as advanced colon cancer can qualify for LTD benefits if they meet the test of total disability.
The test of total disability typically involves two main phases: the “own occupation” period and the “any occupation” period.
Importantly, the “change of definition” is the point at which the definition switches from the “own occupation” to the “any occupation”. For many, if not most disability policies, this typically occurs after 24 months. This change can significantly affect your ability to continue receiving benefits.
When it comes to colon cancer, the course of the disease can vary widely between individuals, impacting their ability to work differently. A person’s eligibility for long-term disability will depend not only on their diagnosis but also on how the disease and its treatment affect their ability to work. Medical documentation is crucial in supporting a disability claim, which is why it’s important to work closely with your healthcare providers throughout the process.
Finally, it’s worth noting that LTD policies vary significantly. Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly understand your policy’s terms, including the definitions of disability, exclusions, limitations, and any applicable waiting periods.
It’s also recommended to consult with our long-term disability lawyers if your claim is denied or if you need help navigating the claims process, as the laws and processes can be complex and challenging to understand without expert advice.
Colon cancer is a condition that affects each individual differently and its severity can vary greatly depending on the person’s circumstances. Colon cancer is a serious matter that can greatly disrupt someone’s life in many ways. Unfortunately, this is not always taken into consideration when it comes to disability insurance decisions.
Unfortunately, many disability insurance claims for colon cancer patients are denied, which can leave them without the essential income they need to maintain their lifestyle. Despite regularly keeping up with disability insurance premiums, patients can find themselves without the financial support they need during a difficult time. Disability insurance companies may cite a number of common reasons for denying these essential disability benefits.
No. Internal appeals are rarely successful. Your disability carrier may try to convince you to appeal your denied disability claim through their internal systems, but you will soon discover that this process is ineffective and a waste of valuable time that simply delays your benefit payment. You are appealing your colon cancer disability claim with the same insurance company that denied you in the first place – thre is no impartiality.
Instead of appealing your colon cancer disability denial, call the colon cancer disability lawyers at Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers to get the FREE information you need to make a better and more informed decision about how to handle your Long-Term Disability Benefits denial and navigate the claims. Our experienced legal team will review your claim and provide the assistance you need to help ensure that you receive the long-term disability benefits you deserve.
Our colon cancer lawyers understand that colon cancer can be difficult to discuss. We are here to help you secure the disability benefits that you need and deserve so that you can focus on your recovery without added financial strain. If you or a loved one is living with colon cancer and has been denied long-term disability insurance benefits, contact our colon cancer disability lawyers today. We are here to help you secure the disability benefits you deserve so that you can focus on your recovery without added financial burdens. Our experienced colon cancer disability lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients, and we look forward to helping you.
Reach out today and see how our colon cancer disability lawyers at Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers can help you with your claim.
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Yes, colon cancer can be considered a disability so long as you satisfy the definition of “total disability” set out in your long-term disability policy.
Yes, in many cases you can get long-term disability benefits if you suffer from colon cancer if you meet the definition of “total disability” within your disability insurance policy.
Both colon cancer itself and its treatments can cause symptoms that negatively impact work performance and inhibit someone’s ability to fulfill the duties of their job. These include:
– abdominal cramps and pain
– social embarrassment due to passing gas and frequent bowel movements
– constipation and diarrhea
– nausea and vomiting
Yes, but read your disability insurance policy first. You must meet the definition of “total disability” that is laid out in your policy.
Yes. Decreased energy, fatigue, and changes in bowel movements are all symptoms that can interfere with job productivity and regular working hours.
Yes, you can qualify for long-term disability benefits if you are living with colon cancer. To qualify, you must meet the definition of “total disability” within your disability insurance policy.
The financial hardship of not working may mean you have no choice but to continue working, which can exacerbate the symptoms of colon cancer. Instead, you can apply for long-term disability with your private insurance company, if
1. the symptoms of colon cancer prevent you from engaging or completing the substantial duties of your employment and
2. you meet the definition of “total disability” within your disability insurance policy.
Disability benefits will help to relieve the financial hardship you are experiencing and give you time to focus on treatment and recovery.
No, do not appeal your denial. Your disability insurance company may try to convince you to appeal your denied disability claim through their internal system, but many claimants will discover that this process is ineffective and a waste of valuable time that simply delays your benefit payment.
Yes. Working with an experienced colon cancer disability lawyer is the best way to go up against your insurance company and fight for what you deserve. Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients, and we look forward to helping you with your denied disability claim. Reach out today to book a FREE consultation. Remember, our colon cancer disability lawyers only get paid if you get paid.