Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
Category of Impairments, Cancer(malignant, neoplastic, diseases)
Malignant solid tumors
A. What impairments do these listings cover? We use these listings to evaluate all cancers (malignant neoplastic diseases), except certain cancers associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. If you have HIV infection, we use the criteria in 114.08E to evaluate carcinoma of the cervix, Kaposi sarcoma, lymphoma, and squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal and anal margin.
B. What do we consider when we evaluate cancer under these listings? We consider factors including:
1. Origin of the cancer.
2. Extent of involvement.
3. Duration, frequency, and response to therapy.
4. Effects of any post-therapeutic residuals.
C. How do we apply these listings? We apply the criteria in a specific listing to a cancer originating from that specific site.
D. What evidence do we need?
1. We need medical evidence that specifies the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion. In the rare situation in which the primary site cannot be identified, we will use evidence documenting the site(s) of metastasis to evaluate the impairment under 13.27 in part A.
2. For operative procedures, including a biopsy or a needle aspiration, we generally need a copy of both the:
a. Operative note, and
b. Pathology report.
3. When we cannot get these documents, we will accept the summary of hospitalization(s) or other medical reports. This evidence should include details of the findings at surgery and, whenever appropriate, the pathological findings.
4. In some situations we may also need evidence about recurrence, persistence, or progression of the cancer, the response to therapy, and any significant residuals. (See 113.00G.)
E. When do we need longitudinal evidence?
1. Cancer with distant metastases. Most cancer of childhood consist of a local lesion with metastases to regional lymph nodes and, less often, distant metastases. We generally do not need longitudinal evidence for cancer that has metastasized beyond the regional lymph nodes because this cancer usually meets the requirements of a listing. Exceptions are for cancer with distant metastases that we expect to respond to anticancer therapy. For these exceptions, we usually need a longitudinal record of 3 months after therapy starts to determine whether the therapy achieved its intended effect, and whether this effect is likely to persist.
2. Other malignancies. When there are no distant metastases, many of the listings require that we consider your response to initial anticancer therapy; that is, the initial planned treatment regimen. This therapy may consist of a single modality or a combination of modalities; that is, multimodal therapy (see 113.00I3).
3. Types of treatment.
a. Whenever the initial planned therapy is a single modality, enough time must pass to allow a determination about whether the therapy will achieve its intended effect. If the treatment fails, the failure will often happen within 6 months after treatment starts, and there will often be a change in the treatment regimen.
b. Whenever the initial planned therapy is multimodal, we usually cannot make a determination about the effectiveness of the therapy until we can determine the effects of all the planned modalities. In some cases, we may need to defer adjudication until we can assess the effectiveness of therapy. However, we do not need to defer adjudication to determine whether the therapy will achieve its intended effect if we can make a fully favorable determination or decision based on the length and effects of therapy, or the residuals of the cancer or therapy (see 113.00G).
F. How do we evaluate impairments that do not meet one of the cancer listings?
1. These listings are only examples of cancer that we consider severe enough to result in marked and severe functional limitations. If your impairment(s) does not meet the criteria of any of these listings, we must also consider whether you have an impairment(s) that meets the criteria of a listing in another body system.
2. If you have a severe medically determinable impairment(s) that does not meet a listing, we will determine whether your impairment(s) medically equals a listing. (See §§404.1526 and 416.926 of this chapter.) If your impairment(s) does not meet or medically equal a listing, we will also consider whether you have an impairment(s) that functionally equals the listings. (See §416.926a of this chapter.) We use the rules in §§416.994a of this chapter when we decide whether you continue to be disabled.
G. How do we consider the effects of anticancer therapy?
1. How we consider the effects of therapy under the listings . In many cases, cancers meet listing criteria only if the therapy is not effective and the cancer persists, progresses, or recurs. However, as explained in the following paragraphs, we will not delay adjudication if we can make a fully favorable determination or decision based on the evidence in the case record.
2. Effects can vary widely.
a. We consider each case on an individual basis because the therapy and its toxicity may vary widely. We will request a specific description of the therapy, including these items:
i. Drugs given.
iii. Frequency of drug administration.
iv. Plans for continued drug administration.
v. Extent of surgery.
vi. Schedule and fields of radiation therapy.
b. We will also request a description of the complications or adverse effects of therapy, such as the following:
i. Continuing gastrointestinal symptoms.
ii. Persistent weakness.
iii. Neurological complications.
iv. Cardiovascular complications.
v. Reactive mental disorders.
3. Effects of therapy may change. The severity of the adverse effects of anticancer therapy may change during treatment; therefore, enough time must pass to allow us to evaluate the therapy's effect. The residual effects of treatment are temporary in most instances; however, on occasion, the effects may be disabling for a consecutive period of at least 12 months. In some situations, very serious adverse effects may interrupt and prolong multimodal anticancer therapy for a continuous period of almost 12 months. In these situations, we may determine there is an expectation that your impairment will preclude you from engaging in any age-appropriate activities for at least 12 months.
4. When the initial anticancer therapy is effective. We evaluate any post-therapeutic residual impairment(s) not included in these listings under the criteria for the affected body system. We must consider any complications of therapy. When the residual impairment(s) does not meet a listing, we must consider whether it medically equals a listing, or, as appropriate, functionally equals the listings.
H. How long do we consider your impairment to be disabling?
1. In some listings, we specify that we will consider your impairment to be disabling until a particular point in time (for example, until at least 12 months from the date of transplantation). We may consider your impairment to be disabling beyond this point when the medical and other evidence justifies it.
2. When a listing does not contain such a specification, we will consider an impairment(s) that meets or medically equals a listing in this body system to be disabling until at least 3 years after onset of complete remission. When the impairment(s) has been in complete remission for at least 3 years, that is, the original tumor or a recurrence (or relapse) and any metastases have not been evident for at least 3 years, the impairment(s) will no longer meet or medically equal the criteria of a listing in this body system.
3. Following the appropriate period, we will consider any residuals, including residuals of the cancer or therapy (see 113.00G), in determining whether you are disabled. If you have a recurrence or relapse of your cancer, your impairment may meet or medically equal one of the listings in this body system again.
I. What do we mean by the following terms?
1. Anticancer therapy means surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormones, immunotherapy, or bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. When we refer to surgery as an anticancer treatment, we mean surgical excision for treatment, not for diagnostic purposes.
3. Multimodal therapy means anticancer therapy that is a combination of at least two types of treatment given in close proximity as a unified whole and usually planned before any treatment has begun. There are three types of treatment modalities: surgery, radiation, and systemic drug therapy (chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy or biological modifier therapy). Examples of multimodal therapy include:
a. Surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiation.
b. Chemotherapy followed by surgery.
c. Chemotherapy and concurrent radiation.
4. Persistent means the planned initial anticancer therapy failed to achieve a complete remission of your cancer; that is, your cancer is evident, even if smaller, after the therapy has ended.
5. Progressive means the cancer becomes more extensive after treatment; that is, there is evidence that your cancer is growing after you have completed at least half of your planned initial anticancer therapy.
6. Recurrent, relapse means the cancer that was in complete remission or entirely removed by surgery has returned.
J. Can we establish the existence of a disabling impairment prior to the date of the evidence that shows the cancer satisfies the criteria of a listing? Yes. We will consider factors such as:
1. The type of cancer and its location.
2. The extent of involvement when the cancer was first demonstrated.
3. Your symptoms.
K. How do we evaluate specific cancers?
a. We provide criteria for evaluating aggressive lymphomas that are disseminated or have not responded to anticancer therapy in 113.05.
b. Lymphoblastic lymphoma is treated with leukemia-based protocols, so we will evaluate this type of cancer under 113.06.
a. Acute leukemia. The initial diagnosis of acute leukemia, including the accelerated or blast phase of chronic myelogenous (granulocytic) leukemia, is based upon definitive bone marrow examination. Additional diagnostic information is based on chromosomal analysis, cytochemical and surface marker studies on the abnormal cells, or other methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice. Recurrent disease must be documented by peripheral blood, bone marrow, or cerebrospinal fluid examination, or by testicular biopsy. The initial and follow-up pathology reports should be included.
b. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). We need a diagnosis of CML based upon documented granulocytosis, including immature forms such as differentiated or undifferentiated myelocytes and myeloblasts, and a chromosomal analysis that demonstrates the Philadelphia chromosome. In the absence of a chromosomal analysis, or if the Philadelphia chromosome is not present, the diagnosis may be made by other methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice. The requirement of CML in the accelerated or blast phase is met in 113.06B if laboratory findings show the proportion of blast (immature) cells in the peripheral blood or bone marrow is 10 percent or greater.
c. Juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia (JCML). JCML is a rare, Philadelphia-chromosome-negative childhood leukemia that is aggressive and clinically similar to acute myelogenous leukemia. We evaluate JCML under 113.06A.
d. Elevated white cell count. In cases of chronic leukemia (either myelogenous or lymphocytic), an elevated white cell count, in itself, is not a factor in determining the severity of the impairment.
3. Malignant solid tumors. The tumors we consider under 113.03 include the histiocytosis syndromes except for solitary eosinophilic granuloma. We do not evaluate thyroid cancer (see 113.09), retinoblastomas (see 113.12), primary central nervous system (CNS) cancers (see 113.13), neuroblastomas (see 113.21), or malignant melanoma (see 113.29) under this listing.
Primary central nervous system (CNS) cancers. We use the criteria in 113.13 to evaluate cancers that originate within the CNS (that is, brain and spinal cord cancers).
a. The CNS cancers listed in 113.13A1 are highly malignant and respond poorly to treatment, and therefore we do not require additional criteria to evaluate them. We do not list pituitary gland cancer (for example, pituitary gland carcinoma) in 113.13A1, although this CNS cancer is highly malignant and responds poorly to treatment. We evaluate pituitary gland cancer under 113.13A1 and do not require additional criteria to evaluate it.
b. We consider a CNS tumor to be malignant if it is classified as Grade II, Grade III, or Grade IV under the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of tumors of the CNS (WHO Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System, 2007).
c. We evaluate benign (for example, WHO Grade I) CNS tumors under 111.05. We evaluate metastasized CNS cancers from non-CNS sites under the primary cancers (see 113.00C). We evaluate any complications of CNS cancers, such as resultant neurological or psychological impairments, under the criteria for the affected body system.
5. Retinoblastoma. The treatment for bilateral retinoblastoma usually results in a visual impairment. We will evaluate any resulting visual impairment under 102.02.
6. Melanoma We evaluate malignant melanoma that affects the skin (cutaneous melanoma), eye (ocular melanoma), or mucosal membranes (mucosal melanoma) under 113.29. We evaluate melanoma that is not malignant that affects the skin (benign melanocytic tumor) under the listings in 108.00 or other affected body systems.
L. How do we evaluate cancer treated by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, including transplantation using stem cells from umbilical cord blood? Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation is performed for a variety of cancers. We require the transplantation to occur before we evaluate it under these listings. We do not need to restrict our determination of the onset of disability to the date of the transplantation (113.05 or 113.06). We may be able to establish an earlier onset date of disability due to your transplantation if the evidence in your case record supports such a finding.
1. Acute leukemia (including all types of lymphoblastic lymphoma and JCML) or accelerated or blast phase of CML. If you undergo bone marrow or stem cell transplantation for any of these disorders, we will consider you to be disabled until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of transplantation, whichever is later.
2. Lymphoma or chronic phase of CML. If you undergo bone marrow or stem cell transplantation for any of these disorders, we will consider you to be disabled until at least 12 months from the date of transplantation.
3. Evaluating disability after the appropriate time period has elapsed. We consider any residual impairment(s), such as complications arising from:
a. Graft-versus-host (GVH) disease.
b. Immunosuppressant therapy, such as frequent infections.
c. Significant deterioration of other organ systems.
A. For 24 months from the date of initial diagnosis. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.
B. For 24 months from the date of recurrence of active disease. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system..
A. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (including Burkitt's and anaplastic large cell), with either 1 or 2:
1. Bone marrow, brain, spinal cord, liver, or lung involvement at initial diagnosis. Consider under a disability for 24 months from the date of diagnosis. Thereafter, evaluate under 113.05A2, or any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.
2. Persistent or recurrent following initial anticancer therapy.
B. Hodgkin lymphoma, with either 1 or 2:
1. Bone marrow, brain, spinal cord, liver, or lung involvement at initial diagnosis. Consider under a disability for 24 months from the date of diagnosis. Thereafter, evaluate under 113.05B2, or any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.
2. Persistent or recurrent following initial anticancer therapy.
C. With bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria of the affected body system.
D. Mantle cell lymphoma.
113.06 Leukemia. (See 113.00K2.)
A. Acute leukemia (including all types of lymphoblastic lymphoma and juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia (JCML). Consider under a disability until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, whichever is later. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.
B. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (except JCML), as described in 1 or 2:
1. Accelerated or blast phase (see 113.00K2b). Consider under a disability until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, whichever is later. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.
2. Chronic phase, as described in a or b:
a. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.
b. Progressive disease following initial anticancer therapy.
Carcinoma with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes progressive despite
radioactive iodine therapy.
C. Medullary carcinoma with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes.
A. With extension beyond the orbit.
B. Persistent or recurrent following initial anticancer therapy.
C. With regional or distant metastases.
A. Glioblastoma multiforme, ependymoblastoma, and diffuse intrinsic brain stem gliomas (see 113.00K4a).
B. Any Grade III or Grade IV CNS cancer (see 113.00K4b), including astrocytomas, sarcomas, and medulloblastoma and other primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs).
C. Any primary CNS cancer, as described in 1 or 2:
2. Progressive or recurrent following initial anticancer therapy.
A. With extension across the midline.
B. With distant metastases.
D. With onset at age 1 year or older.
A. Recurrent (except an additional primary melanoma at a different site, which is not considered to be recurrent disease) following either 1 or 2:
1. Wide excision (skin melanoma).
2. Enucleation of the eye (ocular melanoma).
B. With metastases as described in 1, 2, or 3:
1. Metastases to one or more clinically apparent nodes; that is, nodes that are detected by imaging studies (excluding lymphoscintigraphy) or by clinical evaluation (palpable).
2. If the nodes are not clinically apparent, with metastases to four or more nodes.
3. Metastases to adjacent skin (satellite lesions) or distant sites (for example, liver, lung, or brain).
C. Mucosal melanoma.