February 8, 2024

Enhancing Cervical Health Awareness: Early Detection Strategies and SSDI Support for Cancer Recovery

Cervical health, a vital aspect of women’s wellness, often goes unnoticed until significant issues arise. According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States alone, approximately 13,820 women were expected to be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2024, with an estimated 4,360 deaths from the disease. Addressing the importance of early detection and proactive care in maintaining cervical health could save lives. It’s also important that individuals understand their access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for important income when they must stop working, and the related Ticket to Work Program, which can support them in returning to work after reaching medical stability.

Allsup professionals regularly assist claimants with cervical cancer in the process of applying and receiving approval for SSDI benefits. Cervical cancer predominantly affects women aged 35 to 44. Often, the early stages of cervical cancer may present no symptoms. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ,warning signs can include persistent fatigue, unexpected weight loss, nausea, and significant vaginal bleeding. Due to the asymptomatic nature of early cervical cancer, regular screening through Pap tests is essential for early detection and increases the chances of successful treatment.

Receiving a cervical cancer diagnosis can be a daunting experience, encompassing both emotional and physical hardships. One of the immediate considerations may be communicating the situation to family and friends. Subsequently, patients must collaborate with healthcare professionals to develop a tailored treatment plan, which could range from surgical procedures to chemotherapy, among other treatments. This journey might lead to a profound shift in daily life, possibly affecting the capacity to work and manage financial obligations related to healthcare costs. Anticipating a departure from work for 12 months (or longer) signals it’s time to apply for SSDI, which offers a much-needed financial backstop during treatment.  

Understanding The Causes Of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer originates from alterations in the DNA of cervix cells, disrupting their normal lifecycle and causing them to multiply rapidly and live longer than typical cells, potentially forming a mass known as a tumor. These cells can erode normal tissue and eventually metastasize as discussed by the American Cancer Society While the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a virus spread via sexual contact, is behind most cervical cancers, it usually resolves without causing any issues. However, in certain individuals, it can lead to cellular changes that might progress to cancer.

Risk Factors For Cervical Health Issues

Several factors heighten the risk of developing cervical cancer. Smoking can prolong HPV infections, which are the leading cause of cervical cancer the Mayo Clinic explains.  A higher number of sexual partners and engaging in sexual activity at a young age can increase the likelihood of contracting HPV. Concurrent sexually transmitted infections such as herpes or HIV also elevate the risk. Those with weakened immune systems, possibly due to other health conditions, are more susceptible if they have HPV. Additionally, the Cancer Institute mentions there’s an increased risk for individuals whose mothers were treated with the miscarriage prevention drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy.

Early Detection Methods & Preventative Measures

The American Cancer Society advises starting cervical cancer screening at age 25. Up to age 65, a primary HPV test is recommended every 5 years, but if unavailable, a Pap test alone every 3 years or a combined HPV and Pap test every 5 years can be alternatives. Regular screening is crucial. Those over 65 with a decade of normal screenings and no severe diagnosis in the past 25 years may cease screening. Anyone who’s had a total hysterectomy for reasons other than cancer can stop screening, while those with a cervix should continue following guidelines. HPV vaccination doesn’t change these recommendations. Contrary to some beliefs, screening should continue even after childbearing years, according to these guidelines.

Preventive strategies include HPV vaccination, recommended for preteens and young adults according to the CDC. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking cessation and practicing safe sex, also play a role. Regular health screenings remain a cornerstone of prevention.

Treatment Options for Cervical Cancer

Treatment for precancerous cervical conditions can vary. Treatment options for cervical cancer encompass surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy, each tailored to individual patient needs and the cancer’s stage. Regular follow-ups are critical for treatment success.

A diagnosis can have significant emotional and physical impacts. Support systems, including community groups and professional counseling, are vital. Long-term management may involve ongoing treatments and lifestyle adjustments. In addition, applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a vital step.

Social Security disability benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration. The SSA oversees a complex application and appeals process, which can be difficult to navigate without an SSDI representative. Workers are covered by this federal insurance program, and someone must have worked five out of the last 10 years and paid Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes to be eligible.

Because of the stringent program requirements, first-time applicants are likely to be denied Social Security disability benefits. The initial national approval rate is only 38%  for applicants. Fortunately, women who’ve been diagnosed with cervical cancer can work closely with a knowledgeable disability representative like Allsup who can diligently navigate the complicated and timely application process. Skilled disability specialists at Allsup.com can help you complete your claim to be reviewed by the SSA.

Early detection and proactive care are key to maintaining cervical health. Regular check-ups and open communication with healthcare providers can save lives.

Visit our eligibility page on Allsup.com, take our free online assessment, or call (800) 678-3276 to learn more about filing a claim for SSDI benefits. You may also visit our introduction to SSDI page to learn more about what is needed to qualify for Social Security disability. If you would like to learn more about how you can return to work after receiving SSDI benefits, visit AllsupEmploymentServices.com and find help to begin the process.