DefinitionAngiosarcoma is a rare cancer of the inner lining of the blood vessels and can occur in any area of your body. It most commonly affects the skin, breast, liver, spleen, and deep tissue. When it occurs in the skin, it usually affects the scalp and face. Approximately 25 percent of angiosarcomas are found in deep tissue, and around 8 percent are found in breast tissue. Angiosarcomas occur in adults of all ages and races, but are rare in children. It accounts for only about 0.1% of adult malignancies.
Angiosarcoma can present in many different ways. It can look like a skin infection, a bruise, or a lesion that does not heal. It may have a violet color, and you should be particularly concerned if such an area exists in a site of prior radiation therapy. It also may present as a soft lump. Most angiosarcomas are high grade tumors that are aggressive and fast-growing, but some are low-grade tumors that are less aggressive and slow-growing. Deep-seated tumors may go unnoticed until they begin to affect surrounding tissues and organs.Diagnosis usually begins with a physical exam, and may include imaging to help to determine the location and size of the tumor and whether the disease has spread throughout the body. A definite diagnosis is made with a biopsy procedure, where a small piece of the tumor is removed from the body and looked at under a microscope by a pathologist.
Treatment of angiosarcoma depends on the specific type of tumor, its size, and its location, and the extent to which it has spread. The standard treatment of these tumors is the surgical removal of the primary tumor. If a complete resection is not feasible, radiation therapy is administered. Chemotherapy is used in some patients.
Angiosarcoma has a dismal prognosis with a five-year overall survival rate of only 30 percent. The prognosis is bleak because the diagnosis usually is made after the disease has spread throughout the body. Studies suggest better outcomes for patients who have smaller tumors that are removed with clear margins. Low grade angiosarcoma of the breast also is reported to have a better prognosis.
Social Security Administration POMS: DI 23022.106 — Angiosarcoma
Angiosarcoma is listed under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowance Program, which was launched in 2008 to expedite certain disability claims. Applying for disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Program requires the same procedure every applicant must follow when applying for SSA disability benefits; however, you will be notified if your condition is being considered as a compassionate allowance.
Sarcoma with metastases to, or beyond, the regional lymph nodes meets Social Security Medical Listing 13.03A, or 113.03 if the patient is a child. Soft tissue sarcoma with regional or distant metastases that are persistent or recurrent after the initial antineoplastic therapy meets Social Security Medical Listing 13.04.
Your representative may be able to help expedite your disability claim if you have a diagnosis of angiosarcoma.