Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma


Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the lymph system. The lymph system is part of the immune system, which helps the body fight disease and infection. It includes lymph tissue found in lymph nodes, spleen, and other organs of the immune system.

General Information

More men than women are diagnosed with Adult NHL, and about 69,000 cases are diagnosed annually the United States. The cause of Adult NHL is largely unknown but it often develops in individuals with weakened immune systems, such as people who have had an organ transplant or have an HIV infection. Other risk factors include a diet high in meats and fat, and exposure to certain chemicals, such as pesticides.

Symptoms of the disease depend on what area of the body is affected by the cancer and how fast it is growing. Symptoms may include:

  • Night sweats,
  • Fever and chills that come and go,
  • Itching,
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, groin, or other areas,
  • Weight loss,
  • Coughing or shortness of breath, and
  • Abdominal pain or swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

Treatment depends on the type of lymphoma, the stage of the cancer, your age and overall health, and what symptoms you are exhibiting. Treatment may include radiation, chemotherapy, or both.

The prognosis for Adult NHL depends on the type and characteristics of the malignant tumor, the growth and location of the tumor, and whether it has spread (metastasized) at the time of diagnosis.

Social Security Administration POMS DI 23022.921 – Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has established specific requirements that need to be met before any disability can be established. These requirements are set out in the “medical listings.” A diagnosis of Adult NHL meets Social Security Medical Listing13.05-A if the cancer is recurrent after initial anti-neoplastic treatment. Low grade or indolent lymphoma must require more than one antineoplastic treatment regimen within a consecutive 12-month period.

To establish disability under the guidelines of the SSA, you will need medical evidence from treating sources and hospitals. It should include clinical examination, imaging tests, biopsies, pathology reports, surgical procedures, pertinent treatment records, and up-to-date progress notes.

Adult NHL 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.

Your representative may be able to help expedite your claim if you have a diagnosis of Adult NHL.