Bladder Cancer


Bladder cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the bladder. Most bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas. Other types include squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation. Cancer that begins in the transitional cells may spread through the lining of the bladder and invade the muscle wall of the bladder, or spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes. This is called invasive bladder cancer.

General Information

The great majority of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, when bladder cancer is highly treatable. However, even an early stage, bladder cancer is likely to recur. For this reason, bladder cancer survivors often undergo follow-up tests to look for bladder cancer recurrence for years after treatment.

Bladder cancer signs and symptoms often include blood in the urine. The urine may appear dark yellow, bright red, or cola colored. Or, urine may appear normal, but blood may be detected in a microscopic examination of the urine. Other signs and symptoms include frequent urination, painful urination, back pain, or pelvic pain.

Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer include cystoscopy, biopsy, urine cytology, and imaging tests.

Once it’s confirmed you have bladder cancer, your doctor may order additional tests to determine the extent or stage of your cancer. Staging tests include CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scan, and chest x-ray.

There are a number of treatment options available for bladder cancer. Depending on the extent and severity of your cancer, these may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, biologic therapy or any combination of these treatments. Chemotherapy and/or radiation are generally the most effective following one of the surgical options. While they also are used to attempt to treat inoperable bladder cancer, the prognosis for such cases usually is dim.

SSA POMS DI 23022.115 — Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer 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 bladder cancer also may meet Social Security Administration Medical listing 13.22-C. To establish disability under the guidelines of the SSA based on your diagnosis of bladder cancer, you will need a diagnosis of bladder carcinoma that is inoperable, unresectable, or with metastases to, or beyond, the regional lymph nodes.

If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of bladder cancer, you may want to consider retaining the services of a disability representative. Applying for disability benefits can be overwhelming and the paperwork involved can be very detailed and confusing. By working with a disability representative, you can ensure that your disability claim is submitted to the SSA in the best light possible.

Your representative may be able to help expedite your disability claim if you have a diagnosis of bladder cancer.