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How does cancer affect the body?

Cancer is among the leading causes of death and disabilities. The Social Security Administration lists cancer among the illnesses that qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits. While almost all of us know someone who has been affected by cancer, you may not know what exactly cancer is, or how it affects the body.

The human body consists of trillions and trillions of cells, which make up every part of the human body. Each cell has its own role in the body, and each cell has a specific "shelf life," or programmed cell death, also called apoptosis. When the body is affected by cancer, mutated cells can disrupt the body's natural functioning, creating cells that act differently. The cells may not only multiply, but travel to different parts of the body, spreading and wreaking havoc and causing serious disabilities and often death.

Cancer cells may also target a person's immune system, further causing issues by preventing the normal cells from fighting disease or removing abnormal or damaged cells. Some forms of cancer even have the ability to hide from the immune system, waiting for the right time to attack.

Being diagnosed with cancer can be incredibly scary and debilitating. If you are suffering from a form of cancer and your disability prevents you from working, you may want to file a claim for Social Security Disability. While disability benefits will not fully cover any treatments, medical expenses or rehabilitation costs, it can help relieve some of your financial burden while you are out of work and fighting the disease.

Source: National Cancer Institute, "What Is Cancer?" Accessed May 8, 2017

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