A Multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) diagnosis can come as a devastating and totally unexpected blow. Though the disease is considered a non-cancerous disorder, it comes with a wide range of debilitating symptoms and complications that make it all but impossible to hold a steady job. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the serious nature of MCD and has added it to the list of conditions eligible for expedited processing under the Social Security’s (SS) Compassionate Allowances Program. However, even with the promise of expedited processing, working with an experienced disability attorney is the best way to ensure that your application is processed and approved in a timely fashion, so you get the benefits you need and deserve.
What Is MCD?
MCD—also known as giant lymph node hyperplasia and angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia—is a rare condition that severely weakens the immune system. Though MCD is classified as a non-cancerous disorder, it causes an overproduction of benign lymphatic cells in the lymph nodes and lymphatic tissues, which puts patients at high risk of developing certain forms of cancer. For example, 20 percent of patients with MCD will eventually develop lymphoma.
Although physicians and scientists don't know exactly what causes MCD, it is usually diagnosed in men between the ages of 30 and 50. Additionally, the disease seems to target individuals who are already ill, as it is often diagnosed in patients who also have the human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) infection, HIV, or who develop Kaposi sarcoma, which is a type of cancer that develops from cells lining the lymph nodes and blood vessels.
Symptoms associated with MCD include:
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Anemic weakness or fatigue
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, collarbone, underarm, and groin
- Enlarged spleen
- Peripheral nerve damage that causes numbness and weakness in the hands and feet
There is currently no known cure for MCD, but treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are often used to manage or control symptoms. However, even with the best available care, the prognosis for patients with MCD is poor, and death from serious infections, multiple organ failure, progressive diseases, and related cancers is common.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for MCD
While an MCD diagnosis means you can expect expedited processing of your Social Security (SS) disability application, completing the application correctly and providing all the necessary medical documentation is essential to receive the benefits you need. When submitting your disability application, be sure to include:
- Results of your biopsy or surgical resection of the affected lymph nodes
- CT scans, MRI, chest x-ray, and/or gallium scans
- Documentation differentiating your condition from Unicentric Castleman disease, which does not have the same morbidity and mortality rate as the multicentric form of the disease
We Can Help You Apply for Benefits
When you've been diagnosed with a serious and potentially fatal condition like MCD, time is crucial. Even with expedited processing under the Compassionate Allowances Program, it's possible for MCD patients to experience delays getting their SS disability benefits. Working with a seasoned disability attorney is the best way to ensure that the application you submit is right the first time.
Contact the skilled legal team at Keefe Disability Law to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss applying for SS disability benefits for MCD. Our attorney will answer your questions and can advise you on how to proceed in order to get the benefits you need and deserve as fast as possible. For additional information, request a copy of our free eBook, The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability.