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To wonder why cancer is classed as a disability?

(102 Posts)
Whatwhy Sun 31-May-15 10:28:48

My eldest and I were filling in forms for disability for Uni. We then found a paragraph that said if you had cancer for more than a year you could claim disability allowance even if now in remission/clear.

My eldest had cancer for over a year and won't be given the all clear for 10 years but is medically fit. I know people who have had skin cancer and had the treatment and are now clear, and the same with breast cancer.

I don't understand how having had cancer is now a disability - I understand in the past that Cancer was a death sentence and no one survived but now people are being cured.

I also don't get why its a disability once you've had it for a year, in our case for 18 months and particularly the first 10months that's when they were disabled not the last 8 months.

AIBU to think that Cancer is not a disability? It is an illness. The same way something like meningitis is an illness. It can cause disability in some cases but is not a disability.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Sun 31-May-15 10:31:03

Isn't it when the cancer has resulted in disability?

Scuttlebutter Sun 31-May-15 10:33:23

Because many cancer survivors (myself included) have long term physical issues either as a result of the cancer itself or from the treatment. Both radiotherapy and chemo can leave long term effects, surgery can too, and issues such as lymphoedema can affect people who have had lymph nodes removed.

GemmaTeller Sun 31-May-15 10:33:55


you are going to need them, being so flippant about cancer and its treatment.

Musicaltheatremum Sun 31-May-15 10:34:27

I think it's one of those grey areas. I work with someone who had cancer and had radiotherapy and is now all clear and came back some months later. She was very depressed for a while so that was a disability but now she's fine. My husbands brain cancer went into remission but caused brain damage so he was disabled with it. (although outwardly looked fine and people said how well he looked but that's another story)

Staywithme Sun 31-May-15 10:35:13

My god, for someone who has a family member going through this you are incredibly ignorant. When you went with your eldest, when he/she was having treatment, did you happen to notice that many of the other patents were using mobility aids, were very tired/ill looking and needed assistance? Did your eldest have chemo and if so did they have any of the related side effects? These include, but are not limited to, tiredness, nausea, weakness, balance problems, etc. Of course having cancer can be described as a disability.

Whatwhy Sun 31-May-15 10:37:58

No it's not when resulted in a disability - that I can understand like I say like me for example losing limbs due to meningitis it's not the meningitis that you are disabled it's the damage the meningitis has caused.

So if it was a disability resulting from cancer I get that.

Why more than a year? If the cancer left you with a disability but you only had cancer for a year you are not eligible.

Just having cancer though is not a disability.

morage Sun 31-May-15 10:38:00

It means if a year after having cancer, you still have physical issues. The point is if after a year you still have issues, this is probably a permanent disability.

FarFromAnyRoad Sun 31-May-15 10:38:37

OP you sound incredibly stupid.


hazeyjane Sun 31-May-15 10:39:29

Surely all cancers and treatments affect people differently. I have a friend who has very severe bowel problems as a result of his treatment, I am on lifetime follow up for mine, but have had no long term effects (apart from absolute terror of any cancer like symptoms).

The DLA forms are so specific, it wouldn't just be a case of ticking a box.

Gemma - the op's son had cancer, she has experience, it is just her own experience.

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Sun 31-May-15 10:41:07

Really? Ffs

PausingFlatly Sun 31-May-15 10:41:48

Claim what disability allowance?

Do you mean that having had cancer ever = automatic payment?

Or do you mean, having had cancer is a flag for possible current disabilities = invitation to have current disabilities assessed in case eligible for payment?

weebarra Sun 31-May-15 10:42:54

I had breast cancer last year. Because it was stage three, I had the lymph nodes removed under my arms. This has damaged the nerves in the area, so I have permanent numbness or pins and needles. I also have limited movement in my arms. Hth.

hazeyjane Sun 31-May-15 10:43:01

Op, yes cancer is a disease - a disease that can be disabling. In the same way that asthma can be disabling or epilepsy.

m0therofdragons Sun 31-May-15 10:45:16

For uni I would assume that having cancer for a year would seriously affect your education so would be relevant and so it's the easiest way of recognising that.

FeelTheNoise Sun 31-May-15 10:45:45

And a disease for which life saving treatment can be very disabling. For those lucky enough, anyway hmm

Theycallmemellowjello Sun 31-May-15 10:45:47

I don't think op is being flippant. She's asking why people with no symptoms should be classed as having a disability for benefits purposes which is a reasonable question. I would assume that the answer is that since some people are affected by symptoms in the relevant 10 year period it's cheaper to just give the benefits to everyone in that class than it is to constantly monitor the health and symptoms of everyone in the class. These things are usually done on a cost benefit analysis.

FarFromAnyRoad Sun 31-May-15 10:46:20

Are you a name changer or a new member? It would be awful if people thought you'd done either just to post an offensive and goady thread. I'm sure everybody nobody thinks you've done that. hmm

ilovesooty Sun 31-May-15 10:46:56

Try looking up the legal definition of disability under equality law if the 12 months puzzles you.
In fact I think it might have been better to do this before starting this thread which is bound to distress some people.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Sun 31-May-15 10:46:59

Considering how difficult it generally is to get disability payments, I very much doubt its as simple as you state, OP. Its not going to be an automatic payment to anyone at all who had cancer for longer than a year. IT will be one of the possible criteria but you'd have to show that you do in fact have a disability.

passmethewineplease Sun 31-May-15 10:47:08

whilst being free from cancer is great it isn't that simple. It brings a whole host of issues in my experience.

My sister had cancer twice at 17 and 20, she had several major ops and radiotherapy to ensure cells were killed. This has left her terrified and rather depressed, she panics every day that it will return and will kill her, the radiotherapy has left her incredibly tired, with a sore neck, the ops have left her with scars that make her feel self conscious. It's horrible.

Your post has really annoyed me tbh.

OldBloodCallsToOldBlood Sun 31-May-15 10:47:20

As well as the after-effects of treatment, it's also classed as a disability to try and prevent discrimination. That is protection that is needed by EVERYONE who has had cancer, even if they were lucky and got through with little to no side effects.

Imagine if cancer wasn't covered under the Equality Act. You'd have crappy employers trying to deny people time off to attend hospital appointments, or insisting they are rearranged for outside of working time.

Applying for a new job and asked to disclose medical history to occupational health? Much easier to find a way around employing a person whose cancer 'might come back' (a common assumption) if there is no legal protection in place.

All that still happens, but is made much less likely thanks to cancer being specifically mentioned in the Equality Act.

I finished my treatment for breast cancer three years ago. I'm barely in my thirties. I am lucky and most of my side-effects have gone, but I have no idea how I could be affected long-term. I still have to attend hospital appointments every few months and have very little control over when those are. Most of my working life is ahead of me. I'm grateful for the protection I have, thanks to cancer being considered a disability.

Indantherene Sun 31-May-15 10:47:20

What FarFromAnyRoad said.

Whatwhy Sun 31-May-15 10:48:00

hazeyjane - maybe it's the wording of the student form, but it states cancer and HIV on their own.

And it does not mention asthma, epilepsy etc or anything like that.

If the cancer has left disability difficulties then I can understand applying, but why do they advise applying just for having cancer?

Maybe I am stupid - I'll accept that but that's why I am asking the question.

Is Cancer a disability or can cancer cause a disabilty?

I say the later not the former.

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Sun 31-May-15 10:49:39

This IMO is wholly inappropriate for an AIBU topic

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