Hello – I am Al Frowiss from AtomicWorkers.com. We are an independent Advocate and Representative for current and former Energy Employee workers and their families.
Today, I will discuss a few facts and myths about Cancer Claims under EEOICPA.
First, focusing on the basics, cancer claims can be filed under this program for any and all types of cancer. For a tumor or growth to be cancer, it has to be deemed malignant by your doctor. There are many confusing terms used by the medical community to describe tumors and growths, but fundamentally, a condition has to be confirmed as malignant to fall under a definition of cancer.
Second, cancer claims under EEOICPA are evaluated two different ways for possible approval. Under Part B of EEOICPA, the process considers whether exposure to ionizing radiation could have caused the cancer or cancers. Separately, under Part E, this process considers whether exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace could have caused the cancer/cancers. The evaluation processes are very different from Part B to Part E, but ultimately, if and when approved, both provide medical benefits for the ongoing care and treatment of any approved cancer condition.
Third, we often hear from workers that they did not file because “my cancer was not included in the list”. This is typically a reference to the set of 22 cancers which fall under Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) rules. Yes, there are certain cancers that are handled differently, under SEC guidelines, for work sites that have met specific criteria. However, that “list” does not preclude a worker for filing a claim for a cancer not on the list. Those workers should still pursue claims.
Last, there are misperceptions about cancer claims that I should speak to:
- Skin cancers do count in this process, and should be reported/claimed, regardless of if you are claiming other cancer conditions. A few skin cancers can make the difference in overall approval.
- Prostate cancer claims are perfectly valid, even though, in large part, such cancers are typically age related in older men. In some cases, perhaps more than we recognize, radiation exposure and/or chemical exposure can significantly contribute to this condition.
- Not all cancers are treated the same under EEOICPA; what is meant by this statement is that certain cancers have a higher relative likelihood to have been caused by radiation exposure than others. Lung cancer is typically the highest likelihood, all other factors being equal, and brain/pancreas/colon cancers have lower/lowest likelihood, all other factors being equal.
- Further, some cancers, like Melanoma, Lung cancer or forms of Leukemia, can just as likely have been caused by chemical exposure. Many cancers have no known association or cause from chemical exposure.
In our practice, we strive to set appropriate expectations for our clients. Cancer claims can be challenging and emotional. However, knowing the rules of the EEOICPA process and how Claims Examiners consider evidence, along with the experience of processing over 1,500 claims, gives us the confidence to “know” what to expect, how to prepare a claim and how long a claim will take to arrive at a decision.