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Armstrong's cancer foundation will likely survive drug scandal

In the wake of the scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong's confession to using performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins -- including human growth hormone, erythropoietin, and blood transfusions -- some New Jersey readers may fear that Armstrong's charitable organization might also suffer a backlash.

Called Livestrong, the organization was founded by Armstrong to promote testicular cancer research and education. Fortunately, a 2011 tax return indicates that the organization has a healthy reserve: more than $109 million in assets.

Unlike prostate cancer, testicular cancer primarily affects younger men. In fact, testicular tumors are the most common solid malignant tumor in men between the ages of 20 and 35 years in United States. An average of 9,000 new cases diagnosed every year in the United States. The most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. A dull ache may also be present. It is recommended that all men perform routine personal checks.

Fortunately, recent advances in treatment, including high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell rescue, have considerably improved the prognosis. Testicular cancers are very sensitive to chemotherapy and are often curable even when metastatic. Cure rates can be as high as 90-95% with early diagnosis. Surgical removal is also effective, if needed, which should not affect fertility or sexual ability as the other testicle increases sperm production.

With its high treatment success rate, testicular cancer often does not pose a long-term interruption to work. For that reason, it may not qualify as a disability for Social Security disability insurance benefits. When the illness is expected to last longer than 12 months, however, assistance may be available. An experienced disability benefits attorney can explain the requirements and help workers with their applications.

Source: nj.com, "Livestrong's vast reserve perhaps foreshadowed Armstrong backpedal," Craig Wolff, Jan. 20, 2013 

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