Cancer and its Residuals

More than 40,000 cancer cases are reported among veterans each year. Veterans with cancer account for around 3% of all cases of cancer in the United States.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all kinds of cancer, the body’s cells have begun to divide without stopping and spread into the surrounding tissue. Cancer can start almost anywhere in the body. When cancer develops, the body’s normal cell division process breaks down and new cells form where they are not needed and may form growths called tumors.

Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into and invade nearby tissues. These cells can break off and travel to other places in the body through blood or the lymph system and form new tumors. However, not all cancer causes tumors, many cancers such as cancer of the blood do not form solid tumors.

VA Service-Connection for Cancer

To receive VA disability benefits for cancer, a service connection must be established. For direct service connection, it needs to be proven that a veteran is currently diagnosed with cancer and that it is at least as likely as not the result of their military service.

There are some situations where cancer is a presumptive condition. For veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements, the VA will presume that their cancer is connected to their military service.

Cancers Related to Agent Orange Exposure

Veterans who served (1) boots on the ground in Vietnam; (2) in Vietnam’s inland waterways, or (3) in Vietnam’s territorial seas (Blue Water Navy veterans) between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, are eligible to receive VA disability for the following cancers on a presumptive basis:

  • Chronic B-Cell Leukemia
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Respiratory Cancer
  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)

 

Cancers Related to Ionizing Radiation

For veterans who partook in a radiation-risk activity during service the VA presumes that certain forms of cancer are related to their exposure, including:

  • Bile ducts
  • Bone
  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Esophagus
  • Gall Bladder
  • Liver (but not if cirrhosis or hepatitis B indicated)
  • Pancreas
  • Pharynx
  • Ovary
  • Salivary Gland
  • Small Intestine
  • Stomach
  • Thyroid
  • Urinary Tract (kidney/renal, urinary bladder, and urethra)

 

Leukemia (not including chronic lymphocytic leukemia), lymphomas (except Hodgkin’s disease), and multiple myeloma are also included in VA’s list of presumptive conditions associated with ionizing radiation exposure.

VA Disability Ratings for Cancer and Residual Effects

If service-connected for active cancer the VA should automatically assign a 100% disability rating. This rating continues as long as the cancer is active and then for another 6 months following the successful completion of a treatment program.

Six months after treatment ends the VA will schedule a Compensation & Pension examination to evaluate the current status of the cancer. If the cancer is no longer active and is in remission then the VA will evaluate cancer based on the residuals.

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from ___________, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.

More Articles

Federal Court Addresses PTSD Stressors

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirms that VA must apply a generous standard when evaluating the lay testimony of veterans suffering from PTSD concerning their combat experiences and PTSD stressors. Sanchez-Navarro v....

Permanent and Total VA Disability Ratings for PTSD

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the...

Depression And Your VA Claim

Depression can negatively affect every aspect of your life: how you feel, think, sleep, function, and interact with others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, about 14% of veterans suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common...

Four Tips On How To Get The Highest PTSD Rating

If you have been fortunate enough to have been granted service connection for PTSD, then you have probably been given a disappointingly low rating.  This is a very common situation so you are not alone. The VA regularly underrates PTSD claims.  In the...

FREE CASE EVALUATION 

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.