Working with the VA and Service Connection for Cancer. After you have been diagnosed with any type of cancer you should expect that your exposure to Agent Orange is the cacogenic that caused your cancer. If your cancer happens to be on the list then dealing with the VA tends to be a time issue, and the quicker you file your claim then the quicker you are likely to receive become service connection for cancer. Even if it takes awhile for the final approval the back pay will soon follow.
For the thousands of other Viet Nam veterans whose cancer doesn’t fit “The List” it makes it more difficult to connect your cancer with service in Viet Nam and Agent Orange, but not impossible. The first thing you need to remember is that most of the people who make the decisions don’t know where the information to produce “The List” came from. All they know is that if it isn’t on the list then it isn’t Agent Orange induced cancer. This is totally WRONG. There are numerous cancers that aren’t on “The List” that are "more likely than not" caused by exposure to Agent Orange. The key is knowing where to look and citing your findings.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides. Veterans and Agent Orange: Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994. 8, Cancer. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236361/
This is the official citation for the production of “The List”. Clicking (or pasting the link in your browser) will take you to the chapter on Cancer (chapter 8). In this chapter you will find all different types of cancer and the studies that determine if the cancer was caused by Agent Orange. What you will find is that the cancers on “The List” are only those cancers that are without a doubt so far out of normal that the association to Agent Orange is undeniable. There is no way the VA can logically or statistically deny that these cancers are not caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
With that in mind, there are numerous other cancers, and diseases that are in the study that don’t meet the burden of proof to be incorporated onto “The List” but are actually caused by Agent Orange. For example Bone cancer is stated:
“On the whole, the studies regarding bone cancer are evenly distributed in both a positive and a negative direction. Nonetheless, because of its rarity, very few of the studies are of sufficient size to have much statistical power, and the confidence limits are typically large.”
This shows that bone cancer is “As likely as not to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange” which is the level of proof required by the VA for service connection. However, it doesn’t meet the level of proof to be placed on “The List”.
if you have questions call me or the NSO you are working with.
Chuck Leist 1-716-564-7114