Tcdd Exposure And Cancer Risk
During the 1970s, veterans returning from Vietnam began to report rashes, cancer, psychological problems and birth defects in their children. Exposure to Agent Orange was suspected as the main contributing factor.
Although there is now a lot of evidence linking Agent Orange exposure to serious diseases, there are still many questions regarding its adverse health effects that have not been answered.
The link between Agent Orange exposure and skin cancer was first investigated in the 1980s. However, the Veterans Affairs organization, who provide benefits to veterans for health problems caused by TCDD, do not currently recognize skin cancer as being a condition related to Agent Orange.
Of this sample, 56% lived or worked in areas contaminated by Agent Orange, 30% were engaged in spraying Agent Orange and 14% were exposed to TCDD by traveling through contaminated areas.
Overall, 51% of the veterans in the study had non-melanoma invasive skin cancer . This is a statistically significant figure about twice as high as the average rate in men of a similar age. In the veterans who had actively sprayed Agent Orange, the risk of NMISC increased to 73%.
Another skin condition, chloracne, was observed in 43% of the veterans. The rate of NMISC among the veterans with chloracne was 80%. Veterans with lighter skin or eye color also had a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Veterans Are 17 Times More Likely To Develop Eye Cancer
When , a Vietnam veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange, lost an eye due to a rare and extremely dangerous form of eye cancer called Choroidal Melanoma, he and his wife, Beth, started doing some digging. What they found was shocking.
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the VA, they received documents which indicated that the occurrence rate of Choroidal Melanoma was 17 times higher in veterans than in non-veterans. To the Rutzs, this statistic was a clear sign that Agent Orange was the likely cause.
Skin Conditions Qualifying For Presumptive Service Connection
Two skin conditions, chloracne and porphyria cutanea tarda, may be related to exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Below is information about these conditions, including possible causes and benefits available from VA. These conditions do not appear years later. They appear within a year of toxic exposure.
Oral Nasal And Pharyngeal Cancers
Oral, nasal, and pharyngeal cancers are found in many anatomic sites: the structures of the mouth , oropharynx , nasopharynx , hypopharynx , other buccal cavity and pharynx , and nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses . Although the above cancers are classified together in the same category, the epidemiological risk factors for cancers that occur in the oral cavity and pharynx are very different from the risk factors for cancer of the nasopharynx. We now recognize that, in addition to cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, infection with human papilloma virus , particularly alpha HPV16, is an important risk factor for squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and risk estimates are highest for cancers of the base of the tongue, tonsils, and oropharynx .
Suggested Citation:Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014
aSurveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, nine standard registries, crude age-specific rates, 20082012 .
Reported risk factors for nasal cancer include occupational exposure to nickel and chromium compounds , wood dust , leather dust , and high doses of formaldehyde , as well as infection with EpsteinBarr virus.
Conclusions from VAO and Previous Updates
Suggested Citation:Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014Suggested Citation:Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014
Studies evaluated previously and in the present report are summarized in Table 8-2.
Benefits For Exposed Veterans
Vietnam veterans and those who served at certain other locations who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides may be eligible for 3 kinds of benefits.
Agent Orange Registry health exam: The Agent Orange Registry is a program administered by the VA since 1978. Veterans who qualify and participate in this program receive a free medical exam, lab tests, and specialty referrals if appropriate. Veterans do not need to enroll in the VA health care system to receive the registry exam.
Disability compensation: Disability compensation payments are available for veterans with certain service-related illnesses, including some types of cancer. The amount of the monthly payment is determined by the extent of disability.
The cancers considered by the US government as related to Agent Orange exposure correspond closely to the cancers found by the IOM to have sufficient or limited/suggestive evidence of an association:
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx , or trachea
- Soft tissue sarcoma
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia , hairy cell leukemia, and other chronic B-cell leukemias
Some conditions other than cancer are also considered related to Agent Orange exposure.
To learn more about whether you might be eligible for these benefits, call the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-749-8387 or visit their website at: .
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Other Things Veterans Can Do For Their Health
Be sure your doctor knows if you have a history of Agent Orange exposure. Because of the possibility of increased cancer risk, your doctor might advise you to get cancer screening tests and to promptly report any suspicious symptoms.
Of course, veterans are at risk for many types of cancer just like everyone else, even if they havent been exposed to Agent Orange. You can lower your risk of cancer by quitting smoking, staying at a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet .
If you are concerned about past exposure to Agent Orange, you may want to join a support group online or through your local VA hospital.
Health Risks For Veterans
Garzotto used data from the Veterans Affairs electronic medical records system. Of the 2,720 veterans who underwent a biopsy, prostate cancer was diagnosed in 32.9 percent of them and 16.9 percent had high grade, or lethal, prostate cancer. Agent Orange exposure was associated with a 52 percent greater overall risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Garzottos study is far from the only research linking Agent Orange to prostate cancer. Another study published in Cancer showed BJU International concluded that Agent Orange exposure may lead to more aggressive prostate cancer in some men.
There are a number of other health risks also associated with Agent Orange exposure, including congenital amputation, soft tissue sarcoma, Hodgkins disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
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What Evidence Will I Need To Submit With My Claim
You’ll need to submit these records:
- A medical record that shows you have an Agent Orangerelated illness, and
- Military records to show how you were exposed to Agent Orange during your service
If your illness isn’t on the list of presumptive diseases, youll also need to provide at least one of these types of evidence:
- Evidence that shows the problem started duringor got worse because ofyour military service, or
- Scientific or medical evidence stating that the illness you have is caused by Agent Orange. Scientific proof may include an article from a medical journal or a published research study.
The Judicial Divide Interpreting The Federal Rules Of Evidence
Courts divided over the nature and extent of the judicial scrutiny of proffered expert testimony warranted by the Federal Rules of Evidence. One liberal line of cases held that, under the new rules, expert opinion testimony was admissible if the expert was generally qualified in her field, if there was some factual basis for her opinion, and if the facts or data underlying the experts methodology met a threshold criterion of reliability. Another restrictive line of cases stood for the proposition that trial judges should more rigorously scrutinize the experts proffer and independently assess the quality and appropriateness of the data, methodology, and conclusions, to determine whether these are actually reliable.39
In his opinion in the Agent Orange litigation, Judge Jack B. Weinstein explained the divergent approaches that had developed as of the late 1980s in a slightly different way:
Courts have adopted two general approaches to Rule 703: one restrictive, one liberal. The more restrictive view requires the trial court to determine not only whether the data are of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field, but also whether the underlying data are untrustworthy for hearsay or other reasons. The more liberal view allows the expert to base an opinion on data of the type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field without separately determining the trustworthiness of the particular data involved.40
By Genevra Pittman, Reuters Health
5 Min Read
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Exposure To Agent Orange Linked To Prostate Cancer In Vietnam Veterans
- University of California Davis Health System
- Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange have greatly increased risks of prostate cancer and even greater risks of getting the most aggressive form of the disease as compared to those who were not exposed.
UC Davis Cancer Center physicians today released results of research showing that Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange have greatly increased risks of prostate cancer and even greater risks of getting the most aggressive form of the disease as compared to those who were not exposed.
The findings, which appear online now and will be published in the September 15 issue of the journal Cancer, are the first to link the herbicide with this form of cancer. The research is also the first to utilize a large population of men in their 60s and the prostate-specific antigen test to screen for the disease.
While others have linked Agent Orange to cancers such as soft-tissue sarcomas, Hodgkins disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, there is limited evidence so far associating it with prostate cancer, said Karim Chamie, lead author of the study and resident physician with the UC Davis Department of Urology and the VA Northern California Health Care System. Here we report on the largest study to date of Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange and the incidence of prostate cancer.
Veterans’ Diseases Associated With Agent Orange
VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran’s qualifying military service. We call these “presumptive diseases.”
VA added 3 more presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure.This expands benefits for Veterans and survivors with these presumptive conditions:
- Bladder cancer
If VA denied your claim for any of these conditions in the past, we’ll automatically review your case again. You don’t need to file another claim. VA will send you a letter to let you know we’re reviewing your case.
VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.
- A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
- A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
- Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
- A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues
American Veterans Still Not Covered
The Department of Veterans Affairs presumes that any of the 2.8 million U.S. veterans who had boots on the ground in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975 were exposed to dioxin-contaminated herbicides, including Agent Orange, which was developed by Monsanto and Dow.
It took two generations and a lot of heartache among the Vietnam veteran community, but the VAs presumptive list of diseases that are caused by exposure to Agent Orange now includes everything from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma to Parkinsons disease and ischemic heart disease.
But many veterans exposed to Agent Orange and their loved ones are still fighting for the disability coverage they believe they have earned.
The VA is denying disability benefits to most Vietnam veterans who are suffering or have already died from glioblastoma, a particularly deadly form of brain cancer that is not on the VAs presumptive list.
Its absurd that its had to go this far, said Kristi Anthony, a paralegal whose father, Danny Lee Howell, was exposed to Agent Orange while stationed during the war at Thu Duc, a military air base near Saigon.
Howell died of glioblastoma in February 2014.
Causal relationship between my dads brain cancer and service-related connection is clearly established, said Anthony, whos still fighting the VA on her own to receive the benefits her father sought for his family. Glioblastoma cannot be disassociated from my dads herbicide exposure in Vietnam.
Does Agent Orange Cause Multiple Myeloma
Bone marrow is crucial for making new blood cells. Multiple myeloma causes blood cells to accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the process of making new blood cells. Patients who develop multiple myeloma are usually diagnosed first with a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance . Patients who have MGUS tend to develop multiple myeloma, and this risk increases over time. More than 26,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year, and less than half are predicted to survive.
In its 2012 report, the Institute of Medicine stated that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that exposure to Agent Orange can cause multiple myeloma. In its 2012 report, the Institute of Medicine stated that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that exposure to Agent Orange can cause multiple myeloma. However, in 2016 the VA determined that Agent Orange and other herbicides are assumed to be connected to multiple myeloma, making veterans eligible for VA health care and disability compensation. This decision was supported by a study published in a cancer journal in 2015 indicating that veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange were 2.4 times more likely to develop MGUS than the veterans who were not exposed to it. The study was based on 958 veterans who served in the United States Air Force during Operation Ranch Hand.
All articles are reviewed and approved by Dr. Diana Zuckerman and other senior staff.
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How To File A Disability Claim For Agent Orange Exposure
All claims for VA disability benefits begin in the same way, whether Agent Orange-related or not. If you have a current injury or illness that is connected to your military service , you can submit an Application for Disability Compensation with the VA along with supporting documentation, such as medical records and other evidence supporting both your condition and the connection to your military service.
With respect to Agent Orange-related claims, you will need to provide evidence of both medical records showing the existence of an Agent Orange-related medical condition, and military records showing your exposure to Agent Orange.
In preparing your claim, keep in mind the presumptions discussed above. If your medical condition is not on the presumptively service-connected list, you will need to provide some scientific or medical evidence that connect your condition with Agent Orange. Similarly, if your time and location of service are not listed on the presumptive exposure list, you will need to provide additional records showing that you were indeed exposed to Agent Orange during your military service, albeit at a different time or place.
If the VA rejects your claim, or gives you a disability rating that you believe is too low, you have the right to appeal the case and may be an optimum time to talk with a VA disability claims attorney to evaluate your options.
How Does Va Calculate The Disability Rating For My Cancer
VA uses ratings tables published in the Code of Federal Regulations to rate medical conditions. The disability rating given by VA in the rating decision should depend on your particular type of cancer and the severity of it. Some examples of ratings tables for the different types of cancer are discussed below.
Chronic B-cell Leukemias
Leukemia is rated using diagnostic code 7703. Leukemia should be rated at 100% when it is in the active treatment phase.
|With active disease or during a treatment phase||100|
|Otherwise rate as anemia or aplastic anemia , whichever would result in the greater benefit.|
|Note: The 100 percent rating shall continue beyond the cessation of any surgical, radiation, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedures. Six months after discontinuance of such treatment, the appropriate disability rating shall be determined by mandatory VA examination. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of §3.105 of this chapter. If there has been no recurrence, rate on residuals.|
Six months after treatment is completed, there should be a mandatory VA examination and additional ratings should be based on residuals if there has been no recurrence.
Hodgkins disease is rated using diagnostic code 7709. Hodgkins disease should be rated at 100% when it is in the active treatment phase.
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How Has Agent Orange Affected Vietnamese People
Vietnam reports that some 400,000 people have suffered death or permanent injury from exposure to Agent Orange. Furthermore, it is estimated that 2,000,000 people have suffered from illnesses caused by exposure and that half a million babies were born with birth defects due to the effects of Agent Orange. It is believed that Agent Orange is still affecting the health of Vietnamese people. While U.S. veterans have been compensated for their exposure to the herbicide mix since they filed a lawsuit in 1979, Vietnamese peoples efforts to secure similar compensation in a 2004 lawsuit was rejected by a U.S. court. Monsanto, once a major manufacturer of Agent Orange, denies that the herbicide mix has long-lasting health impacts.
Among the Vietnamese, exposure to Agent Orange is considered to be the cause of an abnormally high incidence of miscarriages, skin diseases, cancers, birth defects, and congenital malformations dating from the 1970s.