Prostate Cancer Has Agent Orange Link

Article excerpt

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

As a vet of Vietnam (32 months), three tours and a disabled American veteran from there in 1973, I want to pass on that I had radical prostatectomy in 1994 at Walter Reed Hospital. I filed a claim under the new regulations that prostate cancer vets are eligible for disability compensation. The VA found it was caused by Agent Orange, but my residual effects, prostatectomy to include impotency due to adenocarcinoma of the prostate, remain at 0 percent. They did say I was entitled to a special monthly compensation based on the loss. This was after an appeal of a VA finding in 1997 and a hearing in October 1997.

So much for prostate cancer being an Agent Orange disease. There may be more cases like this.


Dear GVP:

After receiving your communication, I asked Bob Epley, director of compensation and pension service, VA central office, to sharedetailed information on prostatecancer, service connection and criteria for disability rating with my readers. Mr. Epley sent me the following information:

On or after Nov. 7, 1996, service connection can be granted for prostate cancer if there is: (1) verified service in the Republic of Vietnam during the period from Jan. 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, and (2) evidence that the individual has prostate cancer.

If those two pieces of evidence are presented, medical evidence showing the current level of disability is required for evaluation. This can be private medical information, if sufficient for evaluation, or a VA exam.

A veteran who did not serve in Vietnam during the specified period can establish service connection for prostate cancer if prostate cancer was diagnosed at any time during service or within one year following service. Regulation 38 CFR 3.309(a) provides direct service connection, or service connection based on standard presumptions.

A non-Vietnam veteran may also claim service connection for prostate cancer based on exposure to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, the occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki during a specified period or as a result of other claimed activities. Under 38 CFR 3.311, a claim based on radiation exposure requires an assessment of the amount of radiation exposure and a VHA opinion as to whether it is as likely as not that the amount of radiation exposure in that case caused prostate cancer.)

Regardless of the basis for service connection, evaluation for prostate cancer is based on rating schedule criteria in Regulation 38 CFR Part 4. A 100 percent evaluation is assigned during the period of treatment for the malignancy. Six months after surgical, X-ray, chemotherapy or other therapeutic treatment ends, a VA exam is required to assess residual disability for re-evaluation. Any reduction of the 100 percent requires the usual due process notice."

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I have a question regarding the eligibility date for the 50 percent retirement vs. the reduced rate of 40 percent. I enlisted in the Navy in April 1986. …