Chronic B-cell Leukemia and Agent Orange

Agent orange has been widely condemned for the common disabilities and illnesses linked to exposure. Veterans who served in Vietnam or within 12 nautical miles off the coast, in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or at Thailand Military Bases may have been exposed to the dangerous herbicide. One illness, Chronic B-cell leukemia, is a form of cancer that is frequently associated with Agent Orange exposure. In fact, the illness is so common among Veterans exposed to agent orange that it warrants presumptive service connection.

Presumptive Service Connection for Chronic B-cell Leukemia

Many chronic diseases are so commonplace among Veterans that they are presumed to be connected to a Veterans time in service, meaning that any Veteran who displays symptoms related to the disease is automatically granted service connection. However, other stipulations may also be in place. For example, a Veteran must have served in a specified location during a specific timeframe to receive presumptive service connection for their disease.

What is Chronic B-cell Leukemia?

B-cell leukemia is a form of cancer that starts in the blood forming cells of the bone marrow before becoming a specific type of white blood cell (B-cell) that affects the body’s immune system. These cells divide and reproduce faster than other cells. They also do not mature correctly, meaning they do not die when a normal cell would. Because of this, these cells can overwhelm the body and prevent other cells from functioning correctly. The symptoms often associated with chronic B-cell leukemia include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Frequent infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Feeling full despite eating
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Discomfort in the upper left abdomen due to an increase in spleen size
  • Malaise

Diagnosis can be as simple as a blood test which may reveal too many white blood cells, not enough red blood cells, or not enough platelets (cells that clot and allow us to stop bleeding when hurt).  A bone marrow test and a spinal fluid test can be used to diagnose the condition as well. If you feel you are displaying one of the symptoms above, it is important that you meet with a doctor as early as possible. You can win the war on leukemia, and it is important to consult a medical professional immediately.

Treating Chronic B-cell Leukemia

Treatment consists of killing most of the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow in an attempt to restore normal blood cell production.  Post-remission therapy destroys any remaining leukemia in the body, such as in the brain or spinal cord. This is followed by preventing leukemia cells from re-growing and may involve much lower doses over a long period of time. Chemotherapy drugs are often injected directly into the fluid that covers the spinal cord to protect your central nervous system.

Agent Orange Disability Lawyers

If you have been denied disability benefits for chronic B-cell leukemia or any other disease related to Agent Orange exposure, Berry Law Firm can help. Our team has helped thousands of Veterans in their fight for disability compensation. As a Veteran owned and operated company, we understand the importance of helping our nation’s Veterans. Contact us today to see if we can help you appeal your rating decision and fight for the disability compensation you earned.

To learn more about chronic B-cell leukemia, click here.