Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that impacts the white blood cells, or lymphocytes. White blood cells are a part of your immune system, which helps fight off infections and diseases within your body. Lymphoma can start anywhere in your body where lymph tissue is. The most common areas for lymphoma to develop are:
- Lymph nodes
- Bone marrow
- Adenoids and tonsils
- Digestive tract
Connecting Lymphoma to Service
It is widely known that the water at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s contained toxic chemicals. These chemicals can lead to a variety of different medical issues down the road for Veterans. One of the presumptive conditions associated with Camp Lejeune’s water contamination is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
What is Presumptive Service Connection?
Presumptive service connection refers to the amount of evidence you need to provide the VA to connect your disability to time in service. Presumptive service connection means the VA presumes that certain illnesses were caused by military service.
For example, Veterans who have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and were stationed in Camp Lejeune during the specified time frame (approximately mid 1950s – mid 1980s) do not need to prove that their service caused the disability. Instead, the VA presumes it does.
Types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The lymph system, which is part of the immune system, is made up of small white blood cells called lymphocytes. There are two main types of lymphocytes:
- B lymphocytes (B cells): Protect the body against germs by producing antibodies. Antibodies attach themselves to germs and mark them for other parts of the immune system to find them and destroy the germs later
- T lymphocytes (T cells): Destroy germs directly. Sometimes they can also destroy disfigured cells and possibly cancerous cells.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can also be categorized based on how quickly it spreads throughout the body.
Indolent lymphomas are slow-growing and do not necessarily need to be treated immediately. However, it is important to keep a close eye on indolent lymphomas and make sure they do not get out of hand too quickly.
Aggressive lymphomas, on the other hand, grow rapidly and spread uncontrollably. For aggressive lymphomas, it is imperative to seek treatment as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
According to Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in groin, neck, or armpit areas
- Abdominal swelling/pain
- Chest pain or trouble breathing
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
Service-Connected Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can stem from your time in service. Certain activities and events in your life can increase your chances of contracting any form of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Exposure to harmful chemicals at Camp Lejeune is a primary cause of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among Veterans.
The idea behind service-connected disabilities is that if you had never served, you never would have been exposed to these harmful chemicals; if you had never been exposed to these harmful chemicals, you never would have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Therefore, you can trace the blame and cause back to your service and the military.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can give out sizable compensation that helps pay for the treatment and care needed for diseases such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although service-connected disabilities can sometimes come from bullet wounds or other combat situations, a variety of other circumstances and conditions that arose while you were in service could be causing your disabilities.
Call Us Today
If you have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and believe it should be service-connected, do not hesitate; call us today. Berry Law consists of talented VA attorneys, many of whom are Veterans themselves. If you need assistance appealing your claim, call our talented team of lawyers to discuss your options. Call us today at (888) 883-2483.