Vietnam Veterans who are suffering from bladder cancer due to Agent Orange exposure have been fighting a long time to get the disability benefits they need and deserve. However, a bill passed this year by Congress adds bladder cancer (along with hyperthyroidism and Parkinson’s) to the Agent Orange presumptive list, making it easier for Veterans to receive disability compensation for the condition.
While Congress added bladder cancer to the VA presumptive condition list in 2021, the VA will still need to implement these changes through regulations for Veterans to begin receiving presumptive service connection for the condition.
If you were exposed to Agent Orange in service and are currently suffering from bladder cancer, you are entitled to disability benefits from the VA. If you need help receiving disability benefits for the condition, contact Berry Law.
What is Bladder Cancer?
According to Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit health research center, bladder cancer is a common type of cancer among Vietnam Veterans that begins in your bladder, which is a muscular organ used to store urine in the lower abdomen.
Like all cancers, bladder cancer begins when an oncogene (a cell that has the potential to cause cancer) transforms into a tumor cell. It typically begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of your bladder.
Bladder cancers are often diagnosed at an early stage, making treatment more effective. However, even if your cancer is treated successfully, it may come back. Typically, Veterans or anyone with bladder cancer need follow-up tests years after treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is typically accompanied by a variety of symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Bladder cancer symptoms include:
- Hematuria (Blood in your urine)
- Frequent urination
- Pain while urinating
- Lower back pain
Bladder Cancer and Agent Orange Exposure – The Connection
Agent Orange was a chemical defoliant used throughout Vietnam and other areas during the Vietnam War by the United States to clear vegetation for military operations. The negative side effects of the herbicide are widely known, but researchers are still learning more about how the chemical can lead to medical conditions.
Due to recent research, Congress has added bladder cancer to the Agent Orange presumptive condition list (along with other conditions). This means that the VA will now recognize that your bladder cancer was caused by Agent Orange exposure.
What is Presumptive Service Connection?
As we mentioned above, bladder cancer is now considered a presumptive condition for Agent Orange exposure. But what does that mean? Basically, the VA understands that Agent Orange can cause serious health conditions if a Veteran was exposed to the herbicide. So, conditions on the presumptive list are presumed to be caused by military service if a Veteran can prove they were exposed to Agent Orange.
In layman’s terms, the recent update means Veterans do not need to provide the VA with a nexus proving the condition (bladder cancer) was caused by military service. Instead, if a Veteran can prove they were exposed to Agent Orange and they have a current bladder cancer diagnosis, the VA will presume it was caused by military service and provide the Veteran with disability benefits for the condition.
Helping Veterans Receive VA Benefits for Bladder Cancer
Veterans who are suffering from the symptoms of bladder cancer have been fighting for disability benefits for the condition for a long time. A recent bill passed by Congress will make this easier. The bill adds three conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive list, including bladder cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer and you need assistance getting the condition service connected, Berry Law can help. Berry Law has helped tens of thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unfavorable VA decisions. Contact Berry Law today to schedule a free case evaluation.