Chronic B-Cell leukemia is a cancer that affects the blood, specifically white blood cells. There are two main types of blood cells: red and white. Red blood cells carry oxygen and other nutrients to other parts of the body. White blood cells are a part of the immune system and help fight off disease and infection. All blood is formed in bone marrow, the soft, tissue-like substance inside the bones.
Chronic B-Cell Leukemia, which is also known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, affects a specific type of white blood cells called lymphocytes, or B-Cells. These cells help your body fight infection.
Cancer of any kind is the uncontrolled reproduction of new cells. Chronic B-Cell leukemia occurs when your body begins producing too many B-Cells. These B-Cells are often ineffective and get in the way of other essential blood cells and prevents them from performing their proper functions.
Connecting Chronic B-Cell Leukemia and Agent Orange
Chronic B-Cell leukemia can be connected to service in a variety of ways, but one of the most common is Agent Orange exposure. If you are a Veteran who was exposed to toxic chemicals present in Agent Orange, you are at a higher risk of developing chronic B-Cell leukemia.
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are at such a high risk of developing chronic B-Cell leukemia that the VA offers presumptive service connection for this. This means that if you can prove you were exposed to Agent Orange in service and have a current diagnosis for chronic B-Cell leukemia, the VA will automatically grant service connection for your condition. You don’t need to prove that Agent Orange caused your disability because the VA presumes it did.
Many people who develop chronic B-cell leukemia may not develop any symptoms at all. However, there are a few cases where some symptoms may be indicators that you should see a doctor. These symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Pain in the upper abdomen, caused by an enlarged spleen
- Enlarged lymph nodes (often painless)
Causes and Risk Factors
Doctors are uncertain of the exact causes of chronic B-cell leukemia, it can happen to anyone. Some risk factors are age (older people are more likely to contract chronic B-cell leukemia) and exposure to certain elements.
Exposure to some types of chemicals can dramatically increase the chances that a person will be diagnosed with chronic B-cell leukemia later in life. Some of these chemicals are also found in pesticides and herbicides, including those used to produce Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
If you were exposed to harmful chemicals due to Agent Orange exposure and developed chronic B-cell leukemia later in life, you are entitled to benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In many cases, the VA can assume that because you served with dangerous chemicals, you developed chronic B-cell leukemia later in life and therefore deserve compensation for your condition. The logic is that if you had never served, you never would have worked with those dangerous chemicals. Therefore, the military is responsible for your compensation.
Call a VA Lawyer Today
If you believe you worked with or were exposed to harmful chemicals due to Agent Orange and developed chronic B-cell leukemia later in life, you are entitled to compensation from the VA. Our team at Berry Law has been working with Veterans for years; many on our staff are Veterans themselves. We can help you appeal a VA denial and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Call a lawyer today to see how we can help you with your claim.