Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease) is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a part of the immune system and protects the body from disease. Any type of cancer is simply the uncontrolled and rapid reproduction of cells. In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the lymphatic system grows abnormally, and the cancer may spread to other parts of the body. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is far less common than the other lymphatic system cancer: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Linking Agent Orange to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Veterans who have been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma may have many questions. The first may be, “how did I get this?” For Veterans who served in Vietnam and other areas where Agent Orange was utilized, the disease may be a result of their military service. Research has found a link between Agent Orange exposure and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Presumptive Service Connection for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
There are certain disabilities or diseases that are easier to gain service connection for because they have “presumptive service connection.” One disability that has presumptive service connection is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This means that if you are able to prove that you were in an area where Agent Orange was used and you have a current medical diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the VA presumes that they are connected. This means that you do not need to prove that Agent Orange caused your cancer. Instead, the VA assumes it did.
There is no clear cause that will lead to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are, however, events or materials that a person can come into contact with that will increase the chance of being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma later in life. Encountering dangerous chemicals, such as Agent Orange, can increase a person’s chances of contracting Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Chemicals found in Agent Orange have been shown to cause Hodgkin’s lymphoma later in life.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma begins when a lymphocyte, an infection fighting cell, mutates. This mutation allows the cell to reproduce other mutated cells as quickly as possible. Eventually, the lymphatic system becomes overcrowded with mutated cells that only want to reproduce and cannot perform their intended function. This is the beginning of cancer and a person in this stage will begin to show symptoms for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma may have several early signals, including:
- Lymph node swelling in neck, armpits, or groin (usually painless)
- Constant exhaustion
- Night sweats
- Sudden and unintentional weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Increased sensitivity to alcohol or pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits for those suffering from disabilities or diseases caused by their time in service. Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be included as a service-connected disease. Many Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may develop health problems later in life. Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be one of those problems.
If you have been exposed to harmful chemicals during your time in service, you are entitled to compensation from the VA.
If you or a loved one has been denied disability benefits for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, do not hesitate to call one of our talented VA attorneys today. Our team at Berry Law has proudly represented Veterans for decades and aim to provide the high-quality service our servicemembers deserve. Whether you need help filing an initial claim or would like to increase an existing claim, we can help you in your fight for disability compensation. Call today.