Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that affects plasma cells in the blood. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that secrete antibodies in response to antigens. White cells are responsible for attacking and removing any “intruders” in your body, such as other diseases.
Plasma cells, like all blood cells, form in the bone marrow. When cancerous plasma cells begin reproducing too quickly, they can crowd out the other blood cells that need to be formed in the bone marrow. This can lead to low blood counts which can have very serious side effects.
Some blood cells focus on making bones strong and healthy. Multiple myeloma can choke out these blood cells and your bones may begin to deteriorate over time.
Connecting Agent Orange to Multiple Myeloma
Most Veterans who have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma may wonder why they have it. If you are Veteran who served in Vietnam or were exposed to Agent Orange, it is very likely your military service caused the cancer.
The toxic chemicals in Agent Orange have been known to cause a variety of different illnesses to those exposed. The negative side effects of the chemical have been well-documented. One of the side effects of Agent Orange is multiple myeloma. If you have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and you were exposed to Agent Orange, you are entitled to disability benefits.
Proving Service Caused the Cancer
Proving that your military service and subsequent Agent Orange exposure led to multiple myeloma is fairly straightforward for Veterans. The VA presumes service connection for multiple myeloma in individuals exposed to Agent Orange. This means that you do not actually need to prove the disability was caused by service. Instead, the VA presumes it is.
To get service connected for the condition, Veterans only need to prove:
- They were exposed to Agent Orange in service
- They have a current medical diagnosis of multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma can strike anyone at any time, but that is not to say that some people are less at risk than others. Depending on your race, gender, age, family history, or medical history, you may be more likely to develop multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma occurs when your genes mutate and the cell reproduction process can no longer function as intended. One possible way this mutation may occur is exposure to harmful radiation or toxic chemicals, such as Agent Orange. Many Veterans are exposed to chemicals or radiation during their service. This exposure could lead to multiple myeloma or other cancers later in life.
There are some early signs and symptoms that can indicate whether a Veteran may have multiple myeloma. The following list includes some of the early symptoms of multiple myeloma:
- Bone problems
- Low blood counts
- High blood levels of calcium
- Nervous system symptoms
- Kidney problems
- Light chain amyloidosis symptoms
Getting Your Claim Service Connected
Military service includes a lot of dangerous work, including work dealing with radiation or harmful chemicals. If you have been exposed chemicals such as Agent Orange and later developed multiple myeloma or another illness, you may be entitled to compensation from the VA.
Reach Out Today
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and been denied disability benefits from the VA, call us today. Our team of skilled VA disability lawyers have years of experience appealing unfavorable VA decisions. Call (888) 883-2483 today for a free case evaluation.