Veterans who served in Vietnam and other areas where they may have been exposed to Agent Orange likely understand the long list of illnesses that Agent Orange can lead to. The negative side effects of the herbicide are well-documented, and the VA lists out many illnesses it presumes to be connected to Agent Orange exposure. One of those illnesses is non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
To receive disability compensation for the injury, a Veteran needs to apply for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If you were denied disability benefits for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to Agent Orange exposure, Berry Law can help. Call our skilled Veterans disability lawyers today to schedule a free case evaluation.
What is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is defined by Mayo Clinic as a cancer that originates in your lymphatic system when tumors develop from lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The lymphatic system is important as it is the disease fighting network spread throughout your body.
Although non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is somewhat well-known, most individuals don’t realize there are actually 5 different subtypes of the cancer:
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma
- Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia
Because non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to Agent Orange exposure attacks your lymphatic system, most of the symptoms are related to a failure of your lymphatic system. Some commons signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight loss
- Night Sweats
- Chest pain or trouble breathing
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin
How Does Agent Orange Cause non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma?
As mentioned before, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs when a lymphocyte becomes cancerous. Normally, lymphocytes go through a predictable life cycle where they grow, divide, and die. However, any type of cancer occurs when a cell does not contain the control mechanism used to kill of cancerous cells.
Therefore, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs when a cancerous lymphoma cell continues to grow and divide, creating more cancerous cells and crowding out the healthy cells. This makes your lymphatic system ineffective.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be caused by numerous things, such as a weakened immune system, infection, age, and exposure to chemicals used to kill insects and weeds—similar to the chemicals used in Agent Orange. This connection links Agent Orange exposure to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Getting Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Service Connected to Agent Orange
Typically, Veterans need to prove three things to get a disability service connected: A current diagnosis, an event in service that led to the disability, and a nexus linking the event to the disability. However, Veterans looking to get non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from Agent Orange exposure service connected need to prove only 2 things:
- They have a current medical diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- They were exposed to Agent Orange in service
Veterans need to prove less in these cases because the illness is a presumptive condition. This means the VA presumes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is due to Agent Orange exposure in Veterans who served in areas where Agent Orange was used.
Contact a VA Disability Lawyer
The Veterans disability attorneys at Berry Law Firm are committed to providing fellow Veterans the legal firepower they need to get their disabilities service connected. Our attorneys have helped tens of thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unsatisfactory VA disability ratings.
If your claim for disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure was denied, we can help. Contact Berry Law today to schedule a free case evaluation and take the next step in getting the VA disability compensation you’re entitled to.