AO & CANCER

October is Agent Orange Awareness Month

Poster image from Vietnam Veterans of America: October is Agent Orange Awareness Month

Quick Agent Orange (AO) Links  

Vietnam Veterans of America, Agent Orange self- help Guide (LINK to PDF) published in 2015. Download to save.

VVA Facebook/AO (LINK)

VA Agent Orange Claims Training handout (LINK to PDF)–DC Codes and ratings guidance.  Download to save.

VA Public Health AO webpage (LINK)

VA Agent Orange Claim website (LINK)

VA AO Health Exam Registry (LINK)

Birth Defects.org Veterans exposed to toxins (LINK)

Great link from the American Cancer Society.  AO and it’s resultant consequences decades later.

Article regarding AO and A White (Tordon 101) :  AGENT WHITE & Orange

Heart-breaking images, especially of Vietnamese children and adults with severe exposures, go to Google image search and use keywords: Agent Orange Birth Defects, Agent Orange Victims.  

Attached here is an affidavit of exposure for Veterans who were stationed at Udorn RTAFB. Exposure there was a given. They hand- sprayed right up against our barracks every month.

Letter of support for AO-AB

And new Fall 2016 medical links from Pub Med on the link between Hypertension and AO:

herbicide-exp-and-hypertension-j-occ-envin-med-11-2016-12-pgsherbicide_exposure_vietnam_service_and-10

And here’s the original article with cites for the link :

herbicide_exposure_vietnam_service_and-10

Great article from Chisholm, Chisholm and Kirkpartick law firm on AO in Thailand/Johnson Isl./Guam Isl./ Korea and other locales outside of Vietnam.

https://cck-law.com/veterans-law/agent-orange-and-herbicides-in-thailand-during-the-vietnam-war/

11 Responses to AO & CANCER

  1. shaina sells says:

    Useful discussion . I was enlightened by the information . Does someone know if my assistant might grab a sample VA 10-10CG copy to complete ?

  2. Cheryl Hill says:

    Greetings, Asknod:

    I’m Cheryl-Vetwife. I’m my husband advocate because he doesn’t push as hard as I do on his behalf. My husband is a Vietnam Agent Orange Exposed, Purple Heart Veteran, US Marines Corps.

    For years my husband suffered from PTSD; but, we didn’t understand what was wrong with him. We had some turbulent days over the years. He drank a lot of alcohol as well. VA did not do a very good job to follow-up with Vietnam Vets to educate them about their symptoms related to their war experiences. My husband went to the VA in the mid 1990’s to talk to them about his symptoms. However, when they told him that they were going create a semblance of a war environment for him to go through so as to evaluate him. He told VA, “NO Thank You. No can do!”

    So, he became shy of the VA. Then, about 2008, he filled out a VA Claim for PTSD as well as anxiety and depression, I wrote a letter explaining my observations and experiences of living with a individual who is suffering from PTSD. Then, in 2011, his alcohol dependency had become so out-of-control with amount he was consuming on a daily basis, loss of appetite, and lost of weight. My father who was a career military man and a disabled veteran told my husband that he needed to go ASAP to the VA Medical Center. So, at the point we were scheduled for an appointment, on that same day, they hospitalized him, immediately! They dried him out for the alcohol. During the initial doctor’s visit and while in the hospital all kinds of tests were run. He was screened for AO due to the fact he was in combat. He mentioned to the medical technician during the AO screening upon answering a series of question, that he had numbing tingling pains in both his hands and feet to which the tech responded, “That’s an indication of neuropathy but, that would be from your heavy drinking of alcohol and not from Agent Orange”. That’s what the medical technician conducting the AO screening stated to my husband. That statement as stated by the tech during the AO screening has been a catch all phrase that VA has used to deny compensation for neuropathy.

    Among the many tests run on my husband, It was discovered that he had rectal cancer–between stage 2 and 3. He began a plan of chemo by mouth, followed by radiation, and surgery (Laparoscopy-My spelling may be incorrect; so forgive me. ) was the final stage accorded the plan. We were told that it was a possibility that my husband could lose his sphincter; but, yet, they thought he had an equal possibility of not losing his sphincter. However, if the cancer had reached a point of having gone at a lower point below his sphincter, then, it could not be saved. Then, he would have to wear a colonoscopy bag.

    Well, the surgery in January 2012 did not go as planned. There was so much scar tissue build up from the radiation, once the VA doctors got in, they couldn’t see where to direct the laparoscopic needle. The need pricked his colon. He lost lots of blood. They had to give him two bags of blood. I don’t know whether that’s pints or quarts. He was in surgery from about 9 a.m to about 10 pm. I was getting so very anxious I finally stood by the door that they had taken him into. Finally a doctor came out and I began peppering him with questions. He told that he had been assisting with the surgery and they had to change course from the original plan. They had to change from the laparoscopic type surgery to the traditional type surgery. Then he filled me in on the other details about the fact my husband lost a lot of blood and how they pricked his colon (slightly so they said); and that he indeed would have to wear a colonoscopy bag.

    I was stunned. I tried to calm myself to make myself believe that was just part of the risks. And the most important thing was my husband was alive. When my husband woke up well enough to make sense of things, I told him. We both convinced ourselves that we had already been told that he may have to wear a colonoscopy bag.

    Lo and behold, when we went for the post operative consult we discover that the radiation had gotten all my husband’s cancer. We were upset! If the radiation got the cancer, why proceed with the surgery? We were pissed! Pardon my language. I think the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. My husband stated that he would have liked to have been given the opportunity to say yeah or nay, had he known prior to the surgery that the radiation had already gotten the cancer. They tried to tell him that it was that the spincter was taken because otherwise, the chances of the cancer coming back is far greater! If that’s the case, why did they ever mentioned desiring to save his sphincter?

    My husband has been denied AO Service Connection for rectal cancer; not the right type cancer related to Agent Orange. We appealed. I wrote a letter stating why what occurred with my husband’s surgery was 1151. My husband highest rating was 40%: (30% PTSD 10% Titinius 10%-secondary to hearing loss; Scar from Shrapnel on his knee 10% (wounded; earned his Purple Heart). 0% Hypertension (Secondary to PTSD); 0% Hearing loss-wears hearing aid on both ears.

    On a new claim submitted in early summer, my husband has now been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and Diabetes 2. During this holiday period, we noted on e-benefits that he had been rated 100% for Prostate Cancer and 10% Diabetes 2; 0% for Erectile dysfunction. Neuropathy in both hands and feet denied as not being service connected.
    Depression not service connected;arthrites/ aches/pains not service connected; headaches not service connected.

    We Appealed for denial on the rectal cancer as service connected caused by AO exposure. Also challenging the low rating of PTSD at 30%; hypertension at 0% and hearing loss a 0%.

    Our appeal went through a NOD in 9/13. We eventually filed a 9; then we had a BVA via video on 12/14; was remanded to Jamesville in May 2015; my husband did have to go for a C&P; the appeal was sent back to the board from the RO as of late December 2015. Still no word on appeal at this date. My husband is 73; his birthday is in July. They are probably trying to delay for the reason as we all know why.

    I wrote a letter and named it 1151 notification in December 2014 prior to having an independent agent. VA stated in this summer (2015) that I needed to submit on a form. I still need to follow up to submit again on the 1151 form. Yet, our Agent ( independent) wants to get all claims, increases, appeals, etc. resolved prior to pursuing 1151 full throttle.

    I listened to you on Hadit Podcast. I enjoy the Hadit Podcast. Everyone is easy going. But, yet, knowledgeable. I posted on the forum and received encouraging feedback from Berta.

    Thanks,
    Cheryl-Vetwife

    • asknod says:

      Cheryl, I hear from so many of you Vet wives and each one breaks my heart. As usual, you got sold down the river on your claims/ratings. It’s a given every Vietnam Vet who was in combat and has a minimum of a PH gets 50% right out of the box for Bent Brain. The peripheral neuropathy is directly related to the DM2 and on and on.

      VA will never pay what’s owed the first time out-ever. This is why it took me 22 years to get here and and I’m not even”here” yet. I’m still fighting too.

      First, don’t waste your time on hearing ratings. If you get 10% for tinnitus, so be it. It won’t kill you unless you spend a lifetime trying to win a compensable rating. As for the rectal cancer, the only way you could win that would be to have a doctor write and IMO and cite to peer-reviewed articles that link the cancer to AO. There are a number of cancers VA will grant for but that isn’t one. The 1151 claim has more possibilities.
      What you are hoping to build here is a compendium of 100% ratings- not nit noy crap like 10s and 20s. Get your DM2 up to 40 via a letter from the doctor regulating activities ans showing insulin use if you can. File for the PN in the extremities as secondary to the DM2 . If and when you get 100% + 60% additional, you’ll get $3,415. 65 for the two of you. If you snag another 100% for PTSD or the 1151, this will put you in the catbird seat down the line when he goes into a wheelchair. It automatically bumps him from SMC L to M. That’s a bump from $3,779 to $4,153 and worth setting up ahead of time. I feel for your predicament on the rectal cancer. I went through Crohn’s and lost about 95 cm of the small bowel over five surgeries. The low point was the ileostomy bag for a year. I’m back together (just barely) and know the Crohn’s was from the AO. VA will probably come to that conclusion after the last Vietnam Vet punches out. We have everything you need here to win with. I’m glad to hear you have an independent agent working it. They are the best.

      • Cheryl Hill says:

        Well, Asknod, thanks for a great timely response! Insightful and witty to get the point across to be fully understood as always. Thanks also for your heartfelt concern.
        On the date of January 23, 2016, my husband finally received his Big Brown Confirmation Envelope. We called, faxed, and wrote requesting it be sent since it was well overdue to being sent because it showed new rating of 100% as of November 20, 2015. The Prostate Cancer was 100% on its own with an additional 10% for Diabetes 2 a 0% for erectile dysfunction. Additionally, my husband already has a 10% on his Purple Heart shrapnel scar which swells and aches accorded to rain and other weather changes/ had given reason to wear a knee brace periodically over the years–prior to ever going to the VA. However skeletal arthritis denied; and an increase on his hypertension presently at 0% was denied; one of the criterion for increase in being on continued medication……well, my husband is on continued medication. Depression was denied because VA says depression is part of PTSD. Well, it is also secondary aggravation triggered by cancer and, definitely, by my husband frustration of wearing the colonoscopy bag; surgery gone badly.

        Prior to the Presumptive of Prostate Cancer and Diabetes 2; my husband was 43% interpreted as 40%.
        It was stated that my husband’s claim on Prostate Cancer and Diabetes was not processed under the Fully Developed Claim (FDC) Program because of my husband’s pending appeal on rectal cancer being denied as Agent Orange service connection since 2012 and the residual effects of wearing of a colostomy bag as secondary conjunctive with an1151.
        Also within the appeal is the claim for an increase on his PTSD presently at 30%; and an increase of hearing loss presently at 0%; he wears hearing aids on both ears; he already has 10% on Titinius which is actually secondary to hearing loss and yet his hearing loss is rated at 0% ( How can a secondary be more than the primary ?).

        When I posted on Hadit, Berta responded on the 1151/AO Forum the following:

        “Perhaps the prostate cancer diagnosis was not timely and caused the prostate cancer to metastasize into the colon, in your husband’s case. I googled this theory to find that it is medically possible. This is one of other links on that.”~Berta

        http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-after-second-cancers

        If this is, in fact, the Remand your husband got, apparently BVA picked up on that possibility too.”
        http://www.va.gov/vetapp13/Files5/1342655.txt

        Recent happenings: My husband had a Turp Procedure with an overnight stay that tuned into 4 days due to have to return to the ER twice (1st time-unable to void; 2nd time, blood dripping from private part before being readmitted to be released on this past Sunday. I stayed with him. My husband always request that I stay with him; I sleep I sleep in the chair bed. Agent requested increase for his Prostate Cancer; also, requested C-File
        Still no word on Remanded Appeal. (Our Agent seems to think we will hear something by my husband’s birthday, July. Husband’s right hand is wakened and snarled; using use of it,
        In the aftermath/result of losing so much blood; needed transfusion
        during his rectal cancer operation, he is anemic has to take B1 vitamin

        Oh by the way, my husband was hospitalized this summer with Legionnaires Disease.
        We have no idea where he picked this up from……..there was another Veteran admitted a few hours before my husband with the same illness.

        This particular Vet had cancer and was in cancer treatment/radiation.

        Only reason that we have surmised for my husband’s coming down with Legionnaires is that my husband’s immune

        resistance is compromised and he is more pro to having respiratory infections.
        He also has an unsteady gait of imbalance due to his neuropathy in both feet; uses a walker as needed.

        Thanks again,
        Cheryl-Vetwife
        I tried to register so my actually name not be displayed but,some quirk occurred.

        • asknod says:

          The trick you have to learn now is finding a good nexus doctor to write an IMO for your neuropathy being secondary to your DM2. DM2 should be at 40% if he does insulin daily and has regulated activities. The idea is to get the extra SMC S money they always forget to tell you about. I don’t sneeze at $347 extra a month.

          • Cheryl Hill says:

            At this juncture, my husband’s DM2 is being controlled by diet and exercise. You are indeed correct, every compensation amount is not to be sneezed at.

      • SPrice says:

        Alex, isn’t hypertension covered under AO exposure?

    • SPrice says:

      I agree with Berta about the cancer. It’s most likely a metastasis. So if they rated the prostate cancer at 100% and the rectal cancer happens to be the same TYPE of cancer, then the rectal cancer should also be covered.

      They botched the surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is done with a long instrument that has a light at the end. It doesn’t have a needle. Then another long instrument is inserted to do the cutting. Here’s a picture…
      http://www.colorectalsurgeons.com.au/mis.html

      If the tumor is too close to the rectum, after they remove it there may not be enough skin to sew the rectum and colon together. In that case they’ll have to attach the colon to the abdominal wall and you end up with a colostomy bag.

      Removing a rectal tumor is tricky because the rectum is closely surrounded by the other pelvic organs and the pelvic side walls and male patients have a narrower pelvis than females so visibility is a challenge. Therefore, having advanced laparoscopic skills and familiarity with rectal cancer resection are the biggest factors in determining surgery success.

      If the visibility was so poor that it became dangerous to use the instrument then they should have made the decision to do open surgery. Instead they punctured his colon and he hemorrhaged.

      About his hand being “weakened and snarled” because of blood loss, that doesn’t sound right. Why is it only one hand? Did he have a stroke? Large blood loss can cause heart attacks and strokes.

      • Cheryl Hill says:

        About my husband’s hand being “weakened and snarled”; he, now, has loss of use of that weakened snarled hand, his right hand. Good thing, he’s left handed. He uses his left hand solely at this point. My husband has been diagnosed with Monomelic Amyotrophy almost a year ago.; it is a Motor neuron (MND) disease that is the umbrella covering all type Motor neuron diseases and variants. To which ALS/ Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and variants falling under the same umbrella as being classified as Motor Neuron Disease (MND). As exhibited in cases of muscle loss: Monomelic Atrophy..ALS causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that leads to muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, and spontaneous muscle activity. The VA Doctors pondered whether my husband had ALS or MS. Yet, the Neuromuscular Head Physician conceded that my husband’s illnesses was an ALS variant because his illness fell under the umbrella of Motor Neuron Diseases as did ALS……is a Motor Neuron disease. ???? We don’t know how VA will decide upon being pursued. The Va doctor says, it’s often a tricky call to get an ALS diagnosis if not precisely diagnosed as ALS; even though a condition is a related variant. Since we’re still in appeal status regarding the presumptiveness of the rectum cancer/Colorectal cancer; 0% hearing loss for someone who wears a hearing aid; 0% for hypertension; complete denial of neuropathy due to the fact of my husband’s history of drinking; VA claims his neuropathy is alcohol related. To that effect, we are not desiring to rock the boat until the appeal is completed. Even though, we submitted an1151 claim regarding the botched surgery. VA has not addressed that issue or given credence to it. My husband has been anemic every since he lost all that blood in January 2012 when the botched surgery occurred. My husband takes a vitamin supplement for anemia prescribed by VA.

        Other complicating issues: regarding my husband’s Motor neuron (MND) disease
        Monomelic Amyotrophy:
        *Spinal issue (S Curve of spine)
        *Multi focal motor neuropathy associate with Diabetes 2 is a part of the mix/entwined as well.

        However, most severely is the inability of identifying the exact reason for the monomelic atrophy.
        Although it was hoped a more exact finding will be determined when all results of updated blood tests were in.
        On May 2017: *Blood test are in; determination that no immune diseases are present
        Possible treatment of an intravenous treatment once every three months or medications with steroids would be beneficial. No effective treatment available.

        MMA
        Diagnosis.
        Inflammatory Arthritis is Part of the neuropathy (Special kind of neuropathy)
        As well as severe spine problems. Very rare complicated illnesses intersecting and exacerbating primary and/or secondary with veteran’s service connected disabilities.

        Monomeric atrophy……Veteran has lost the use of his right hand and right forearm weakened and wasting away.
        One limb atrophy
        See notes…..described as one limb muscle atrophy

        Spinal cord (S curve of spinal cord) compression on top on addition the monomeric

        Toxic agent like Agent Orange could more likely than not” a contributor for neuropathy.

        Immune diseases (no)

        Deterioration. Of bones on vertebra
        Spondylosis…inflammatory arthritis
        Acts like spinal cord injury

        (Findings of EMG) EMG to confirm the diagnosis ( Neuromuscular VA Physician at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, Texas

  3. anovotny says:

    My husband Joe was never compensated for Presumptive agent Orange, I have filed claims,sent va all medical records relating to Chronic C>O>P>D,worsened PTSD, Ischemic heart desease, lung cancer,and I had it expedited as terminally ill,He passed away on 9=11=2013.He never received a notice and or retro backpay.Va reginal center in Lincoln Ne. needs to be audited by attorney general I have filed a complaint with Rodger P. Lemke since 2011-2013.ANDI want answers. Va failed the duty to assist joe and did not consider The benefit of doubt regarding his terminally illnesses that were service connected in his award letter dated 2006

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