What is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Why Are So Many Veterans Affected?
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a presumptive condition for those who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. This cancer used to be referred to as Hodgkin’s Disease, but that was changed after 170 years in an effort to become more clear about the connection to lymphocytes, or white blood cells. As is often seen in cancerous conditions suffered by veterans, the affected DNA is not something apparent at birth. It occurs due to an environmental source. The white blood cells are damaged and begin to mutate, growing in volume.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society refers to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as one of the ‘most curable’ cancers. While other factors can be related to HL, from mononucleosis to HIV, clusters of the disease have been noted—including among veterans who have been exposed to a contaminant or toxic chemical while on duty in one area.
Patients are generally alerted by enlarged nodes, in areas like the armpit or groin, as the lymphatic system begins showing signs that the immune system is under attack by cancerous cells. The patient may be more tired than usual, exhibit fever and cough, and upon examination, display a spleen that is enlarged. Formal diagnosis is made with a biopsy, and then MRIs and CT scans offer further information.
Herbicide Exposure and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
This is a cancer commonly associated with exposure to herbicides, and the VA considers Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to be a presumptive condition. This means that veterans with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma who were exposed to Agent Orange are not required to prove that their disability is connected to their military service when applying for disability benefits. This simplifies the claims process for certain veterans because the connection between Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and herbicide exposure is assumed.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, , Parkinson’s Disease, type II diabetes, AL Amyloidosis, and heart disease are also presumptive conditions for veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a presumptive condition for those veterans who served 30 days or more at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. For veterans who have died as a result of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides, compensation may be available to their surviving spouses or dependents.
Veterans who are suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, as well as their survivors and dependents, should know their rights to file a claim for disability benefits and receive the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled. If your claim has been denied, or you believe you deserve an increase in benefits, contact our veterans attorneys today for a no-cost case evaluation.
Category: Veterans Law