Prostate cancer may not seem like a disease with an obvious connection to military service, but exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange has been shown to increase the risk of getting this disease. This means that veterans who served in Vietnam or other areas where Agent Orange was used, stored or tested may have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Furthermore, one study also concluded that men who were exposed to Agent Orange are more likely to have more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer takes hold as cells mutate within this walnut-sized reproductive organ. As with most cancers, the bad cells begin to multiply and grow, as well as sometimes spreading to other parts of the body. There are often no symptoms at first as the cancer continues to grow silently. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms that may occur as the disease worsens include pain or difficulty in urinating, bone pain, pelvic discomfort, and more. In terms of treating the cancer, some men may need aggressive radiation therapy while other may use an active surveillance approach, which monitors the cancer’s progression without immediately treating it.
Prostate Cancer and Veterans
Veterans who served in country with boots on the ground in Vietnam are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. If they also have a diagnosis of prostate cancer, it is presumed this was caused by their time in military service.
Veterans who develop prostate cancer and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their prostate cancer and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation.
Those who served in Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone areo presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. If you were exposed to Agent Orange under other circumstances (piloting a plane, on a ship, or working at a storage site) and are suffering from prostate cancer or another condition related to the herbicide, you may still be eligible for disability compensation, as well as an Agent Orange Registry health exam. This examination does not count toward the disability process but it helps the VA collect data, and also offers a free medical work-up to the veteran. It can also be repeated multiple times as health conditions change.
If you are the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange and later died of prostate cancer, you may also be eligible to receive benefits.
If you are not sure how much disability compensation you are entitled to, talk to an experienced veterans lawyer about your case. The veterans advocates at Chisholm, Chisholm, and Kilpatrick have over 25 years of experience helping veterans get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a no-cost case evaluation.