Agent Orange And Bone Cancer, Is There A Link?
Many veterans affected by Agent Orange and Bone Cancer are asking if there could be. This article discusses the possibility that Agent Orange may cause or aggravate Bone Cancer.
Many chemicals only cause serious illness, at worst. A few others, like household bleach, can cause death. Still others, like cigarette smoke and dioxin, alter cells at the genetic level. As a result, they reproduce at a much faster rate. Chemotherapy drugs target and kill fast-dividing cells, which explains why most chemotherapy patients lose their hair.
Dioxin also alters cell genetics. This compound is a by-product of many chemical manufacturing processes. Today, protocols are in place that reduce or eliminate unintentional dioxin production. These controls did not exist in the 1960s and early 1970s, during Operation Ranch Hand in the Vietnam War. As a result, thousands of servicemembers handled barrels of the defoliant Agent Orange. These containers were laced with dioxin.
The Agent Orange/cancer connection seems indisputable. However, the Veterans Administration only adds conditions to the presumed illness list if there is overwhelming evidence of a connection. Usually, this evidence is unavailable. That is the case with the connection between Agent Orange and bone cancer. Fortunately, the dioxin link is normally enough to establish a connection by a preponderance of the evidence.
Primary Service Connections in Agent Orange Exposure Cases
There is no presumed connection between Agent Orange and bone marrow cancer. However, there is a presumptive link between Agent Orange and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS). MGUS is a precursor to many forms of cancer, including bone cancer. So, a veterans disability attorney just needs to take the next step.
As the name implies, MGUS is a rather amorphous condition. Basically, MGUS is an elevated blood protein level. M-proteins, or monoclonal proteins, are normally not harmful. Doctors are not sure what causes MGUS, but genetic and environmental factors are the primary culprits – hence, the Agent Orange service connection.
The aforementioned next step usually involves eliminating other potential bone marrow cancer causes. If the veteran was exposed to Agent Orange, and anyone who was boots-on-the-ground or feet-dry during the 1960s was presumptively exposed, a doctor must eliminate any other potential causes, such as genetic family history.
The burden of proof is rather low in these cases. As long as the VA is convinced that, more likely than not, Agent Orange caused bone cancer, full compensation is available.
Secondary Service Connections in Cancer Cases
If not caught and eradicated quickly, cancer often spreads quickly. That is especially true with regard to leukemia and bone marrow cancer. The cancer cells in the blood often seep into the marrow. In situations like these, the VA applies a presumed connection, if applicable. Let us continue with the leukemia example. Many forms of blood cancer are on the Agent Orange presumed illness list. So, if the victim’s cancer spreads from the blood to the bones, the presumption applies.
Depending on the extent and nature of the disability, veterans’ benefits usually include money for both lost wages and medical expenses. Both these benefits are critical. Many times, a family counts on the veteran’s earning power to pay bills. Additionally, cancer treatments are incredibly expensive. Even if the veteran has medical insurance, these treatments can cost thousands of dollars per month.
In other words, veterans’ disability benefits give veterans the resources they need to fight their diseases and take care of their families.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
Even if the illness is not on the presumptive list, substantial compensation may be available for Agent Orange exposure to veterans who develop cancer. For a free consultation with an experienced veterans disability lawyer, contact Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262, or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to successfully represent veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.