A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming on its own, even without the added stress of navigating health complications. There are many treatment options for prostate cancer, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Though treatment is customized for each patient, they all have one thing in common: all prostate cancer treatments have side effects.
Some common side effects include nausea, fatigue, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction, which significantly hinders daily activities. These side effects can be temporary and only last during convalescence or last a lifetime.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among veterans and affects twice as many veterans as it does non-veterans. It’s no surprise, considering it is on the presumptive illnesses list for Agent Orange and other herbicides. As such, it is paramount that veterans who believe their diagnosis is service-related receive the benefits they’ve earned.
It is important to note that ratings for this illness are not stationary. The rating will vary based on whether the veteran is getting treatment or the cancer is in remission. We will go over how the ratings change and the factors considered in the rating.
Knowing the ratings for prostate cancer can aid in financial planning and recording its effects on the veteran’s daily life.
What are the VA ratings for prostate cancer?
When discussing “VA disability ratings for prostate cancer,” it’s essential to understand that the VA looks at the complete picture. They consider not only the cancer itself but also the effects of treatments and any complications or residuals. This comprehensive approach ensures veterans receive fair compensation for their health challenges.
Active Prostate Cancer:
For those in the throes of active prostate cancer treatment, it is often impossible to work or care for daily needs. Because of this, the VA disability rating schedule for prostate cancer stands at 100 percent, underscoring the profound impact of the disease. This rating stays steadfast for six months post-treatment, after which the VA will re-evaluate the rating.
Post-Treatment and Remission:
While the end of treatment and cancer remission are celebrated milestones, we must also remember that this is when the VA will start counting down the six months. This is when the veteran will be reevaluated to determine their new rating.
The new rating will consider the symptoms veterans may face post-treatment. Symptoms like urinary complications or persistent pain can linger, affecting daily life. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, veterans may receive ratings ranging from 0 to 60 percent VA rating for prostate cancer.
For example, if a veteran experiences incontinence and needs absorbent materials, the VA rating is determined by the frequency of changes required:
- 60% for changing more than four times daily
- 40% for changing two to four times daily
- 20% for changing less than two times daily
These will be factored in should additional conditions or symptoms exist, leading to a combined VA rating for the veteran.
VA Rating for Prostate Cancer Residuals:
For some, the shadows of prostate cancer persist in the form of permanent residuals. Whether it’s chronic pain or other lasting complications, the VA offers ratings between 0% to 100% disability, depending on the gravity of these enduring effects.
The VA rates these according to 4.115a Ratings of the genitourinary system—dysfunctions.
Prostate Cancer Resources
Numerous resources provide information, support, and assistance for veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer. Here are some essential resources for veterans grappling with prostate cancer:
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers: In 2016, the VA partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Their goal was to enhance specialized care for veterans with advanced-stage prostate cancer in VA hospitals nationwide. They aim to introduce more innovative cancer treatments and research through their Precision Oncology Program for Cancer of the Prostate (POPCaP). This initiative also strives to expand access to clinical trials and boost the number of physicians dedicated to treating and researching prostate cancer.
- VA’s Agent Orange Program: Prostate cancer is among the diseases recognized by the VA as associated with Agent Orange and other military herbicides exposure and makes up 30% of new cancer diagnoses in the VA. Veterans exposed to these herbicides during military service may be eligible for disability compensation.
- Veterans Health Library: This online resource offers a plethora of information on various health topics, including prostate cancer. The library provides articles, videos, and other educational resources.
- VA Caregiver Support: Managing prostate cancer can be challenging for veterans as well as their caregivers. The VA offers support services to caregivers, including a helpline and support coordinators.
- Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs): Groups like Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) often assist veterans in navigating the VA system, accessing care, and applying for disability benefits. They are well-versed in the benefits available to cancer patients and their families.
- Us TOO: ZERO Prostate Cancer Education & Support: While not exclusively for veterans, this nonprofit offers peer-led support groups for people with prostate cancer and their caregivers. These groups, found across the U.S., provide a safe environment for members to share experiences and offer emotional support.
- Veterans Crisis Line: A cancer diagnosis is devastating and takes an emotional toll on patients and their families. This helpline can be an invaluable resource for veterans feeling overwhelmed by their diagnosis or needing immediate support.
If you or a loved one is a veteran diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s essential to tap into the extensive support network available. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey; many organizations and individuals are eager to assist.
Beyond the ratings, establishing a service connection is a linchpin in the process. As with any other disabling illness or condition, veterans must demonstrate a direct link between their diagnosis and military service to receive benefits. This connection validates that the disease was either triggered or aggravated during their military tenure.
Have you been denied benefits and wish to appeal your service connection or rating decision? Speak with an experienced VA attorney. Call (800) 861-7262 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out the contact form on our site.