CSN Login
Members Online: 6

Squamous cell cancer & agent orange

boblow305
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2003

I am a Vietnam Vet (1965-66 DaNang) diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the mouth, neck and lung. I have been reading some of the postings about cancer related to agent orange and wondering if there is a connection. My question is how can one determine if he was exposed to agent orange? Is it possible that one was exposed without knowing?

xidcrikit
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010

Where do I start! In Feb. 2008 my husband was diagnosed with oral cancer in his neck & jaw. He went thru chemo & radiation. The 1st cancer drugs were not beneficial so the Dr. changed the course and used different drugs. They also found lung ca. He died in July 2008. I have applied to the VA and was at 1st given benefits and then denied them. I appealed and finally had a hearing in Nov. 2009. I researched extensively and came to this site before the appeal hearing. I'm also a nurse and obtained his medical records and went thru them extensively prior to the hearing. I researched the lawsuit that is mentioned here and called the attorney's that filed the lawsuit. They have given themselves an "atta boy" on their web site but the office personnel were not interested in helping and the office manager never called me back. The receptionist said that I needed to know the lawyer that filed the suit. I explained that it didn't tell on their web site and she said she couldn't help me. But I referenced that lawsuit during my appeals hearing. The doctor that reviewed his case said that the lung cancer was a metastases from his oral cancer. So therefore did not come under the VA guidelines for granting benefits since oral cancer is not one of the ones that they say comes from AO. Which everyone knows how utterly ridiculous that is, if you concede that it can cause lung cancer then obviously since it has to go thru your mouth as an airborne substance then it can affect your oral cavity and neck also. The Dr's that reviewed his case did not realize that they didn't find lung cancer on xray but only after they did an MRI of his neck and lungs. So he could have had lung cancer 1st. I pointed this out to the board. After the hearing the board chairman told me it would be 30 to 45 days and it has now been 5 months. I have called the 800 # several times and they said was still being evaluated. Finally last week I found out that the regional office had not sent the transcript and that's what they were waiting on. I called the regional office and the secretary said that they had alot of cases and it took them awhile and I said "5 months". She was shocked and said she would have it expedited right away. My advice is to have a friend who is a medical person go thru your records before you go to appeal and point out different things that may be important. The regional appeal will not need a lawyer( which will save you some money) but if you have to appeal it to Washington then you will need a lawyer.
I think it's important for all the military and military related people to stick together and continue to push AO related medical problems and bring it before the public and the military. As I've read about AO I find my husband had several medical problems that were odd for someone of his age. Heart problems since his 40's, diabetes and other medical problems that can be attributed to AO. Thanks for listening and feel free to e-mail me with comments or questions.
By the way my husband was a helicopter pilot in the Army and flew extensively in the areas exposed.

xidcrikit
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010

After 5 years I'm still fighting the VA. After the hearing in November 2009 and calling them repeatedly I contacted a lawyer who does VA lawsuits. He wasn't very helpful but did get all my husbands military records together for me. He has since withdrawn from the case. Now the Veteran Affairs people won't talk with me at all. But since they weren't any help in the begining it really is no big deal.  Finally in late 2012 they said they had responded to the 2009 case and denied my claim and I hadn't appealed it. I told them that I had recieved nothing from them for 3 years. So they re-opened the file and I appealed the finding and am going tomorrow before the board. I have found other cases where they have awarded compensation and plan to present those finds, plus put forth the information about my husbands ischemic heart disease and diabetes which are under their presumptive diseases for AO. As soon as I can I will post back here and tell everyone what happened in the hearing. By the way last year the VA sent my husband a letter telling him that he qualified for VA health care benefits, of course he had already been dead 4 years. When I called to tell them they said they hadn't been notified by the other part of the VA. Guess they don't communicate.

 

I will keep everyone updated. Linda

 

MarineE5
Posts: 757
Joined: Dec 2005

Linda,

First let me say, that I am sorry to read about the passing of your husband. I am impressed that you have continued the fight for him and yourself. The VA does have some good people working for it, and I did find that out in the last part of my fight with them. It was a Supervisior that was helpful in the end, but it was the Hearing that I had in front of the VA Judge that got things moving with my connection with Agent Orange. It still took the Regional Office one year to give me a rating and that was only after I contacted the Federal Congressman in my area who in turn turned up the heat on them.

Keep going, you are correct, you have information on two connections to Agent Orange to submit as evidence in your case. After the hearing, it might be another 2 months before you find out whether you are denied or granted service connection. The Judge hears the case and writes a report and others decide. That is what the Judge I had told me after my case was presented. It was roughly 6 weeks later that I received the paperwork that stated I was granted connection, and it was remanded back to the Regional Office for rating.

I hope that you have someone going with you, I had a Lawyer that worked with a Military Organization with me and they did not charge me. The Lawyer presented my case with my new evidence as well and the Judge only asked me a couple of simple questions.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

george 214
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

they dont care about hearing loss,, I flew and was a mechanic and worked around helicopters for over 20 years, and I have documentation for being deaf in my right ear but they say they dont cover hearing loss,, as far as I am concerned we gave our all,, and we got nothing!!!!! I am tired of this

HOPE2009
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2009

The difficulties in dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs are legion. If the primary cancer is the one in the lung, the condition is "presumptive" for exposure to Agent Orange. At least in theory, all that is required is medical proof of the diagnosis and military proof of service in Nam.

At this point in hearings in Congress only in the past week the VA has admitted to having a million cases attempting to acquire benefits and/or on appeal unanswered. My two tour and later, flying into Nam on the "heavies for four more years," husband was diagnosed on Nov. 11th, Veterans Day in 2008 with squamous cell lung cancer, though he was asymptomatic. The cancer had metastasized to the spine and brain.
As a retired caseworker for an also retired now Member of Congress, I worked daily with the VA assisting vets who went to their M.C. to gain assistance with VA cases for years.

I filed my husbands new case in late December 2008. In an earlier case he had been found to be disabled, but the disabilities didn't amount to the percentage required for payment.

Included in the new case was almost 100 pages of proof of the diagnosis of a primary lung cancer and the original documents on file with the VA since 1992 which include all enlistment, reenlistment and retirement orders showing his last enlistment at Cam Ranh Bay and during that period 313 days served in Nam. Still with all those documents in file and resent with the current case the VA has sent a man who has been labeled as "terminal" by his oncologist for a "lung function" exam to see if he can breathe. Not an atypical action by the VA paper pushers and a waste of resources and time. Still with all the documents on file even showing medical treatment in the hospital at Na Trang in the first tour in 1965and '66, we have been asked to provide proof of service in Nam once again, leading us to question if staff at the Oakland, CA Regional Office are literate.

There is considerable information from the VA website about those conditions "presumptive"
with what is claimed to be automatic disability if they have no time frame limit for filing a case, though the information and the response to the filing of a case are nore than wanting.

A pension, untaxable and provided for widows and children by the VA is also a factor by law for those who die of a service connected condition. The VA website also provides a form for filing the case on line and military service and medical records may also be
applied for on-line. This site should be helpful. BTW by law the minimum percentage of
disability for an Agent Orange related compensation claim is 10%.

These sites should be helpful to those who continue to be diagnosed with conditions related to Agent Orange exposure.

http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/Herbicide/

http://www1.va.gov/Agentorange/

http://www.vva.org/Committees/AgentOrange/index.html

An unfortunate reality is the quality of VA health care continues to be scandal after scandal such as this NY Times article today related to treatment of also "presumptive" prostate cancer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/health/21radiation.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

While the appointment of General Shinseki to head the VA has been applauded, even with my
years of experience as a Congressional VA caseworker, I continued to be frustrated and
cynical about my dealings with this now Cabinet level agency, that has been overwhelmed by
a combination of lack of funding commensurate with the huge numbers of wounded and ill from two on-going wars along with those who also served in previous ones who continue to
become ill from the choices made such as the use of Agent Orange in Nam, Korea and other
locations including those who served in "blue water" off the coast of Nam as well as in Laos, Cambodia and even flown into Nam from Thailand and on cargo aircraft that transported these highly toxic dioxins from the CONUS.

My HOPE for 2009 is the claim for benefits for my husband will be granted prior to his death and the best aspect of his treatment is it is provided by Medi-Care and Tri-Care-For-Life. His care has been excellent and unlike some who wait for months to obtain care from the VA because of our age and his service has not been economically costly for us.

Good luck to others who suffer the results of Agent Orange and to those from current and past locations where the use of depleted uranium is now being questioned for benefits as
was back in the 1980s with Agent Orange.

jimmydeese
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2010

Served 2 terms in Vietnam 1966-1968 with 1st Marine Div I Corp. I am a purple heart Vet. In 1989 I got Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the tonsils and lymph nodes. Eight weeks of radiation killed saliva glands and taste buds. In remission until 2008 when I noticed a sore on my tongue. Cancer came back with a vengance. Lost part of my tongue and upper pallet requiring prosthesis to close upper pallet. Eight bouts of aspiration pneumonia within the last year. Four month ago I had to have a feeding tube inserted in my stomach. Working with dental oncologist for two years and just got upper teeth this week. Lowers to come. VA has denied my claims for agent orange and squamous cell carcinoma twice. I am still appealing claims and would appreciate any help. Semper fi ..... Jimmy

MarineE5
Posts: 757
Joined: Dec 2005

Jimmy,

I sent you a private message tonight.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

espo1217
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

Hi Everyone: My brother got extremely sick about 5 years ago with dermatomyocytis. Dermatomyocytis is when your own immune system attacks your muscles and renders them useless. In people greater than 40 y of age this disease can be triggered by a cancer (In approximately 70%). We could not find it then because he was so sick. My brother with in a week became paralysed, unable to breathe on his own, ventilated for 4 months. During that time he experienced a heart attack, 2 head bleeds, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and we were asked to end his life. He got a trach, a tube to feed him etc... We did not end his life and I took off from work to remain at his bedside and 15 months later he came out of rehabilitation to home. He had to learn to walk and talk again. Once discharged they found squamous cell carcinoma of his throat. My brother never smoked. By the time they found the cancer it had already spread to his lymph nodes, lung. He has had resection and radiation to his neck, wedge resection of his lung, and recently they found another source in his lung. He decided that he wanted to have radiation instead since he could still play golf.
I believe that his squamous cell carcinoma was due to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. He was a SeaBee. He would clear land and build on it. My borther is alive and drives but he has a family that he/I would like to see taken care of, a wife and 2 sons. He is not working. We do not know how long he has... what ever time it is, it is a gift. I am wondering if any of the people on this site won an appeal to get their deserved disability paid for? It is very strange that all the people on this site were in Vietnam and most likely exposed to agent orange. I am very much interested in where people are in their appeals.
Thanks-you so much for listening to me....
a caring sister.

puppy2010
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear ESPO1217,
My husband was diagnosed w/Stage 3A Squamous Lung Cancer in September, 2009. He had three tumors in his left lung and was not a candidate for surgery. He received 36 radiation treatments and 5 chemotherapies. The tumors did shrink consierably. However, the dr. could not tell from the CT scan if there was any more tumors due to the scarring from the radiation. She put him on Tarceva, and as of his last CT scan, there was no new activity, and one of the spots they were watching has disappeared. He applied to the VA for benefits. He finally received a letter telling him to report for an examination in August, 2010. Just last week, he received a letter stating that he was rated as 140% disabled (100% for lung cancer, 20% for diabetes, and 20% for partial loss of feeling in the feet). He received a check for benefits dated back to September, 2009 and will receive approx. $2800/month thereafter. He is also eliglble for medical treatment through the VA if he needs it, but so far our hospitalization, which I carry for the family, has covered all of his treatments. He also has to be re-evaluated by the VA every year to find out of there is any improvement in his condition. It is a long and drawn out process and is very frustrating. There definitely is a relationship between Agent Orange and the cancers that the Vietnam vets are getting. Please tell your brother to keep calling the VA and following up on his claim. You are in my prayers.

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Dear puppy2010,
Your post has shed a ray of hope to us. My husband, Dennis, was diagnosed with extensive sclc, with mets to his liver, and now in his bones, on April 28, 2010. He is a Viet Nam Veteran and spent several weeks at times " in country ", as his detachment's, in the Phillipines, primary mission was to support the troops in country. He began his claim to VA about a month after his diagnosis, and we are still waiting... One of the huge obstacles was to find documentation that he was in fact "in country". as the Air Force would send them on 28 day TDY's, as to not have to give the tax free pay and shorten their tours. Have to just say this, documentation in those days by the Air Force sucked!! Fortunately, he was able to find 2 forms of documentation. The VA has not said if they are acceptable as of this posting. In fact, all they have done is send letters requesting the same medical records over and over, and letters telling us that they are still reviewing his claim! He has been working with a VA counselor, and she is very kind and is trying to "push" the folks in Houston. The Doctors have given him 11-12 months. Of course, he is fighting this monster and we pray that the statistics are wrong! Why is VA dragging this out? What are they waiting for? I know that there are so many Veterans in need of the benefits that they have so honorably earned, but I just can't help the frustration. We are blessed that he did retire from the Air Force, so his treatments have all been covered by Tricare. And his doctors are wonderful.
If you know of anything we can do to help ourselves, please let us know. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Prayers and blessings for you and your husband.

Lucy

puppy2010
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2010

I read your post and can sympathize with you and your husband. It took 11 months before my husband received a letter telling him to come in for an examination by the VA. He had to make that appointment at the specified time --no excuses. He went for the examination by a VA dr. They put him through the same tests that his oncologists had already done. The VA also asked for his medical recordsfrom his oncoligists two or three times. He was successful in getting the service connection, but it took over a year. My prayers are with you and your husband.

Jan

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Thank you for your response, Jan. I pray that your husband is doing well. My husband is experiencing fatigue from the brain radiation treatments he received the past two weeks. Now we know that it is not "just us" with the VA! We will keep calling them, sending them copies of copies, and never stop. Doesn't VA get it? These are Warriors and their Warrior Wives that they are dealing with!! Take care. Will post any up-dates on the issue.

God bless you and your husband,

Lucy

puppy2010
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear ESPO1217,
My husband was diagnosed w/Stage 3A Squamous Lung Cancer in September, 2009. He had three tumors in his left lung and was not a candidate for surgery. He received 36 radiation treatments and 5 chemotherapies. The tumors did shrink considerably. However, the dr. could not tell from the CT scan if there was any more tumors due to the scarring from the radiation. She put him on Tarceva, and as of his last CT scan, there was no new activity, and one of the spots they were watching has disappeared. He applied to the VA for benefits. He finally received a letter telling him to report for an examination in August, 2010. Just last week, he received a letter stating that he was rated as 140% disabled (100% for lung cancer, 20% for diabetes, and 20% for partial loss of feeling in the feet). He received a check for benefits dated back to September, 2009 and will receive approx. $2800/month thereafter. He is also eliglble for medical treatment through the VA if he needs it, but so far our hospitalization, which I carry for the family, has covered all of his treatments. He also has to be re-evaluated by the VA every year to find out of there is any improvement in his condition. It is a long and drawn out process and is very frustrating. There definitely is a relationship between Agent Orange and the cancers that the Vietnam vets are getting. Please tell your brother to keep calling the VA and following up on his claim. You are in my prayers.

puppy2010
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear ESPO1217,
My husband was diagnosed w/Stage 3A Squamous Lung Cancer in September, 2009. He had three tumors in his left lung and was not a candidate for surgery. He received 36 radiation treatments and 5 chemotherapies. The tumors did shrink considerably. However, the dr. could not tell from the CT scan if there was any more tumors due to the scarring from the radiation. She put him on Tarceva, and as of his last CT scan, there was no new activity, and one of the spots they were watching has disappeared. He applied to the VA for benefits. He finally received a letter telling him to report for an examination in August, 2010. Just last week, he received a letter stating that he was rated as 140% disabled (100% for lung cancer, 20% for diabetes, and 20% for partial loss of feeling in the feet). He received a check for benefits dated back to September, 2009 and will receive approx. $2800/month thereafter. He is also eliglble for medical treatment through the VA if he needs it, but so far our hospitalization, which I carry for the family, has covered all of his treatments. He also has to be re-evaluated by the VA every year to find out of there is any improvement in his condition. It is a long and drawn out process and is very frustrating. There definitely is a relationship between Agent Orange and the cancers that the Vietnam vets are getting. Please tell your brother to keep calling the VA and following up on his claim. You are in my prayers.

royarogers
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2010

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt
http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt

this is a recent case where it was decided as follows

In accordance with the medical
definition:
The respiratory system includes the
nostrils, nasopharynx, oral pharynx,
glottis, trachea, bronchi and
bronchioles.

Oropharynx (as part of the respiratory
system) includes base of the tongue, the
soft palate, tonsil and the side and back
wall of the throat.

Having determined that the tonsil and base of the tongue are
part of the respiratory system, service connection for this
disorder is presumed under 38 C.F.R. § 3.309(e).
Accordingly, his claim for presumptive service connection for
throat cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the left tongue
base and tonsil is granted.

please repost this link anywhere u can and lets all copy this case and turn it over to our case worker.

royarogers
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2010

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt
http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt

this is a recent case where it was decided as follows

In accordance with the medical
definition:
The respiratory system includes the
nostrils, nasopharynx, oral pharynx,
glottis, trachea, bronchi and
bronchioles.

Oropharynx (as part of the respiratory
system) includes base of the tongue, the
soft palate, tonsil and the side and back
wall of the throat.

Having determined that the tonsil and base of the tongue are
part of the respiratory system, service connection for this
disorder is presumed under 38 C.F.R. § 3.309(e).
Accordingly, his claim for presumptive service connection for
throat cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the left tongue
base and tonsil is granted.

please repost this link anywhere u can and lets all copy this case and turn it over to our case worker.

richarddharrison
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2012

What about the cases on here proven to be service connected..isn't that a legal precident?

 

laceerae
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

sir my heart goes out to you and your family.i am a daughter of vet.when he first was told he had cancer he called the vet center for help with a power bill or something,I'm not sure what they are called where you live.he spoke with a wonderful women he explained to what was going on .then she asked him a question that took us all by surprise had he stepped foot in Nam and he had but when he called back when the whole agent orange deal came to light they told him he was not in the area's sprayed.she told him that he needed to come in and start a claim.my dad was in areas that our government to this day won't admit.i am fighting to this day for my dad.please don't take this the wrong way.but you need to get started now.talk to your doctors,find doctors who deal with not only agent orange but agent white.the government tried 4 different agents before orange. the five together are called the rainbow herbicides.I'm giving you this info because each one used different compounds.each one is on the net pink,purple,white,blue,and orange.start writing everyday what meds you take how bad the pain was what treatments you had,what you ate,anything a Dr might have told you.if your not able to do it have someone in your family get pics of any kind of skin rash you might have come home with.my dad had one on 3/4 of his back and we have no way to prove it.but if i were you Tuesday morning i would be on the phone to the VA and find out where in your area you can file a claim.PLEASE do not try to do it yourself.i have been trying for three years just to get my dad's medals...i will keep you in my prayers.

jacqlyn46
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband was sent to the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT to begin getting ready for radical surgery due to this cancer. I had asked his VA Primary care doctor and the Resident in the ENT Clinic in Salt Lake City, if Agent Orange could be a contributing factor. The Primary Care doctor said is could be, and the Resident said he can't say it is and he can't say it isn't. I've been told and told he should definitely file a claim which he will do.
I am going to investigate the relations of Soft Cell Sarcoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. I'm mad as a wet hen that our guys can serve and put their lives on the line and then snubbed when they need help.
Thanks for letting me share. We're just getting started on his treatment, radical surgery on 9/16/10 and then the rest four weeks later gets under way.

HAWVET's picture
HAWVET
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Welcome aboard Jacqlyn. Hope the best for your husband. There is a possibility it may be Vietnam or Agent Orange related. Where specific is the SCC?

Slickdriver
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2010

I'm sorry to hear about your husbands diag. I'm 4 years out from head and neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cancer of the base of the tongue. I flew in Vietnam, my aircraft (UH-1D) was used to defoliate, I drank the water ate the food and breathed the air.
My oncologist at the VA Medical Center in Portland said my Cancer was from AO. He thought it absurb that if it was 10cm one way or the other it would have been SC. My 14 weeks of radiation and Chemo Therapy were done jointly by the VA and the Oregon Health and Sciences University. The OHSU doctor and Professor said he is seeing an alarming increase in head and neck cancers from Vietnam Veterans. I tell every Vietnam Veteran I know to keep up on your medical exams, and if something doesn't feel right get to a doctor.
I am Mad too, there is an epidemic of cancer of vietnam veterans, three of my good friends are battling right now, prostate, larynx, and lung cancers. Another good friend is in his second round and has had recontruction in the area.
I am greatful for the medical tech, but there needs to be more done. I am considering fighting the VA for Service Connection, my prayers are with you all,
Rick Sciapiti Roseburg Oregon 114th Assault Helicopter Co, VN 68-69 US Army.

royarogers
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2010

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt

this is a recent case where it was decided as follows

In accordance with the medical
definition:
The respiratory system includes the
nostrils, nasopharynx, oral pharynx,
glottis, trachea, bronchi and
bronchioles.

Oropharynx (as part of the respiratory
system) includes base of the tongue, the
soft palate, tonsil and the side and back
wall of the throat.

Having determined that the tonsil and base of the tongue are
part of the respiratory system, service connection for this
disorder is presumed under 38 C.F.R. § 3.309(e).
Accordingly, his claim for presumptive service connection for
throat cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the left tongue
base and tonsil is granted.

please repost this link anywhere u can and lets all copy this case and turn it over to our case worker.

royarogers
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2010

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt
http://www4.va.gov/vetapp09/files5/0940472.txt

this is a recent case where it was decided as follows

In accordance with the medical
definition:
The respiratory system includes the
nostrils, nasopharynx, oral pharynx,
glottis, trachea, bronchi and
bronchioles.

Oropharynx (as part of the respiratory
system) includes base of the tongue, the
soft palate, tonsil and the side and back
wall of the throat.

Having determined that the tonsil and base of the tongue are
part of the respiratory system, service connection for this
disorder is presumed under 38 C.F.R. § 3.309(e).
Accordingly, his claim for presumptive service connection for
throat cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the left tongue
base and tonsil is granted.

please repost this link anywhere u can and lets all copy this case and turn it over to our case worker.

scoat
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2011

For brevity sake I will just list facts related to my experience with squamous cell carcinoma, Vietnam and Agent Orange.

Avoided unnecessary exposure to the sun growing up due to being light skinned, and had a mother who was a bear about exposure to the sun.

Vietnam was my first prolonged exposure to the sun, and a month into my tour of duty I developed several severe sun burns to my face, ears and neck. Our medic reported the festered burns and due to the ever present low resistance to germs/bacteria in country; the Battalion medical doctor advised that I might have to return Stateside if the cream he provided did not clear up the open and raw burns.

The cream/ointment was affective and I remained with my unit.
I began to brown up for the first time in my life, and I thought I was actually building up a resistance to the sun (dumb me).

I served with the 101st Airborne (66-67) and because of the unusually high exposure to Agent Orange; have been on the Agent Orange Registry for the last twenty years.

Fifteen years ago I developed Basil cell carcinoma when one of several entry wound scars opened and refused to close for over six months. The wound resulted when a hail of enemy chi-com grenades filled the air above my squad in our attempt to close the last ten yards in taking Hill 52 in II Core.

When I was medi-vaced, four out of six fragments were removed. One in my arm worked it's way out six weeks after the incident. One was left in my shoulder and worked it way out when the wound opened years later. My wounds were judged non life threatening, and I was returned to duty to recuperate. My wounds were still oozing serum and needed changes of dressings until they closed up. During this time I was exposed to Agent Orange which we had no reason to believe presented any danger to us at the time (dumb again)

The biopsy showed Basil-cell carcinoma. When the biopsy was sent to DC to render a final determination, it was found that a false negative as relating to squamous cell carcinoma. I was never notified, and did not discover the new cancer until I checked in to a Va hospital in Alabama with renewed problems with the basil cell site.

By this time the cancer had metastasized to the limp-nodes, and I was given six months to live. Fortunately the Oncology Radiation
Department in Atlanta Georgia had a new radiation machine that is affective right up next to a vital organ. That and the mercy of God has spared me for eleven years. Although the cancer has returned in the last month, and seems to be the aggressive type; I am thankful for the 11 years as my wife and I have four teenagers, and it has been worth every minute of my extended life.

Reading all these postings, I wonder if there would be any reason to file a claim? It's not that I don't believe my situation warrants it; it's just that the system appears to be full on into a defensive stance. They have the big guns and money is their ammunition.

I hope this is of some help as you attempt to understand the impact of Vietnam/Agent Orange, and other environmental affects on our troops having served there. Scoat

MarineE5
Posts: 757
Joined: Dec 2005

Scoat,

1st Welcome Home. 2nd, Please reply to me with a private e-mail through this site. You can go up to the left corner of the page in the block that is labeled CSN. In that block, click on CSN Email. Type in MarineE5 as the person you will be sending the message to.

I want to reply, but it will be a long reply, so no need to take up allot of space here.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Dear Scoat,

First, I am sorry to hear that the cancer has returned. I pray that they are able to treat and either defeat the beast or at the very least, put it at bay for many years to come!

Your question about submitting a claim? Here is my answer, yes, do it for your sacrifice and honor to this nation! Yes, do it for your wife and your children! And finally, yes, do it for all the other Vietnam Veterans that are also affected or may have already lost their battle with the beast!

It is not an easy journey, I can testify to that. Apr. 2010, my beloved husband, AF retired and Vietnam Veteran, was diagnosed with extensive small cell lung cancer. He was given 11-12 months, with treatment. In May 2010, he filed a claim with VA, lung cancer, agent orange, Vietnam. He passed away in Dec. 2010, eight months after diagnosis. He fought like a warrior, but it was his time. He asked me to promise to continue the battle with VA, I promised, and I continue! He died never having received justice! I am moving heaven and earth in my quest for justice and honor for him. Contacted Congressman, searching everywhere and anywhere for evidence, information, buddies, witnesses. I've requested an entire copy of his personnel records, TDY and Travel pay records. I am working with my local VSR with all the filing of the claims. Have submitted 4 pieces of evidence, have been given the run around... But I will not stop! Only when and if God says, that's enough, you have done everything you could have possibly done, will I give it a rest, maybe...

I have also registered onto several Vietnam Veteran's locator sites. Met many awesome Veterans that have begun to spread the word around their communities! Someone out there will be the "key that unlocks the door".

Should you decide to submit a claim or even want to know about the process, do not hesitate to post comment or PM me. In any case, my prayers are with you and your family. Take care, and welcome home!

Lucy

teachmar62
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2011

My husband was walking past other soldiers who were cooking over drums with orange stripes that were cut in half and they were using them to grill food. He had no idea what the drums were then.

jacqlyn46
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2010

Sir,
First and foremost, WELCOME HOME!!!! Thank you for your service. Right now I am a Pit-Bull on a misson for you all. My husband (we were married 1/29/2010), and I had the honor to marry my best friend. On July 15, 2010, he found out he had a cancerous tumor in his left jaw, which turned out to be malignant Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Right off the bat, everyone said because he "chewed", that was the "contributor", not necessarily AO. A claim for him was filed though as he is an AO registered Viet-Nam Vet.
He had to have his entire left lower jaw from just below the ear to center front removed and re-constructed.
I'd love to know how they'd have reacted if he'd never had chewed, since he'd never smoked. Where would they have put the cause since. I would love to know how many of the guys here who have this horrible horrible monster did and didn't chew.
I don't know how to get a list of you all who have filed claims to begin a research profile, but I think we should work together to do a profile. I am not only fighting for my husband, please understand that....I am fighting for all of you. We were at supper in Billings, MT the other evening, and an active duty Soldier after I'd gone to his table and thanked him and his wife for their service, came over and when he found out my hubby was a Viet-Nam Vet, thanked him for his service, and the fact it was what you all endured when you came home that has made all the welcome homes for all the soldiers since your era soooooo much more pleasant and painless to them and their families.
Our fights for your dignities at funerals is still on going, but we are die hards and won't give up, and trust me, I'm not giving up on this AO Fight either.
Please feel free to e-mail me at jacqlyn46@aol.com
My regards to you and yours.
Jacki

Natural_girl07
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

The effects can carry on for decades to come with children, etc....and I believe as a military brat was exposed to it on our own US bases. TCDD dixoin was noted in the ATSDR report on NAS Whidbey, pesticide resinate area. I lived there during the Vietnam war. My family has all had very strange health symptoms, especially my mother who became totally disabled with lyme disease. From my understanding, TCDD has been used in the US and Canada as well, not just Vietnam. Used to clear airfields, clear brush for railways, and testing in forested areas...i.e., Lyme Ct. Agent Orange was a huge mistake. Not only does TCDD cause cancer but diabilitating arthritus as well. I was diagnosed with juvinille RA while living there. Huge lumps on the knuckles and deformed fingers? It's calcified infection...bartonella...another bacteria as well as babesia used in Agent Orange, I believe.

TIM M
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2012

ON May 8, 2012 I discovered a lump in the right lymphnode in my neck. Since then I have had biopsies my right tonsil removed and teeth pulled to begin Radiation and Chemo. I was a Marine in Vietnam 1967-1968 I was also a smoker. My email address is tpmmarine@verizon.net I have gathered much information and have just begun. I am a retired Criminal Investigator/ State police. My nick name was Pittbull. 30 years never lost a case.

gypsygirl
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2013

Hello Tim,

I hope you have had success with your treatments and with your claim.  Unfortunately I have lost my husband of 39 years to lung cancer just this past December. He was just diagnosed early August. Large lung tumor and no time left.  He was stationed in Udorn Thailand with USAF as a pneudraulics repairman, 1969-1970.  Worked on the flightline.  Have put in to VA for death pension compensation but I'm concerned VA may not consider claim since he was a smoker and his cancer was Squamous Cell and Adenosquamous Carcinoma. Plan to continue with claim anyway as there was no one in his family who had lung cancer. Feel sure that exsposure to Agent Orange or what ever herbisides they used there contributed to his getting lung cancer.  

mommagakn
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2013

My father was discharged dishonorably from the Army due to an alcohol problem. He did serve two tours in Vietnam. He was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer mid  2004.  It had spread throughout his neck, lungs, brain and many other organs.He was granted military benefits and a military burial (neither benefits were fully given). He.was able to prove his illness was definately caused by agent orange. So there is hope for those of you who served your country faithfully! He died in December 2005.

jbarb12
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2014

I am a Vietnam Veteran and served in Vietnam from 1969 - 1970. I was diagnosed with Neck Cancer in 2012 with the primary site at the base of my tongue. I also had squamous cell carcinoma in the right side of my neck (lymph node) that formed a 6cm mass which was surgically removed followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I am amazed about how many veterans have contracted squamous cell carcinoma that served in Vietnam. Although squamous cell is not listed as one of the cancers recognized by the VA as associated with Agent Orange, there appears to be a large number of veterans coming down with this diagnosis that served in Vietnam. I feel that we as a group of veterans need to appeal the VA's decision about Squmous Cell not being reconized as a disease associated with agent orange. Also they (the VA) needs to look in the number of VietNam Veterans being diagnosed with head and neck cancer that served in VietNam.

 

MarineE5
Posts: 757
Joined: Dec 2005

Have you filed a claim? if so, Base of Tongue is not on the list, but you can appeal it. Base of Tongue, Tonsil cancer have been Granted in a individual basis when taken further in the process. Take a look at the VA site and check the Board of Appeals and rulings pertaining to Head and Neck cancers. Read a few claims and see what it takes to be Granted verses Denied. Letters in your Favor from your Doctors will help you.

"Welcome Home"

My Best to You and Everyone Here

jbarb12
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2014

Thank you fellow veterans and for the replies to us battling the VHA with appeals associated with Agent Orange exposure and squamous cell carcinoma. I will continue to search for appeals that have been won and post any found to this site. Thanks all that have shared. Once I gather more information, I plan to enlist the help of local congressmen and senators for support and file through a service organization. Best to you all.

Viet Vet 1969 – 1970.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network