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nasopharyngeal cancer/Agent Orange link legislature

mickey24
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2005

Congressman Bradley of N.H. has introduced a bill to add nasopharyngeal cancer to the list of presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange during military service in Viet Nam. The bill is titled H.R. 3209. Please contact your Congressman/woman and ask them to support/co-sponser this bill. Thank you, Mickey24

vetswife
Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2005

Any Vietnam vets with nasopharyngeal cancer? My husband was in the Navy, on a ship, in the bay, in the Phillipines & Hong Kong. This cancer is common in those areas but not here in America. If you do have it, have you gotten any VA benefits for it? His cancer is gone after chemo & radiation. But the radiation has taken his sight, hearing, and saliva glands.

Mountain65
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2005

I'm a Desert Storm vet diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in 2004... have been cancer free following IMRT and chemo. Still on active duty. My understanding is that VA benefits should be available for effects of cancer, not cancer itself... I know its weird, but I think sight and hearing issues should be covered... Have you checked that aspect?

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

I am a Vietnam veteran and had nasopharyngeal cancer in 1998. About four years ago, I decided to file a claim with the VA. My claim was denied and am in the appeal process. There are several military members whose claims were approved, but many more with disapproval. I have done a lot of research. The VA will definitely not provide any type of VA benefit due to the effects of cancer, unless the cancer was a result of military service. Unfortunately, there were too few cases to link it with Agent Orange.

exmas57
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2006

I was stationed in vietnam, 3rd Marine Div for around 13 months, Hill 327 out side of Dinang and the other half of my tour in Fubi, if that is how they spell it, its been more than 40 years. I was there Between 1965 and 1966. I was med e vac to Japan for about six weeks, I had gotten into something, Parts of my body at different times would swell up, some times I could only wear one boot, then my eyes would close. Don't know what caused it. About 15 years ago, I operated on for Thyroid cancer, I've had had two or three Radiation treatments. The VA flat turned me down, its not on the list of cancers. Damaging your DNA can cause cancer, smoking, fatty foods, etc. Most anything. Now I have open the claim again, now they want me to prove I was in Vietnam, not on ship, they have my records, it clearly states he was in the 3rd Marine Div. Wonder where they think the 3rd Marine Div. was at that time? You know, Fubi looked like a luner land scape. The trees looked like drif wood. Wonder what caused that? There is hope for cancer treatments, and good luck with the VA. If you should hear any news that would cover my situation, send me an email. sammystavely@msn.com

wanda51
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2005

I was preparing to do more research bassed on your statment concerning the bill titled --"H.R.3209 introduced by Congressman Bradley"- However what I found regarding the Bill H.R. 3209 is as follows. Can you Please explain. My husband has Nasopharyngeal Cancer and was in Viet Nam in 1967-68
H.R. 3209 Title: To amend title 5, United States Code, to ensure that the level of compensation for a Federal employee ordered to military duty during the Persian Gulf conflict is not less than the level of civilian pay last received; to allow Federal employees to make up any Thrift Savings contributions forgone during military service; to preserve the recertification rights of senior executives ordered to military duty; and for other purposes"

vetswife
Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2005

I'm not sure where you got info on HR 3209 but this is what the Library of Congress has: H.R.3209
Title: To amend title 38, United States Code, to add nasopharyngeal cancer to the statutorily prescribed presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange during military service in Vietnam.
Sponsor: Rep Bradley, Jeb [NH-1] (introduced 7/12/2005) Cosponsors (2)
Latest Major Action: 7/20/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. COSPONSORS(2), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)

Rep Evans, Lane [IL-17] - 3/8/2006
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 7/14/2005

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

HR 3209 on nasopharyngeal cancer was created in the 109th Congress. A bill with the same number mentioned by Wanda was from the 105th Congress. The problem is that there are too few of us who had this cancer so the chance of it being enacted is very slim.

tsquare63
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2007

My father has nasopharyngeal cancer. He served in Viet Nam from 1965-66 and had heavy exposure to Agent Orange. Not sure if this discussion is still active, but I would be happy to join any efforts to enact legislation such as HR 3209.

vetswife
Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2005

It seems H.R.3209 did not get reintroduced because the sponsor did not get reelected. After other attempts, I again emailed the one reelected cosponsor Rep. Gutierrez to try to find out if he will reintroduce it. I have contacted my local Rep.Mary Bono but haven't gotten anywhere yet.

I suggest everyone email Rep. Gutierrez and their local Reps. Because this cancer is so rare, I'm trying to find out if we can get VA stats on how many Vietnam vets had Nasopharyngeal Cancer.

I don't know how many served in Vietnam. But the average number of Nasopharyngeal for the general American population is about 1 in 100,000 - 200,000.

I especially want to find out if any others that served on the U.S.S.Oriskany got it - or is my husband the only one? Since the population on a ship is so small, if even one other had it, that would be important. (Especially if more than 2).

Since Respiratory Cancers are already included that should be including Nasopharyngeal.
Even Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Nasopharyngeal cancer)says it is:
"Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a cancer originating in the nasopharynx, the uppermost region of the pharynx or "throat", where the nasal passages and auditory tubes join the remainder of the upper respiratory tract."

Here is the address Rep. Gutierrez's office told me to use: Natalie.Angelo@mail.house.gov

Does anyone else have any info. on what we can do?

ziggy9491's picture
ziggy9491
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2006

Can you let me know of any change on the approval of nasopharyngeal cancer. I am not having any luck out of the VA, I need all the help I can get. My doctor said my cancer most likely came from being in Nam. Thanks Woody

vetswife
Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2005

I've been researching for 3 years now. The bill in congress just went away when the politicians didn't get re-elected. I tried to get our CA congresswoman to pick it up. But since NPC only occurs normally in 1 out of 100,000 American men, my husband's probably the only one in her district. So she didn't do anything. And now we've had a new election. Maybe someone can get it going after the new year. My husband was in the Navy and until we hear further, Blue Water Navy aren't getting any AO benefits. I'm also wondering about the PCB's they had to get rid of before they could sink his ship, the USS Oriskany. Did you step foot in Vietnam? Did you have any medical issues while in the service? I hope your treatments have gone well.

toniY
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

My Father had Nasopharyngeal cancer as well. he was 47 when he was diagnoised in 1992. He was in the Navy in Vietnam. His doctor indicated he believed agent orange was the cause. He had radiation and lied 7 years in remission. He ended up lung cancer and passed away after surgery...

Mar
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

HI ToniY,

Do you happen to know which ship your father was on in Vietnam? Was it the U.S.S Coral Sea or the U.S.S. Oriskany by any chance? Please reply and let me know. My husband was just diagnosed with this cancer in Dec. 2008 and is battling it now. Trying to find a link for our Navy men and it seems that the Oriskany was the ship most mentioned in other blogs.
Sorry for your loss and I know he's very proud of you.

QuinCLG5
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

Thought I would throw my hat in. I was diagnosed with this cancer in 2005. Was treated with allot of radiation and 8 chemo treatments. So far the cancer is gone. I have several side effects. I have been trying to navigate through the system as well. I was stationed on the Oklahoma city, from 1971 though 1974. I was a gunner. We were exposed to emissions from the guns as well as asbestos, in addition to exposure to the agents that made their way by runoff into the bays and coastal areas around Vietnam. I would sure like help, and will give any I can.

lindaks
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2005

My husband was on the U.S.S. Enterprise from 1968-1972.  Went to Vietnam 3 times also was in the Phillipines.  He was diagnosed with stage 4 NPC in Oct 2005, underwent radiation and chemotherapy.  The Dr's did ask about being exposed to agent orange. He did survive, but has some effects from the treatments.  We did not even try to get VA benefits because we were told it would be denied.  The Enterprise had a huge fire on the flight deck in Jan 1969 burning several planes.  They carried agent orange on these planes and stored it on the ship.  Have you had any luck with your VA claim?  My email is linda_sullivan68@yahoo.com.  Thank you

Mar
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

Ziggy9491,

Were you in the Navy? If so, which aircraft carrier and when?

badkarma602
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2009

My father served on the U.S.S. Keyes (1962-1966) as a shipping clerk II- procurement and accounting of supplies. He was diagnoised with NPC in 1975 fought through treatments/any and every but passed in 1979. I filed a claim on behalf of my mother and i'm finding out my denied status is not the only one. Didn't know if the U.S.S.Oriskany was part of that same "fleet" or not but here is another example of Navy personal suffering from the same illness

Any updated information is helpful. Going to use the address you posted to contact Rep. Gutierrez's office and my local rep. thank you

vietnamvetwife68
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2009

My husband also had nasopharngeal cancer. But this makes it the 3rd time since 2005. Waiting for the treatment option from doctor. He served in the Marines in 1968.

vietnamvetwife68
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi. I'm new to this so bear with me.. My husband was once again diagnosed with this dreadful disease this past Friday. This is his third diagnosis since 2005. He first underwent radiation in 2005 then in 2007 but with one weekly dose of chemo with a daily shot of amofistin which helped immensly with dry mouth. Do not know why it wasnt given the first time around, I just wished I knew about it. But anyway we are now waiting for the plan of action to take place. Which from what I understand it may be the "target" method what the one doctor explained. Will meet with doctor on Wed on next week to discuss further. My poor husband has really endured alot. He did regain most of his taste back , but only God knows what will happen this time. He had a tube put in his left ear but it didn't help, so basically he can only hear out of his right ear, which he doesnt mind since that's the ear that I sit next to, so he can't hear much of what I have to say. But seriously he really trying to fight this. I just pray that God will give him another chance. Well guys, take care, If I can help in anyway....let me know...

Mar
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

My husband was just diagnosed with this cancer in Dec. 2008. He too served two terms in Viet Nam in the Navy and on the Oriskany beginning in 1968. Not only did you guys get shafted by fighting an unpopular war, you were not given the respect you deserved when you returned from duty. Does anyone have more recent updates? Besides Luis Guitterez, who else needs to be contacted?

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

Concerning Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), it is a double whammy for Navy personnel who served off shore. The VA had not allowed claims to Agent Orange. At present, the best thing is to await the decision of Jonathan Haas versus the VA. The case was reversed back in 2006 favorable to Navy personnel, but not finalized yet. Google his name or Blue Water Navy and follow the case. This is your best hope.

The second whammy is the cancer had been determined not to have been caused by Agent Orange. At present, it sits in the third category. If it can be moved up to Category 2, then we may stand a chance. Hope is not all lost since a doctor’s statement may give the veteran a small chance of winning his claim.

As you can tell from this thread, legislation is a method, but not the answer. I believe the Congressman had submitted the bill as a token response to a constituent’s request. There were only two other supporters. Unless there are many supporters, the bill would just have died and not go anywhere. There are 435 House members. A similar bill would also have to be introduced in the Senate.

The key is getting to the basics. The primary determination of what illnesses were associated with Agent Orange goes back in the early 90’s. The VA tasked Admiral Zumwalt to do a study and then ignored his recommendations. Then, the VA went to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of NAS was given the task of studying Agent Orange. The basis of VA’s final determination is probably from their biennual studies and reports.

As part of VA’s responsibilities, they were required to enter into the Congressional Record, a summary of what illnesses were caused by Agent Orange. Although NPC was in the category of limited/inadequate evidence, the VA’s decision was to enter into record in year 2002 that there was no association. That is now generally the basis for the disapprovals.

The IOM meets every two years. The last report was Agent Orange, Update 2006. The new committee members are from throughout the country and funded by the VA. They met three times in 2008 and are meeting again on February 10. The release, Update 2008 should be later this year or in early 2010. Unless there is a change in their recommendations, we sufferers of NPC will probably not be successful. Google IOM committee and Agent Orange for more information.

I started a thread and was hoping to get responses. I thought with a flood of letters to the committee with statistical data, we may have had a chance. I did submit a packet for their review. One testimony would probably not have significant impact.

dejohnso
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2009

I sent information to the IOM as well and have given the contact information to several other veterans that have tonsil cancer. The contact person is Mary Burr Paxton - if you send information on NPH or tonsil cancer or any others she will make sure it gets passed on to the correct person.

MPaxton@nas.edu
Mary Burr Paxton, PhD, DABT
Senior Program Officer
Population Health and Public Health Practice
Institute of Medicine
Keck 871, 500 Fifth St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 334-1731
fax: (202) 334-2939

vetswife
Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2005

I have been waiting years for someone to respond to my request for information on anyone else that served on the Oriskany and had NPC. The reason it's important is because now 2 known cases of NPC have occured with sailors from the Oriskany. The normal occurance of NPC in America is 1 man out of 100,000. The ratio for our 2 husbands is more like 2 out of ??. Estimating high with 3,000 men per tour times 2 tours per year from 1964 (my husband's first year) to 1968 (your husband's year)= 30,000 men. (Knowing that many of the men served more than one tour actually makes the total a lot less than 30,000) But even with these numbers 2 out of 30,000 is too high for coincidence. I don't know how to figure ratios but it's more than 6 times too high or is it 600%??

I don't know what the next steps are either but I'd like to talk to you. I believe this site allows for sharing emails. If not, please post here again and I'll find out how to get you my email.

I wish you the best treatment for your husband. It's been 15 years since they radiated and chemoed his cancer away. As I've noticed on other comments, he does have side affects from the treatments. But the cancer was cured.

vietnamvetwife68
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2009

anyone out there that has had this disease 3 times...Its seems that each treatment last for only a year and half....My husband was in the Marines in vietname back in 68. One doctor kept asking if he was in Japan....because it is very prevelant over there.. Check out the doctors who specialize in it.... I need help for my husband. Is there any out there!

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