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Squamos Cell Carcinoma/BOT Re: VA Claim

john_in_lc
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

I was diagnosed with base of tongue cancer in January and completed radiation, chemotherapy, and brachytherapy in May. In July I requested my compensation be raised due to a lot of exposure to Agent Orange in 67/68. Of course the VA denied (October) based on "not on the presumed cancer" list. Today I spoke with my attorney handling my case in the Appeals Court. He told me we had a "slam dunk" based on my medical records. OK...he is a Personal Injury lawyer in Philadelphia....but he is taking my case on a 20% contingency so he is doing the work and I am paying nothing. He claims to have won these cases before with his expert witness. I'm not getting my hopes raised but I'm not throwing in the towel with the VA. Today I mentioned this site to him. He did not mind me using his name. I don't know the rules and I am not soliciting for him, just trying to help fellow vets in the same situation. I will be glad to respond to email or on this site if you are interested. Again, I am not soliciting for this attorney and did not know of him or his law firm until I was referred to him. It has been my experience with the VA that they will, almost automatically deny a claim, when the cancer is not on the presumed list. Remember, I am only speaking of my own personal experience.

rldravis
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

I was diagnosed w/ BOT malignant squamous cell carcinoma 09/08. I went through Chemo/radiation/neck disection. Filed a claim w/ VA for agent orange related disability and was denied. I expected that and filed an appeal. All my treatment was at a VA hospital and they were great. several doctors said I was a low risk for this type of cancer because I am not a smoker or drinker, but have not recorded this in my medical records. I may need a good lawyer, so his name and phone# would be great.

john_in_lc
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

I haven't checked this board in a while.....His name is Steve Pennington, Esq. His e-mail is Spenningtonlaw@aol.com His phone number is (215) 564-2363. When I first e-mailed him, he responded almost immediately. I had not yet been denied (now have) so he could not take my case then, but took it after. I have already mentioned this board and asked if it would be OK to provide this information and he said no problem. I am in NM..he is in PA. If you feel like contacting me...my cell is (575) 644-3523......I'm not sure how quickly you will hear back from him now, because of the holidays. If you call...and it goes to my voicemail...I'll call you back as soon as I get the message.....

rldravis
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

Thanks for the info. My doctors are finally putting thier opinion that it was caused by agent orange in my medical records. i am sending them to the DRO(district review officer) that will make a decision on my appeal. I hope that will be enough. Did you have a neck dissection? Really think about it and research the after effects. they are brutal. I may call in the near future. The American Legion is my advocate at the present. They have had a lot of success w/ this type of cancer on appeal.

john_in_lc
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

When my family doc discovered my lump, and they finally diagnosed the SCC BOT, they just removed the lump (node) and went to the chemo and radiation. No dissection was even mentioned. When I questioned my ENT, he said he had no reason to do it because it appeared the only lymph node affected was the one that they removed. I was pretty lucky...

Spoke with my attorney just before the holidays. He is hoping my DRO will agree to discussing my case on a conference call. Knowing the VA, probably not. I was represented by the DAV but they were not very effective.

Hope things are getting better for you...Keep me posted on the VA progress...

If you want to chat, my cell phone is (575) 644-3523.....my personal email is ke5jwc@yahoo.com

Normaof68
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2010

My husband, a Nam vet, was diagnosed with squamous cell tonsil cancer two years ago. After radical lymph node surgery and extension radiation, he is expected to recover, but will probably never work again. Like so many of you, we filed a claim for benefits for Agent Orange exposure as a cause for his cancer (also for a severe hearing loss due to heavy artillery exposure). We, of course, were denied on both. I've found more than one discussion group on Agent Orange and tonsil/tongue cancer and have seen a few cases in which a veteran won his claim. At the web site http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=24159, a lawyer describes in detail how he won a tonsil cancer claim for his client on Agent Orange. I've copied the legal approach he describes and filed it for future reference. I'm wondering if any of you have considered the concept of a class action suit with several of us using the same attorney. If we could get tonsil/tongue (etc.) cancer on the presumptive list of Agent Orange cancers, a battle (if not the war) would be won. Power lies in multiple voices. Is it possible to branch into a new discussion board dedicated to the organization of a class action suit? Just a thought...

Maggz
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

Normaof68,

Did you get any responses in regard to a class action suit to get squamous cell tonsil cancer on the presumptive list? My husband also had squamous cell tonsil cancer and went through surgery and heavy radiation. We are trying to convince the doctor to write a letter stating that OA is the cause. (He was in Vietnam in 1967-68.) Any further information you may be able to share would be much appreciated! (We also had the odd coincidence of my being diagnosed with lymphoma, which IS on the presumptive list, 2-1/2 months before he got his squamous cell carcimona diagnosis.)

MarineE5
Posts: 743
Joined: Dec 2005

Maggz, I sent you a private message/ e-mail

CHeath
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2012

I discovered tonsil cancer in 2002 and was denied VA benefits for it. In 2009 I got tongue cancer and again denied benefits. Since then I have communicated with Mary Burr of the Institute of Medicine in Washington DC and she is putting together data on Tonsil cancer in Vietnam veterans. I was in Vietnam from Dec 68 to Nov 69. I am now trying to put together new information about how many Vets have this problem and added a couple of cases that were appealed and the finding was reversed in favor of the Vet. I don't know how a class action would work but it definitely is something to consider. I also have a friend who knows how to write a letter that the VA will understand so I am going to talk with him about it. I forgot to mention that I also had prostate cancer in 1997 and it has been successfully removed for almost 15 years now with only the usual side affects.

MarineE5
Posts: 743
Joined: Dec 2005

CHeath,

First, let me say "Welcome Home"

Second, Do you have a Veteran's Service Oficer (VSO) filing the paperwork for you? if not, locate a Veteran's organization such as the Vietnam Veterans of America, DAV, VFW,American Legion, etc to help you with the paperwork. The VSO is trained by the VA so that the paperwork is filed correctly.

Third, this one is important for you as you had Prostate Cancer. Prostate Cancer is on the List of Cancers related to Agent Orange and is presumed to be the cause of many Vet's in getting Prostate Cancer sooner then normal.

You should get the claim in soon and it should not take super long to get a rating. I mean that it should be decided within 1 year. The VA is back logged even though they are trying to move the claims as quickly as possible.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

richarddharrison
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm a Viet Nam vet, '67..just finished treatment for BOT Cancer. I'm interested in a class action suit if it will help get this cancer on the presumptive list. Can you sue the government? I have a chemist friend who is researching why this cancer could be caused by AO. Also, my doctor said it could have been caused by AO. My vet rep says that if esophagus cancer is on the list, and it's right next to the tongue, why not BOT Cancer. Anybody interested in emailing me, I'm richarddharrison@juno.com.  Semper Fi!

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