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Agent Orange and Kidney Cancer

4330730
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2011

I would appreciate hearing from any Veterans who have been diagnosed with Kidney Cancer and had a kidney removed. I am trying to get the Dept of VA to admit that Vietnam Veterans had an exposure to Agent Orange which in time caused kidney cancer. Seems it is always the right kidney. This is my first post on Cancer Survivors Network - the date says December 31, 1969 5:00 pm when it is actually October 9, 2011 10:40 am! Was still a US Marine on Dec 31, 1969, and little did I know that some day I would suffer my time in the Marine Corps by losing a kidney.

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MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi,

I served in Vietnam for 2-1/2 years (2/67 - 8/69). A year after I returned home I got married and my wife became pregnant almost immediately. We lost the baby 7 months into her pregnancy to hydrocephalus and spina bifida. We had no idea until recently that Agent Orange could have cause this. We thought it was just one of those terrible things that happen to people. Back then, nobody was talking about Agent Orange. Besides, being in the rear with the gear at Nha Trang Air Base, I never even considered the possibility that I could have been exposed to Agent Orange. I thought that only the guys in the field were exposed to it. But come to find out there was a lot of that awful stuff sprayed in the hills surrounding the base. Since then a couple of guys I was stationed with have come down with cancer and eligible heart conditions. They are collecting benefits. My best friend, who served 2-1/2 years with me, died of lung cancer about 10 years ago and never realized he had been exposed, so of course he never knew he was eligible for benefits.

I had my left kidney removed in Aug. 2010. As far as my kidney cancer is concerned, the VA is not going to admit government responsibility unless some studies link AO with kidney cancer. One such study was done and released a few months ago -- info can be found here if you haven't heard about it: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2011/05/14/agent-orange-linked-to-kidney-cancer-study -- so we may be on our way to having them reconsider their past decisions about this. But, being a government agency, it will probably take them years to make a decision.

There's a possibility, of course, that my cancer was not caused by Agent Orange; there's no proof one way or another. There are other cancers and conditions that VA does recognize as having possibly been caused by AO and, therefore, anybody who has these and set foot in Vietnam during the war is eligible for benefits.

Welcome to the board and a belated welcome home also.

Mike

4330730
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Mike - thanks for the reply. My wife had 2 miscarriages too - we also thought it was just terrible things that happen. Now we realize more than likely it was caused by Agent Orange, just like the kidney cancer. When I had my kidney removed, I talked to the local VA and was told no connection so I didn't pursue it. That was 18 years ago. 8 years ago I started an official claim. My claim has been to D.C. and back to regional. I won't let it go! There evidently have been numerous claims that have been approved. Seems if one is approved, all should be approved. I am now awaiting an in-person hearing. All you have to prove is that it is as likely as not that the cancer could have been caused by AO. I have letters from 2 urologists and 1 internist saying that it could have been. The VA doctor who reviewed my records for the VA is a semi-retired peditrician. Go figure! My advice is to file a claim. It is going to go on the list in the future; meanwhile I will continue to press on!

Welcome home to you too! I was over "there" in 67-68 too.

David

sylvan75
Posts: 30
Joined: Sep 2009

The VA does pay disability for Diabetes. I had a partial nephrectomy done in 12/09 I filed a claim and was approved to receive disability. Check this website out:
Diabetes.org/living-with-Diabetes/Complications/Agent-Orange-And-Type-2-Diabetes.html.
I was in the Navy but was on land and in the inland waters of Viet Nam. The VA officially declared that exposure to Agent Orange can lead to Diabetes in 2009. You can go to the VA website and fill out the claim form on-line. You will have to go through a hearing and the process takes a few months but it will be approved.

Mikelp
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2011

I am a 62 yr old male that served in Viet Nam 69-70. According to the spray map we were in the heaviest sprayed area. In 2005 I had an emergency appendectomy and the cat scan also showed a growth in my left kidney. I went through numerous tests in the radiology department and they concluded no cancer. I went one step further and consulted a urologist who suggested after tests to have the left kidney removed and yes it did test positive for cancer.Two years later I was laid off and lost my health insurance so I went to Veterans in Denver and was excepted. My doctor has continued follow up since and I started reading up on agent orange. I brought it up to her and immediately she pulled a little white book out and showed me that the VA does not recognize renal cancer as a condition of agent orange but low and behold every organ around the kidney ie: lymph nods,prostate,liver,lungs and even diabetes. Every article that I have read suggests that
the kidney cancer vet get legal representation and usually has a good chance of collecting. Well not all off us have the resources for this. This just sounds like a typical goverment cover up to me.

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Once the VA makes up its mind (or in this case doesn't make up its mind) about something, that's it until they are convinced otherwise. Veterans who complain are more often than not, ignored or discouraged by the paperwork and long waits. In other words, the VA is a typical government bureaucracy. The recent study I mentioned in the earlier post is a step forward and I believe the VA someday, hopefully before all Vietnam vets die off, will add kidney cancer to their list of AO-related conditions. Unfortunately, I never heard of a lawyer being able to force the VA to provide a veteran with benefits for a disease that is not on their AO list. As far as cover-ups go, our government has had a lot of practice at it.

hart1249
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2011

My husband was diagnosed May 26th of 2011. He passed on Oct 5th. I filed a claim with the local VA office. We found articles that Agent Orange has been linked to Kidney Caner. Don was in Viet Nam in 1968-1969. I wish we had found this information while he was still here. The VA office told me it will take about a year to hear anything on the application. But when and if Kidney Cancer is added to the list they will backdate any benefits to his family.

aleatha10
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2011

I too am a widow my husbund died of kidney cancer he also served in Viet Nam the VA denied my clam thanks for litsoning

flatlander's picture
flatlander
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

My old girlfriends Dad had agent Orange problems since Nam. After college we.broke up and.married others. She heard I have kidney cancer and said her Dad the Nam vet just Got.over same .... He is cancer free in Pennsylvania since surgery....

Here is a funny fact, if you are a firefighter with kidney cancer (like me) it will be in the left kidney they tell me.

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roaddr23
Posts: 77
Joined: Jan 2013

That is very interesting about the left kidney/firefighting. I am a retired FF/PM. My cancer was in my left kidney also.I retired in 1999 and was diagnosed in 2002 and had a left nephrectomy. I now have 2 tumors in my right kidney. There were several F/F in our department that died from Kidney cancer. We were exposed to many things in the FD that could cause it...deisel fumes from engines idling on accident scenes etc. and there were some other things also. The twist in my case is that my paternal grandmother had it when she was 50, had a nephrectomy and lived to her upper 80's. I love geneaology and hooked with a guy from Penn from her family line so I asked him if he knew of anyone else in the family that had had kidney cancer and he said he had it at 36 but he thought it was from agent orange in Vietnam. But it does make me wonder about a different angle for you guys if they are fighting the Agent Orange thing...two I can think of are exposure to asbestos and cadium...and I know when I researched this in 2002, it mentioned some paints, also working around auto..like engines etc. I wish I could find that site...but I remember telling some of my firefighter friends about these things back then. My husband's cousin died several years ago and his family ran a used auto parts business, they still do and he had kidney, bladder and thyroid cancer and remember thinking about that list I had found back there and thinking it could have easily been connected to his work. Just a thought. And I sincerely Thank each and everyone of you including the widows for your service and your sacrafice. It is greatly appreciated. My nephew is fighting with the VA right now. He was a Sgt in the Marine Corp and did 3 tours in Iraq..on the last one he was the only survivor when his Humvee hit an IED. He has been diagnosed with a deep delayed onset Traumatic Brain Injury. He suffers terrible seizures and migraines, balance problems.I just talked with him yesterday because my surgery on my right kidney is scheduled for Feb 8. A partial nephrectomy done robotically..Hopefully, all will go well but being a realist I called him and told him I was going in to sign my will on Monday and I wanted to leave $500.00 to a Veterans Org and he chose the Wounded Warrior Project.

callmesara
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

My husband had his kidney removed in 1988 at Womack Army Hospital in Fort Bragg NC. He pulled three tours in Vietnam. VA denied him also even though he had prostrate and bladder cancers along with this cancer. Prostrate was on the list but they still denied him. He eventually died 2/16/2005 from dual lung cancers. SFC Milton R. Johnson 5th SF.

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Very sorry for your loss. I don't know the specifics of your husband's military service in Vietnam but it seems wrong that he was not approved for prostate cancer. You're right, it is on the list. Here is what the VA says about it:

"VA presumes Veterans' prostate cancer is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans exposed to herbicides do not have to prove a connection between their prostate cancer and military service to be eligible to receive VA benefits."

Also:

"Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of prostate cancer may be eligible for survivors' benefits."

In fact, lung cancer is also on the list.

Have you filed for lung cancer? Have you filed an appeal of their decision about the prostate cancer? If not, I would certainly do so.
Regards,
Mike

callmesara
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

Thanks Mike,

I took over filing his appeals each time they denied them, I stupidly told them about his lung cancer after he was diagnosed in fall of 2004. They amended his claim and approved the claim only for the lung cancer and only from the fall 2004 date instead of the 2002 date of original claim for prostrate, bladder and kidney (cancer) removal. He developed inoperable kidney cancer again in 2004 but it was slow growing. Therefore he still had that cancer along with lung cancer when he died. He was approved for lung cancer and rated 100% one week after he died but they took it back because a dead man cannot collect and refiled under my name. I finally received DIC and retribution in May of that year. His so was a real pill. Since he filed in my name he did not mention the prostrate from before.

Sara

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2066
Joined: Oct 2011

So sorry. Too much to go through. Some of here still have it quite easy. Comparatively.

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Sara,

I am not really familiar with the filing process so I'm afraid I am having a hard time understanding what you mean. What do DIC and retribution actually mean? Am I to understand that you are now collecting his disability from the prostate cancer at his 100% rating? Maybe I'm wrong but my limited understanding is that if somebody is rated 100% then he is getting all of the benefits there are to get. So, it must be the retroactive benefits you should be getting from the 2002 filing for lung cancer?

And what were you saying when you typed, "His so was a real pill"? His SON was a real pill? His son filed in your name? In any event, if you are still entitled to anything from the government, I hope you persist until you get it. It is likely that your husband's medical problems were caused by Agent Orange after spending 3 years in a war zone inhaling the residue and he deserved to have that fact recognized and be reimbursed for it. I just hate government bureaucracy and its callousness.

Regards,
Mike

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garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

AMEN to that!!!

callmesara
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of certain deceased veterans. My husband died on the 16th of February. The veterans administration stops his pay on the day of death. Therefore in March I knew they would take his check back, which they did. I had to make an appointment with a local service officer here in Wilmington which was his SO. He was the one who initially filed his claim for the prostrate and bladder cancers. The retribution was his final pay plus other monies they owed him but were made payable to me.
I am afraid that the government is not the most helpful to have to depend on.

wavesine
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2012

I lost my right kidney also I thing it has a connection to veitnam 1972 what supportive doctors would confirm that I live in las vegas nevada I'll be waiting for your response thanks

wavesine
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2012

I think there might be a connection with agent orange and my right kidney that had to be removed with a tumor what supportive doctors would confirm that who would I get in contact with I am on the veitnam agent orange resgistry I'll be waiting on your response thanks

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi,
Thanks for your service.
Kidney cancer is not yet recognized by the VA as a disease that can be attributed to Agent Orange. You can file a claim with the VA if you want but there's not much chance of it being approved. Getting a letter from your doctor to file with your claim would be helpful. I have read online somewhere that the doctor's letter should indicate that he or she believes there is more than a 50-50 chance that your kidney cancer could have been caused by Agent Orange. Even if your case is not approved, you can file again if and when the VA puts kidney cancer on its list of Agent Orange diseases and the benefits should be retroactive to when you lost your kidney. You're like the rest of the veterans who have had kidney cancer -- we just have to wait for them to add it to the list, something I think they will eventually do because a recent study supports the fact that it can be attributed to AO. Visit the VA web site listed below for more information:
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp

Regards,
Mike

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

The American Urological Association released a study done at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Sheveport, La. showing that agent orange was linked to renal cancer. You can look this up on the internet. I think that enough of us file a diability claim them maybe that will make them add the cancer. Call 1 410 977 4770 and speak to Wendy Isett concerning this report.

Costner1
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2012

I had a Radical Nephrectomy in 2009 clear cell carcinoma.Was in I Corps with 3/26 and 2/26 USMC 68,69,70.

How do we get info to Doctors in Louisana I know another Marine with same issues. Both Right Side.

ashleyj888
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2012

This is my first time posting. My father was one of the members in that research study. Unfortunately, he was the one that passed away. There are numerous research projects showing that kidney cancer is related to Agent Orange. It would really help my mother out if she was able to receive benefits. She has already made a claim. So I guess we will wait and see.

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

The American Urological Association released a study done at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Sheveport, La. showing that agent orange was linked to renal cancer. You can look this up on the internet. I think that enough of us file a diability claim them maybe that will make them add the cancer. Call 1 410 977 4770 and speak to Wendy Isett concerning this report.

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi Roggy,
Yes I've heard about the report. That's the first. More will be forthcoming I'd wager. And reports like that are what will make the VA stand up and take notice. I don't plan to file a claim until kidney cancer is officially recognized. I had so much stress and aggravation when applying for health care benefits that I don't want to go through that again anytime soon. Besides, with all the hollering about the federal budget these days, if they think there are only a few of us affected they might be more inclined to add it to the list.
Regards,
Mike

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Typically intelligent comment on your part Mike but what a disgrace that the problem exists at all.

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

It is going to be hard to get the v a to service connect renal cancer with agent orange but I would file on it any way. Maybe later on down the road they will list it as one of the cancers caused by A O.

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

I had my left kidney removed due to cancer. I served in Korea 1969/70 during the spraying of agent orange. I also had NH Lymphoma and diabetes type 2 both of which are service connected but they denied me for Kidney cancer which I think is wrong.

Ubatz
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

I lost my left kidney as well due to cancer I sevedin Vietnam 1967-1969. I too hve also aquired type 2 diabetes. I am bein compensated for the diabetes but no the kideny cancer. I think it is wrong too. Ibelieve there is a connection to agent orange. I had the surgey in 1987.

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

I filed a Notice of Disagreement on my kidney cancer claim from Jan. 2011...In Oct. 2012 I received a reply. They approved me with a rating of 60%...I had letters from doctors which helped with my claim. One of the letters was from a V A doctor....So it pays to fight for your disability.....

Ubatz
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

4330730,
This is my first post/reply on Cancer Survivors Network.
I am a Vietna Veteran. I to had kidney cancer. Lost my left kidney, cancer killed the kidney and it was contained in the tumor. I had is done in April of 1987. I filed as well but they told me that they couldn't make a connecton for compensation. I keep checkin on their determinations to see if they upgraded to include Renal Cancer but nothing to date.

VietnamMarine
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2012

I was just diagnosed in the past week with kidney cancer... I had a dull pain in lower back and went to my local VA clinic and they scheduled the CT Scan and found the tumor on my left kidney.
I'm scheduled for surgery on May 17th with the Da Vinci robotic surgery procedure to hopefully only remove the tumor and leave me some kidney. Chest x-ray results came back today and I'm good there so I'm optimistic that they'll get it all.
I have already informed my urologist that I Will NOT undergo chemo of any form no matter what. I am going to follow a regime of getting my mineral and vitamin levels built up to normal+ and I believe that I can cure myself by getting my system back in balance to fight it's own battle.
There are just far too many of us coming down with renal cancers and I'm convinced that there is a direct link to Agent Orange. And here is a study conducted at Shreveport, LA VA Hospital that supports our suspicions that there IS a link to AO.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2011/05/14/agent-orange-linked-to-kidney-cancer-study .

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

VM,

As of yet chemo is not effective in this fight anyway, but there are a few drugs and clinical trials showing promise. Hopefully surgery and the approach you have chosen is all you will ever need, but there is another option that might appeal to you. Check out Gerald White's MAARS program, no chemicals, just a book and CD that can help you teach your immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells naturally, and the cost is minimal. Mr. White is a 20 plus year survivor of RCC after being given 3 months to live at one point. He is dedicated to helping others do the same.

Good luck and Godspeed,

Gary

suecons
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2011

My husband served in Viet Nam from 1967 to 1968. In March of 2008 he had his right kidney removed due to a very large tumor. We were told at that point that the tumor was cancerous but was contained and that the margins were clear. In April 2010 a ct scan revealed that it had spread to his lungs. After many targeted therapies, drug trials, he succumbed to this disease in July 2011. All of his doctors have attributed his disease to agent orange.
Both his parents are alive and healthy 87 and 92. His last days were horrible as he also suffered from PTSD. I have filed a claim, actually a week before he died he asked me to do it, When asked by the VA why, he replied "so my children know I did not die in vain". I am so angry that this chemical has taken my wonderful husband from me. Even when the VA adds it to their list, which I am confident it will, it will not bring back my husband.

shirley 103
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

I am so grateful that I found this site. My husband also servrd in Vietnam. In 2009 he started having pain in his left leg. He went to the VA clinic,asking for an ex-ray and was denied. He was told that he had burcitus,was given pain pills and sent home. As the months passed the pain became unbearable. He returned to the clinic demanding an ex-ray. They continued to tell him that he was getting older and had burcitus. Through his crying out in pain they agreed to perform an ex-ray. Nothing was said to him as he left to drive home. Later on during the same day he heard a pop,more pain and ask me to call 911. He was examined and told that his bone broke and that he would need sugery asp. H ewas diagnosed with kidney cancer that spread to the bone. Two months later he had his kidney removed. Dr. told him that the cancer sat in his kidney for years. In Jan. of 2011 my husband passed away at the age of 69. His doc. also told us that he had several Vietnam Vets with kidney cancer that could be associated with Agent Orange. We were turned away from receiving any help.I am still fighting with them and I will continue to do so. I miss my husband very much. I was cheated out of many happy years with him.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Another terrible story of shameless mistreatment - how can they treat Vets in that way?  So sorry for your loss.  Do keep on fighting and I hope with all my heart that you and others in your situation will win. Your Country owes you no less than the justice you are seeking.

shartn2174
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

I'll be 60 this month. Was diagnosed with tumor on my left kidney last November 11, 2011, Veterans day! How fitting. Was informed that it is stage 4 because they also found spots on my lungs. Had my left kidney removed the day after Thanksgiving, 2011. Have been on an oral chemotherapy, (Sutent), since January. Also am in a clinical study where I have to inject myself every day with a medicine that has no name, just numbers and letters. Served in the US Army in Viet Nam from 1970 through 1971. Drove a semi and delivered supplies all over the northern half of the country, from Khe Sahn to Qui Nhon. I know I was exposed. Just filed a claim at the VA but was told kidney cancer not recognized. I've seen the article about the study done in LA. Also found the American Cancer Society lists workplace exposure to herbacides as a cause for kidney cancer. Posted the article on my facebook page so others will know. Can any one pass along any information about who should be contacted/informed about this so the VA takes our claims seriously. Thanks, Steve Hartnett

fastdog47
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

I was in Vietnam 1967 and 68. I had agent orange sprayed on me. I had my left kidney removed in 2001. My claim was denied. If you hear anything you can send me a email at rupchuck21@yahoo.com

mimisandtoo
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

I too am a widow, my husband was stationed in Bien Hoa Vietnam in 1967-1968 . He was diagnosed with Clear-cell Renal Cancer in Aug. 2004 he had a Radical Nephrectomy of his right kidney on Nov. 1, 2004. He passed away on Nov.2, 2009 from the cancer. All three of his doctors told me it was just as likely as not that agent orange caused his cancer only I can’t get a letter from the doctors. One passed away and the other two work for VA and refused to put it in writing. My husband had a claim filed with VA since 2006 for his Kidney Cancer which was denied. I am continuing his claim but have been denied too. I am now waiting for the final hearing. mimisandtoo@hotmail.com

suecons
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2011

That is when my husband served also. Hopefully someday the government will acknowledge the destruction they caused.

moose_1969
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

I had Bladder tumor removed in February of 2005 an tumor removed in August of 2009 and lipoma that was suspected to be a sarcoma removed in March of 2011 which has grown back and is being watched very closely.I also have had Erratic PSA readings that is under control through medication I believe these cancers are caused by agent orange I am a victim of the Blue Navy Water that congress won't pass.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

It's painful to read what a rotten deal you guys have had. I hope the pressure can be increased so that the authorities can't get away with waiting it out until you've all gone away. More power to your elbows guys!

betlou123
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

I am the wife of a Vietnam vet who had had prostate cancer, kidney cancer and now Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I am an advanced practice nurse who worked with Nam vets in the PTSD VA program so I am really close to what all you men and a few women have been through. It is very important that your cancers get registered so want to get you the info about my husband's cancer of the kidney. It was a right kidney although I cannot see how the right one would be affected more than the left-will research this further. He had the kidney removed in 2001. Cancer does not run in his family but after Nam he was sent to a post where his office was in the building complex where old Navy nuclear weapons were stored and the soldier's badges went off warning them of nuclear exposure frequently. Something which didn't help his 2 tours of exposure in combat to Agent Orange in Vietnam fight off cancer one bit, I'm sure. I better stop writing this before I start getting really angry. Betty McDonald-Brown betloubrown@comcast.net

suzr
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi, My husband is a Vietnam Vet who was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer at the age of 54 and had a right nephrectomy. Marvin was in areas of Vietnam in 1969 that were the most heavly sprayed with AO. Also most people dont think about Agent White. This was used for misquitos and was sprayed every where. We are in an eight year battle with the VA about Marvin's kidney cancer.

It is shameful the way he has been treated. Marvin also has benign tumors on both adrenal glands and this is called hyperaldosterronism. He is Hypothyroid, he has maligant hypertension, and takes 32 pills a a day for HBP, all connected to AO. I have read every thing I can find and I believe his Kidney Cancer was caused from AO. Let me know how I can help

thanks
Suzan Rhodes
suzanrhodes@aol.com

messsarge
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2012

I was in Viet Nam in 1968 and 1969. I had my right kidney removed in november of 2009 and 18 lymph nodes removed in november of 2010 , one had cancer , I applied with the VA but was denied I have filed an appeal and am waiting for response . I am now writing letters to doctors trying to get them to say cancer could be caused br agent orange.

Pamelaquaz
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

My husband died in 09, today was the first day I looked at a kidney cancer board since. I hope I can help a little bit. I won his case and he got the 100%service connection for renal cell carcinoma due to agent orange.

I think all I can do is list the things I found out in winning my case. It is not easy. the bureaucracy makes it complicated.
First look at all the archived cases from the VA board of appeals. You will find them at the VA.gov website. Last I checked there were a couple of dozen wins for Kidney Cancer. Search for that and search for renal cell carcinoma.
Www.bva.va.gov, then click on Search Decisions

It is not on the "list." All this means is you have to prove a Medical Nexus in addition to proving service in an Agent Orange location and proving that you do have Kidney Cancer.

To prove service connection to Agent Orange location you have to have a Viet Nam Combat Action Ribbon. If you don't, maybe there are other ways to prove that, check the archived cases.

To prove medical nexus you must first provide proof that your doctor who writes the letter is an expert in Kidney Cancer. Because the doc you see at the VA as part of the application for benefits won't find any reason to say that your cancer was caused by agent orange, until it ends up in a place "on the list" such as lungs. Which resets your date when you finally win, you don't wnat this to happen. If you have a general oncologist it would be worth a trip or more to be seen by an expert, An expert is one who writes published papers, is head of A University dept., things like that. I had two experts write letters. I found one expert throughvthe VA and one thru a clinical trial.

You must use a service organization to help you. Not those guys who sit at thedesk at the VA but get those guys to assign someone to you.

Finally the wording of your medical nexus letter is critical. Help hte dr.s know how to word it by searching the archives. I think it has to say something like "significantly more likely than not" . This is only my memory so please research the archives. If the dr. Says stuff like "in my opinion" or "probably" it will get kicked out. You will probably have to appeal, be sure and keep the appeals and disagreement letters timely, the whole case will be lost if you miss a filing date. And sadly in my experience the veteran had to still be alive or everything was lost. Maybe that's changed.
I hope this helps someone. I found in the end that everyone was helpful, even everyone in the VA. They ate just trying to work within the rules. My case took about three years I think.

vietvet
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

The Pamelaquaz post is one of the most comprehensive posted on this site. However, let me provide everyone with my perspective. I am a USMC Vietnam Vet from 1966. I had my right kidney removed in August 2009 after a CT scan for a hernia revealed a 10+ cm tumor. This month makes 3 years since I filed my original disability claim with the DVA. Per various sources, it appears that I have approximately 2 more years until this claim is finalized.

First, let me say to all of you that decided not to file a claim and instead wait for RCC to be added to the DVA's "Presumptive" list..... you will not receive any disability payments for those years that you didn't file a claim. Payments are retroactive back to a Veteran's original file date. Currently, 100% disabled benifits pay for a single Veteran is $2,769.00 per month. If you compute this over the expected 5 year cycle of a disability claim approval, you get a total sum of $166,140.00, tax free dollars. I guess you know what I would suggest.

Secondly, many of the various Veteran Service Officers that represent your respective State, or service organization; e.g., DVA, VFW, etc., are always helpful, but not extremely effective. My suggestion is that you take control of your own destiny, and handle your own case. Become involved! The Internet has unlimited resourses for you to use, including blog sites, such as this one.

When you begin to craft a strategy, think about this one.... first, understand that there is NO way to prove what the causative factor was for your RCC; thus, you must DISPROVE the probability of any other known causative factor, except for Agent Orange. Remember, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has ruled that "a veteran need only demonstrate that there is an 'approximate balance of positive and negative evidence' in order to prevail". Therefore, you strategy is simply to establish the principle of reasonable doubt, that any other causative factor, except AO, could have been responsible.

Without trying to split hairs, here are the universlly accepted suggestive causes of RCC: Hereditary/Genetic predisposition, Environmental Factors of the Work Place - (Exposure to coal dust, cadmium, asbestos, petroleum products, dry-cleaning solvents, radiation, and other toxins), Environmental Factors of Personal Health - (Obesity, hypertension caused by high blood pressure, diabetes disease, and smoking), Environmental Medical Factors -(Previously received treatments of Chemotherapy, Dialysis, and Radiation).

Take these suggestive causative factors and have them systematically elimated by having your doctor(s) overlay them with your medical history. Help these doctors craft a letter that demonstrates and opines that AO is the "More Likly Than Not" causative factor. In my case, I wrote the letters, put them on a flash drive, and took them to my doctors for his approval and/or minor editing. Not a single one said NO.

As for these letters of "NEXUS".... although it has been stated to get experts with notable, published, credentials, it is not necessary, although preferred. Just make sure that your doctors have their letter of opine signed and notarized with a copy of their resume, and a listing of any publications that they may have authored for medical journals.

I suggest that you solicit letters from a General Practitioner, Urologist, and Oncologist. It is also suggested that you look at the possibility of getting letters of opine from a known Epidemiologist that is well acquainted with Agent Orange. Just remember this.....you never get, unless you ask. You wouldn't believe how many AO and Toxicology experts are sympathetic towards our plight, and have a sense of patriotism for us veterans.

Go for it!

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

I filed a Notice of Disagreement on my kidney cancer claim from Jan. 2011...In Oct. 2012 I received a reply. They approved me with a rating of 60%...I had letters from doctors which helped with my claim. One of the letters was from a V A doctor....So it pays to fight for your disability.....Yes I got in the thousands of dollars back pay from my claim....It pays to file....

Roggy
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2012

I filed a Notice of Disagreement on my kidney cancer claim from Jan. 2011...In Oct. 2012 I received a reply. They approved me with a rating of 60%...I had letters from doctors which helped with my claim. One of the letters was from a V A doctor....So it pays to fight for your disability.....Yes I got in the thousands of dollars back pay from my claim....It pays to file....

drew00
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

 

                                              

 

 

 

vfwjmartin
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2014

Thank you for you information. I have been fighting for my kidney loss for 14 years, I lost both kidneys to cancer and my daughter gave up one of hers so that i may live, Anyone that would send me a copy of there disition  showing that they recieved disiability and copinsation would be greatly appriciated.I am going to try and expose the va for allowing some to recieve diability while others are left to keep fighting or die trying.I am not sure  how much longer i have, I am going on six years from my transplant and i will not go through dialisis again, But i will die trying to get what i am entitled too.Please forward anything that may help me in my fight. The va needs to be exposed for what they are (coruped).allowing only a few to recieve disability and not all who are sufering is irresponcible. Please contact me.  vfwjmartin@hotmail.com.     Thank you for your service and God Bless.

 

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