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VA disability for Mantle Cell Lymphoma (Vietnam Service)

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2014

I have just been diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Apparently it is directly related to my service in Vietnam. Has anyone had any experience in filing a VA claim? I am going to the DAV this morning and file the initial claim to get the date of claim locked in, and will talk to them about the procedure for getting VA disability. I would really like to hear from someone who has tried to get VA disability for this.


Chuck Leist

illead's picture
Posts: 681
Joined: Aug 2012

Welcome to the group.  My husband has MCL also.  I'm sorry, I cannot help you with VA info.  There are not too many on the site with MCL, but perhaps some can help you who have dealt with the VA with other forms of lymphoma.  I know that chromosome damage is a given, but I also read somewhere in my digging that pesticides etc. could be involved.   We both grew up here in the Sacramento Valley in a highly agricultural town during the 50's and 60's, pre regulations, and who knows what since then.  I very much  would be interested in knowing why they think it could be related to your service.  We all invite you to join us here anytime, we are a very supportive group and very willing to listen.  My husband Bill and I know what you are going through, it's not the greatest lymphoma to have for sure but no cancer is a friend.  I know you will respond well to your treatment though and they have a new "silver bullet" for relapse and the research is ongoing, so there is much room for optimism.

Our very best to you and your family as you fight this battle, Bill & Becky

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1965
Joined: May 2012


I have little familiarity with Mantle-type lymphoma. As Becky mentioned, it is quite uncommon (6% of all new NHL cases).  I used to receive my healthcare at VA, and worked as a vendor in the VA system for about a year in 2011 (I was never a VA Employee or a Federal Employee; my info is from the handouts they were giving the Vets).  At that time, a major initiative was underway in the VA system to provide services to persons confirmed to have Agent Orange-related illnesses.  My impression was that the determinzations were very bureauacratic:  Either your symptoms/disease were on the list of possible Agent Orange illnesses, or they were not. Cut and dried.

You did not mention if your claim is Agent Orange-related or not, but regardless, if you are claiming it is service-related, it will most likely have to be on one of their "Lists."   You are well-advised to use the DAV and any other administrative support you can get.  I always liked the care I got at VA, and their doctors are very good, although weighted down with tons of Federal red tape. At my local VA clinic (which is a large, regional office) all of their cancer treatments were contracted out to the local civilian hospital system's oncology center. I believe this is a common practice througout the VA .

The following is from a law firm, but reflects what I was saying about the "Lists" for accepted Vietnam-era illnesses. I have no relationship to them or any other law firm. The information is just a review of the new (2011) government policy .


This list does include Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, of which Mantle Cell is a form . It also says that if you were in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, you ar PRESUMED to have been exposed to herbicidal chemicals, and thus qualify .

The very best of luck with your efforts at VA, and in getting well,



Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2016

I am retired Navy.  Was first diagnosised with Mantle Cell NHL in July 2007.  Did R-CHOP+ chemo, 6 sessions, followed by BEAM and stem-cell transplant(my own cells).  I went into remission in Sept/Oct of 2007.  Was good until April 2014, it came back.  Did six sessions of Rituxan and Bendamustine, went into remission again in Sept 2014.  I now have two more sessions of chemo to go on a two year/12 sessions maintenance treatment of Rituxan.  I'm not going to go into all the details of the side effects, but there's been a few.

As far as the the VA.  I applied for disability the first time in August 2007 and didn't get anything for the cancer, but did get for bad left knee and ringing in the ears.  Applied again in April 2015 and did get 100% for Mantle Cell NHL plus a few % for chemo induced side effects.  My rating letter states that the VA is going to re-evaluate me in April 2017 to determine if there's been any improvement in my condition.  My oncologist just laughed when I told him that and he said he would write a letter.

Should have mentioned at the beginning.  I didn't go to Viet Nam, but I was an electronics tech the whole time and used TCE chemicals alot.  That exposure has been proved to cause Mantle Cell NHL, so I think that's what got me the rating.

Will try to add more as I get a chance - computer battery running out.

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