Legislative Alert on Agent Orange and Throat Cancer

Normaof68 Member Posts: 5
edited September 2017 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

Consideration is now being given to moving throat cancer into the Agent Orange presumptive categories by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Your immediate support is needed. My husband, a Nam vet who was disabled by surgeries and treatments for tonsil cancer 9 years ago, and I have been contacting Iowa Senators Harkin, Grassley, and Ernst and Representative Bruce Braley repeated for the past 7 years to bring this issue to legislative approval. Senator Ernst moved the issue to the committee. Below are the research and data we provided numerous times. Please contact your senators with the following research and any additional information you have and ask them to support the Agent Orange and throat cancer legislation currently under study by the committee. Also, please share this information through social media and other networks. Thank you and good luck. Sincerely, Norma and Bill Lynch, Marshalltown, Iowa.


I am seeking your support for legislation currently being considered by the Senate Veterans Affairs Commission regarding tonsil cancer and related throat cancers as a result ofAgent Orange exposure in Vietnam. As you may know, Nam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange and were subsequently diagnosed with cancer are eligible for benefits if their cancer falls into the “presumptive” categories which “presume” that their cancer was caused by Agent Orange exposure regardless of other factors. Squamous cell cancer of the tonsils is linked to the presumptive categories, but not included. Please take into account the following issues as you consider legislation to help hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Nam vets who have been disabled by tonsil and other throat cancers.

·         Tonsil and throat cancers are not included in the presumptive categories despite the fact that they are systemically linked to the presumed categories that include cancer of the larynx, lung, trachea, bronchus and other related conditions.  

·         The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies was commissioned in 2006 by the federal government to conduct a study on tonsil cancer and Agent Orange exposure. The results called for additional study due to “inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine association” of tonsil cancer and Agent Orange. (Veterans and Agent Orange, 2006

·         The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in a report on veterans and Agent Orange recommended in 2010 that “work needs to be undertaken to resolve questions regarding health outcomes, most importantly COPD, tonsil cancer. . . " (www.iom.edu/Reports/.../Veterans-and-Agent-Orange-Update-2010.aspx‎)

·         Logically, the reason for insufficient evidence of tonsil cancer victims is due to the demographic phenomenon that the majority of Baby Boomers had their tonsils removed. Tonsil cancer (squamous cell) is a relatively rare diagnosis. When one takes into account the small number of Nam vets who had tonsils and were subsequently diagnosed with the cancer, the research is persuasive. However, the difference between the general population and Nam vets cannot be termed "statistically significant" because so few people are in the compared groups.

·         The issue of squamous cell tonsil cancer (linked tonasopharyngeal carcinoma and other throat cancers) as a result of Agent Orange exposure is significant enough that a number of web sites are devoted to Nam vets who are suffering from these diagnoses. An online search using any one of the linked cancer diagnoses plus the term Agent Orange brings up multiple sites.

 ·         Legislation to include nasopharyngeal carcinoma as a presumptive cause of Agent Orange exposure was introduced by Senator Badley (New Jersey) in 2005 but it never came to fruition. (Senator Bill Bradley H.R. 3209)



  • nikolaf
    nikolaf Member Posts: 50
    This is great...  it should

    This is great...  it should be included.

    My father is on agen orange disability from the VA for Lung Cancer and he has a Heart claim in, as well.