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spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Welcome to the Military Cancer Survivors discussion.

I asked the Cancer Survivors' Network to start a discussion specifically for us for many reasons. I am an active duty cancer survivor (colon) and I saw first hand the many unique implications a cancer diagnosis has for us and our families. From an extreme spectrum of quality of care to administrative issues to performance evaluations to the professional stigma sometimes associated with being a "cancer patient". I wanted for us and our families to have a safe place we can go to talk about these types of issues - without fear of getting an "I don't know - I don't care attitude" or invoking some kind of perception/stigma (whether real or percieved).

I've brought along some friends with me - Mike is an oncology nurse and said he will be happy to help out with treatment-related issues - although, remember he's NOT a doctor. Kat is a military attorney with 14 years of experience. As I said, I am an active duty guy (23 years E-1 to O-4, for now anyway) who is also a cancer survivor and I'm always up for working "the systems"!

I am looking forward to seeing what you have to say and putting my crack team - and other survivors like you - on the case to answer questions, provide support, just let you vent, or kick you in the butt when necessary!

Now, quit reading and get writing!

- SpongeBob (see my webpage here at acs csn)

Posts: 23
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello Bob;
Congratulations on your efforts to establish this new discussion board. I'm a Bob as well, retired Navy, E-1 to O-4, and am approaching 11 months RP post-op for prostate cancer. Things are coming along fine with my recovery but I am having a bit of heartburn over the bitter pill of the concurrent receipt issue. Four tours in and around the RVN in the 60's and 70's and the Agent Orange ruling got me a bit of VA compensation for my condition. However, as you are probably aware, our retirement pay is reduced by a like amount, whereas a non-retiree in the same situation actually draws the cash compensation. So, if you need a non-medical drum to beat for military folk (retirees , that is) we need a continued push for our congressmen and especially the current administration to rectify a very unfair practice.
Good luck with this site, Bob, and I will try to visit often to see how things are progressing.

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Sailor -

Good to chat with another mustanger... Since I'm still A/D, I was unaware of the problems with concurrent receipt. Sounds like it ranks up there with the double-dipping issues of by-gone days. At least they had the smarts to make that go away. Thanks for the drum - gonna talk to Kat about it and see what she can dig up - time to hit the books.

Congrats on being clean for nearly a year, Bob. Keep up the good fight and I hope to hear more back from you!

- SpongeBob

alycestewart's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2001

Hi, my name is Alyce and I am a military spouse and a 10 year renal cell survivor. My right kidney and adrenal gland were removed in Augsburg, Germany in the German hospital. I have seen a gamit of military physicians over the years-the good-the bad-and the ugly. Had it not been for my perserverance and a good German doctor working for the military who listened I might not be here today. I was told everything from my "underwear was to tight" to "You're that age"-whatever that meant but I was not listened to. After my surgery I ran into more problems-I have just returned to the US aftyer 17 years in Germany-my husband worked for the DoD and we were stationed in Berlin, Augsburg, and Heidelberg.
I will do whatever I can to help the military get the care they need. Drawdown and downsizing has effected the military medical care drastically and this needs to be addressed. I understand that the military come first and I believe that they should but family members and retirees are important to that military personnel and this system needs to be fixed. So I am here and ready to help in anyway I can.

Thank you for starting this group and I am sorry I haven't joined sooner.

Tigger35's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2005

I too am a spouse who is also a survivor of cancer, breast cancer twice. I was in Belgium when I first started noticing a problem and was sent to Geilenkirchen, Germany, to a small American clinic. I was treated as a whiny overweight housewife. Within 3 weeks of being stateside I found a lump and my civilian doctor took care of everything immediately. Ever since my experience with a small military clinic I have been trying to educate every military doctor I see on what to do and not to do for all military/retired/family member patients. Because of the lack of education of the doctors I saw in Germany my cancer went into stage 2 and it could have been taken care of much sooner. I try to help as much as possible everywhere we are stationed. I am happy to say that I have made a difference and I am a 6 year survivor for cancer #1 and almost a 5 year of cancer #2. I will continue to help even after my husband retires. Every person should get the proper treatment no matter what their status is.

Posts: 5
Joined: May 2006


I'm brand spankin' new to CSN, and have spent the last hour or so reading through the posts to this chunk of the forum. Bravo Zulu for a job well done, both starting and continuing this forum despite some fairly quiet periods.

I am a Navy LT, 28 years old, and a brain tumor survivor for just over 3 months now. I'm through surgery and radiation therapy, and still ongoing with chemotherapy (Temodar, specifically).

I'm currently on Limited Duty with the Navy, which my oncologist (who has sort of de facto become my primary doctor these days) seems to think I am headed toward a medical board and the Temporary Disabled Retired List within the next year (after 12 months of LIMDU - March or so).

I suppose my question is, where do I go to get the straight scoop on Medical Boards, any current data on a verdict to expect (continued MRI follow-up will probably make me non-deployable at least for now, but I'm otherwise just fine health-wise), and what TDRL really means? My oncologist gives me what information he has, but he's not a specialist on the boards, and I'd rather have him concentrating on oncology anyway.

This probably should have been at the beginning, but I'm in the Norfolk, VA area, getting my treatments at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center.

Thanks for the help,


Sissy Sue
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009

Does anyone at all know of any V.N. Vet that has received compensation for colon cancer? My husband served in V. N. and died of colon cancer. I have been denied compensation, but, have found where there are some cases that have been approved. Does anyone on here know of any other cases or what else I can do?

Thank you so much for your help.


HAWVET's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

SS, you should visit the VA home page. When on their main page, click on "Board of Veteran Appeals" on the left side of the page. Then it will ask for Search Decisions. Start with year 2009 and type in the word "Colon". Do not type in the word "Cancer" or you will be shown many cancer decisions. The first few listed would be those veterans who appealed. You will most likely find one that was approved.

Then work down each year. You can review ALL cases, but I find it best to check the latest.

You can not cite a case which I believe is unfair. Your best bet is if you can have a doctor indicate that the colon cancer could have been a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Good luck. Hawvet

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