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Help I'm new to all this

Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2008

My husband was recently diagnosed with bladder and lung cancer. The only thing I know is that the lung cancer has spread to the bone. We won't know until atleast Wednesday what kind and what stage it is in. I'm very angry because my husband fought in Vietnam where they used Agent Orange. He comes home makes it through fighting and 40 years later it is going to end his life. It is vary frustating. If anyone has any advise I'm all ears.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006


You may want to submit this post in the Lung Cancer discussion area as well, if you have not done so. There is a frequent contributor in there, I believe named HAWVET, who is a Vietnam veteran and a lung cancer survivor as well. He is seeking to converse with others in this situation, specifically as it regards Agent Orange.

A very good friend of mind served in 'Nam, a Marine, and died of lung cancer while still in his late 40s, suspecting Agent Orange as well, incidentally.

As for advice, I would advise that anger is a typical reaction, whether Agent Orange is involved or not, whether you are the afflicted or the caregiver, along with things like denial, anxiety, depression, and even a sense of entitlement, believe it or not, at least in my experience. I would suggest first that you and your hub not let the cancer take more from you - either of you - than it will. That is to say, do not let it keep you in a state of anger, do not let it rob of of the joys that each day offers, even in the midst of the fear and the pain. I would suggest that you insist on a valid pain management program for your husband. It is my contention that a pain-free survivor is a more stubborn survivor; it is easier to cave in when pain becomes too great or too nagging.

And, as important as anything else, if you are going to be a good caregiver, you must take good care of the giver! Be sure to save time for yourself, to do some of the things you enjoy, so that you can be a happier, more positive caregiver for your husband.

I am a head/neck and lung cancer survivor, recently pronounced cancer-free. There are many others. Do not let this signify the end of life, but a change in life.

Best wishes to your husband, to you, and to your loved ones.

Take care,


HAWVET's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Hello Stephenie,

Joe (Soccerfreaks) posted in the Head and Neck Cancer area and noted that you had posted looking for advice. I normally do not visit any other area except that and the Military. I am surprised that there are not that many military members posting on that site. Just a slight correction, my cancer was nasopharyngeal.

Joe, some advice that may be worthy to pass to your friend's wife if he had one. Read the information below. I am pretty sure a spouse can file a claim. A spouse is eligible for dependent compensation if the military member passed away due to a service connected illness.

Back to Stephenie: Like your husband, I served in Vietnam and have been researching a lot on Agent Orange and cancer. I filed a claim with the Veterans Administration (VA), but my claim was denied. It is a long story, but briefly, I have not given up.

First, sorry to hear about your husband. Here is my advice. In every state, there is a Veterans Affairs (VA) office. The VA is an agency of the Federal Government. In our state, we also have an office called the Office of Veterans Services (OVS). This is our state's equivalent. I do not know if your husband had ever been in contact with the VA, but from reading your post, it appears he has not.

First, the Omnibus Veterans Bill was passed in 2001. This is the law which provides a presumption of exposure to herbicides for all veterans who served in Vietnam. Thus, you only need to prove that your husband had served in country and that verifies the exposure.

The second item is based on studies and reports. They now have concluded that only certain cancers are recognized to be most likely a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Respiratory cancers, including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus are on the list.

There are more details, but it best be given by an expert since your husband's cancer (lung) is presumed to be due to Agent Orange. Since it is confirmed that he has lung cancer, look for the closest state or federal veterans office to your home. Visit them and as soon as possible, initiate a VA claim. If the claim is approved, then VA compensation will be approved and the VA will be responsible for further treatment of your husband's cancer.

If your husband belongs to any national veterans organization, they do have Service Officers trained on how to best assemble information to support your claim. Due to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a back log. If it is approved, compensation will be from the date of submission.

While at the veterans office, ask for the 2008 VA booklet entitled "Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents". This booklet is updated yearly and is free.

I hope this information helps. If you have any question or need more detailed information, please do not hesitate to ask. If the information may be too personal, I will give you my email address.

Best of luck to you and your husband.

Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2008


Just wanted to Thank you. I have contacted Togus and they seem pretty sure that they will take care of my husband from now on. I'm waiting to get an appointment for him with an oncologist. Also I'm looking into the benefits for Vet's and there dependents. I don't like doing this. I guess I didn't ever think I would have to.
Again Thank you so much.

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