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Still Active duty and trying to win the war against oral cancer/ Medical board?

Irishgypsie's picture
Posts: 333
Joined: May 2010

Hello, I am new to this blog; been hanging out on the oral cancer board. I will try to give my reader's digest version. I am an active duty U.S. Public health service (USPHS) officer LCDR/0-4. Did Air Force for 12 years 6 active/6 reserve; then went back active with USPHS. Some may know of us but some may not; U.S. public health service is considered active duty and I get all the same benefits as the other branches of service. Fortunately the USPHS is more flexible with still serving while having medical problems since we do not have to be mobility qualified like of branches. I plan on returning to duty Nov.1st (been on sick leave since March). I was diagnosed with tx tonsil cancer with 1 lymphnode involvement. My prognosis is said to be about 85-90% so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Just wondering about medical boards. I have 8 years left before I am eligible for retirement. If something unfortunate happens and I need more aggressive treatment and it makes me unable to perform my duties will I be eligble for a medical retirment or will I just get kicked out of the service? I have a excellent Military record and always recieve good Coers! I would appreciate any advice about medical boards!

Also, since I acquired and was treated for oral cancer on active duty; does anyone know what kind of VA disability rating I would get when that time is near? Thank you!

LCDR Charles P. McGee, RN, USPHS

bspangler47's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2010

From what I am learning regarding medical boards, since I am going thru it now. I have 4 more years to retire from AD Army. I have been told that I "should" be medically retired. Not sure about the medically rating from the VA because its somewhat different from the Army. I also have been told that from friends that work at a VA center, having CA while on AD its usally 100%. You might want to check out this website: http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html#b. Also a friend just retired out of the Army went to the VA admininstation, they gave him a booklet full of information. I am not sure how you branch of service works for retiring medically. Good luck.

sonja123's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2010

i have been in the AF for 17yrs and up for MEB. I inquired thru my case manager on base about the MEB and the possibility of being "retired" due to my cancer. I had stage 4 colon cancer but thru surgeries and chemo im a rare case that was cured. I was told since I was "curable" i shouldnt be "force" to retire, but if I was to be medically retired i would receive 100%. The VA is the best place for the info, but the clinic or hosp on base should have a case manager that can help you also.

Best of luck!

Irishgypsie's picture
Posts: 333
Joined: May 2010

Hi, Thanks for the reply! Is that 100% of base pay or 100% VA disability rating pay? I guess I will just ask a VA rep like you guys said! Thanks! :) Good Luck! God Bless!

UNBEARABLE's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband medically retired at 100%...CA usually gets you 100% of base pay. We still dont know what our VA benefits are. However, you should for SS. You will certainly qualify for that. If i can help in anyway, feel free email me.

Irishgypsie's picture
Posts: 333
Joined: May 2010

Right now I plan on returning to duty Nov. 1st and plan on beating this horrible disease! CANCER SUCKS! But I have 8 years to go before I am eligible for retirement and hopefully I will beat this! Thank you for your information!

LCDR Charles McGee

Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

if you have active cancer that they can not get rid of yes you are at 100% disabled. that dose not mean 100% of your base pay

if they cure your cancer though expect to be alot lower on the VA's disability


is the amount you will make depending on your disability %

how they rate disabilities for each typs is here

or you can google it with looking for
va disability rating schedule
you will not find it unless you put disability rating schedule

one thing to know though is they can extend you past your EAOS or your Retirement and keep you on active duty if you cancer is agressive..

I am expecting to retire @ 20 years in sep 2011 but i was told if the cancer isnt gone/under control (thyroid) that they could keep me in longer in a medical hold prior to retirement.

oh and i love this block on the 100% for cancer
"Note: A rating of 100 percent shall continue beyond the cessation of any surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedure. Six months after discontinuance of such treatment, the appropriate disability rating shall be determined by mandatory VA examination. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of §3.105(e) of this chapter. If there has been no local recurrence or metastasis, rate on residuals."

good luck

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2011

Hello all,

First of all thanks for the great information on this post and I hope and pray for everyone affected with or by cancer that they make a full recovery.

I was just diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The general name is malignant lymphoma non-hodgkins. I don't know what stage it is in yet.
I am active duty Air Force with 22 years in. My high year tenure is at 24 years (MSgt/E-7).
Do you think I will be on medical leave while I get treated for this or be forced to medically retire. I am being told it would be bad for me to face an medical evaluation board (MEB).
Any words of wisdom/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Irishgypsie's picture
Posts: 333
Joined: May 2010

Since you are over 20 years what does it matter? Also, I think if you are medically boarded for cancer you may get 100% retirement instead of 50, 55 %.
Don't quote me on this! Good luck!


Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2017

Just got word today that I am facing Extranodal NK/T-Cell Lymphoma. Going to be looking at starting Chemo and radiation. Also current NG. Treatment should last until Feb 2018. My new re-upment takes place in May. Hoping to have this whooped and ready. Any advice?

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