Agent Orange and Kidney Cancer

4330730
4330730 Member Posts: 2
I would appreciate hearing from any Veterans who have been diagnosed with Kidney Cancer and had a kidney removed. I am trying to get the Dept of VA to admit that Vietnam Veterans had an exposure to Agent Orange which in time caused kidney cancer. Seems it is always the right kidney. This is my first post on Cancer Survivors Network - the date says December 31, 1969 5:00 pm when it is actually October 9, 2011 10:40 am! Was still a US Marine on Dec 31, 1969, and little did I know that some day I would suffer my time in the Marine Corps by losing a kidney.
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Comments

  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235
    Agent Orange
    Hi,

    I served in Vietnam for 2-1/2 years (2/67 - 8/69). A year after I returned home I got married and my wife became pregnant almost immediately. We lost the baby 7 months into her pregnancy to hydrocephalus and spina bifida. We had no idea until recently that Agent Orange could have cause this. We thought it was just one of those terrible things that happen to people. Back then, nobody was talking about Agent Orange. Besides, being in the rear with the gear at Nha Trang Air Base, I never even considered the possibility that I could have been exposed to Agent Orange. I thought that only the guys in the field were exposed to it. But come to find out there was a lot of that awful stuff sprayed in the hills surrounding the base. Since then a couple of guys I was stationed with have come down with cancer and eligible heart conditions. They are collecting benefits. My best friend, who served 2-1/2 years with me, died of lung cancer about 10 years ago and never realized he had been exposed, so of course he never knew he was eligible for benefits.

    I had my left kidney removed in Aug. 2010. As far as my kidney cancer is concerned, the VA is not going to admit government responsibility unless some studies link AO with kidney cancer. One such study was done and released a few months ago -- info can be found here if you haven't heard about it: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2011/05/14/agent-orange-linked-to-kidney-cancer-study -- so we may be on our way to having them reconsider their past decisions about this. But, being a government agency, it will probably take them years to make a decision.

    There's a possibility, of course, that my cancer was not caused by Agent Orange; there's no proof one way or another. There are other cancers and conditions that VA does recognize as having possibly been caused by AO and, therefore, anybody who has these and set foot in Vietnam during the war is eligible for benefits.

    Welcome to the board and a belated welcome home also.

    Mike
  • sylvan75
    sylvan75 Member Posts: 30
    Agent Orange and kidney Cancer
    The VA does pay disability for Diabetes. I had a partial nephrectomy done in 12/09 I filed a claim and was approved to receive disability. Check this website out:
    Diabetes.org/living-with-Diabetes/Complications/Agent-Orange-And-Type-2-Diabetes.html.
    I was in the Navy but was on land and in the inland waters of Viet Nam. The VA officially declared that exposure to Agent Orange can lead to Diabetes in 2009. You can go to the VA website and fill out the claim form on-line. You will have to go through a hearing and the process takes a few months but it will be approved.
  • 4330730
    4330730 Member Posts: 2
    MikeK703 said:

    Agent Orange
    Hi,

    I served in Vietnam for 2-1/2 years (2/67 - 8/69). A year after I returned home I got married and my wife became pregnant almost immediately. We lost the baby 7 months into her pregnancy to hydrocephalus and spina bifida. We had no idea until recently that Agent Orange could have cause this. We thought it was just one of those terrible things that happen to people. Back then, nobody was talking about Agent Orange. Besides, being in the rear with the gear at Nha Trang Air Base, I never even considered the possibility that I could have been exposed to Agent Orange. I thought that only the guys in the field were exposed to it. But come to find out there was a lot of that awful stuff sprayed in the hills surrounding the base. Since then a couple of guys I was stationed with have come down with cancer and eligible heart conditions. They are collecting benefits. My best friend, who served 2-1/2 years with me, died of lung cancer about 10 years ago and never realized he had been exposed, so of course he never knew he was eligible for benefits.

    I had my left kidney removed in Aug. 2010. As far as my kidney cancer is concerned, the VA is not going to admit government responsibility unless some studies link AO with kidney cancer. One such study was done and released a few months ago -- info can be found here if you haven't heard about it: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2011/05/14/agent-orange-linked-to-kidney-cancer-study -- so we may be on our way to having them reconsider their past decisions about this. But, being a government agency, it will probably take them years to make a decision.

    There's a possibility, of course, that my cancer was not caused by Agent Orange; there's no proof one way or another. There are other cancers and conditions that VA does recognize as having possibly been caused by AO and, therefore, anybody who has these and set foot in Vietnam during the war is eligible for benefits.

    Welcome to the board and a belated welcome home also.

    Mike

    Hi Mike - thanks for the
    Hi Mike - thanks for the reply. My wife had 2 miscarriages too - we also thought it was just terrible things that happen. Now we realize more than likely it was caused by Agent Orange, just like the kidney cancer. When I had my kidney removed, I talked to the local VA and was told no connection so I didn't pursue it. That was 18 years ago. 8 years ago I started an official claim. My claim has been to D.C. and back to regional. I won't let it go! There evidently have been numerous claims that have been approved. Seems if one is approved, all should be approved. I am now awaiting an in-person hearing. All you have to prove is that it is as likely as not that the cancer could have been caused by AO. I have letters from 2 urologists and 1 internist saying that it could have been. The VA doctor who reviewed my records for the VA is a semi-retired peditrician. Go figure! My advice is to file a claim. It is going to go on the list in the future; meanwhile I will continue to press on!

    Welcome home to you too! I was over "there" in 67-68 too.

    David
  • Mikelp
    Mikelp Member Posts: 1
    Agent Orange and Kidney Cancer
    I am a 62 yr old male that served in Viet Nam 69-70. According to the spray map we were in the heaviest sprayed area. In 2005 I had an emergency appendectomy and the cat scan also showed a growth in my left kidney. I went through numerous tests in the radiology department and they concluded no cancer. I went one step further and consulted a urologist who suggested after tests to have the left kidney removed and yes it did test positive for cancer.Two years later I was laid off and lost my health insurance so I went to Veterans in Denver and was excepted. My doctor has continued follow up since and I started reading up on agent orange. I brought it up to her and immediately she pulled a little white book out and showed me that the VA does not recognize renal cancer as a condition of agent orange but low and behold every organ around the kidney ie: lymph nods,prostate,liver,lungs and even diabetes. Every article that I have read suggests that
    the kidney cancer vet get legal representation and usually has a good chance of collecting. Well not all off us have the resources for this. This just sounds like a typical goverment cover up to me.
  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235
    Mikelp said:

    Agent Orange and Kidney Cancer
    I am a 62 yr old male that served in Viet Nam 69-70. According to the spray map we were in the heaviest sprayed area. In 2005 I had an emergency appendectomy and the cat scan also showed a growth in my left kidney. I went through numerous tests in the radiology department and they concluded no cancer. I went one step further and consulted a urologist who suggested after tests to have the left kidney removed and yes it did test positive for cancer.Two years later I was laid off and lost my health insurance so I went to Veterans in Denver and was excepted. My doctor has continued follow up since and I started reading up on agent orange. I brought it up to her and immediately she pulled a little white book out and showed me that the VA does not recognize renal cancer as a condition of agent orange but low and behold every organ around the kidney ie: lymph nods,prostate,liver,lungs and even diabetes. Every article that I have read suggests that
    the kidney cancer vet get legal representation and usually has a good chance of collecting. Well not all off us have the resources for this. This just sounds like a typical goverment cover up to me.

    AO & Kidney Cancer
    Once the VA makes up its mind (or in this case doesn't make up its mind) about something, that's it until they are convinced otherwise. Veterans who complain are more often than not, ignored or discouraged by the paperwork and long waits. In other words, the VA is a typical government bureaucracy. The recent study I mentioned in the earlier post is a step forward and I believe the VA someday, hopefully before all Vietnam vets die off, will add kidney cancer to their list of AO-related conditions. Unfortunately, I never heard of a lawyer being able to force the VA to provide a veteran with benefits for a disease that is not on their AO list. As far as cover-ups go, our government has had a lot of practice at it.
  • hart1249
    hart1249 Member Posts: 22
    MikeK703 said:

    AO & Kidney Cancer
    Once the VA makes up its mind (or in this case doesn't make up its mind) about something, that's it until they are convinced otherwise. Veterans who complain are more often than not, ignored or discouraged by the paperwork and long waits. In other words, the VA is a typical government bureaucracy. The recent study I mentioned in the earlier post is a step forward and I believe the VA someday, hopefully before all Vietnam vets die off, will add kidney cancer to their list of AO-related conditions. Unfortunately, I never heard of a lawyer being able to force the VA to provide a veteran with benefits for a disease that is not on their AO list. As far as cover-ups go, our government has had a lot of practice at it.

    My husband died of Kidney Cancer Oct 5 2011
    My husband was diagnosed May 26th of 2011. He passed on Oct 5th. I filed a claim with the local VA office. We found articles that Agent Orange has been linked to Kidney Caner. Don was in Viet Nam in 1968-1969. I wish we had found this information while he was still here. The VA office told me it will take about a year to hear anything on the application. But when and if Kidney Cancer is added to the list they will backdate any benefits to his family.
  • aleatha10
    aleatha10 Member Posts: 1
    hart1249 said:

    My husband died of Kidney Cancer Oct 5 2011
    My husband was diagnosed May 26th of 2011. He passed on Oct 5th. I filed a claim with the local VA office. We found articles that Agent Orange has been linked to Kidney Caner. Don was in Viet Nam in 1968-1969. I wish we had found this information while he was still here. The VA office told me it will take about a year to hear anything on the application. But when and if Kidney Cancer is added to the list they will backdate any benefits to his family.

    Agent Orange
    I too am a widow my husbund died of kidney cancer he also served in Viet Nam the VA denied my clam thanks for litsoning
  • flatlander
    flatlander Member Posts: 46
    My old girlfriends Dad had
    My old girlfriends Dad had agent Orange problems since Nam. After college we.broke up and.married others. She heard I have kidney cancer and said her Dad the Nam vet just Got.over same .... He is cancer free in Pennsylvania since surgery....

    Here is a funny fact, if you are a firefighter with kidney cancer (like me) it will be in the left kidney they tell me.
  • callmesara
    callmesara Member Posts: 3
    Kidney Cancer and Agent Orange
    My husband had his kidney removed in 1988 at Womack Army Hospital in Fort Bragg NC. He pulled three tours in Vietnam. VA denied him also even though he had prostrate and bladder cancers along with this cancer. Prostrate was on the list but they still denied him. He eventually died 2/16/2005 from dual lung cancers. SFC Milton R. Johnson 5th SF.
  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235

    Kidney Cancer and Agent Orange
    My husband had his kidney removed in 1988 at Womack Army Hospital in Fort Bragg NC. He pulled three tours in Vietnam. VA denied him also even though he had prostrate and bladder cancers along with this cancer. Prostrate was on the list but they still denied him. He eventually died 2/16/2005 from dual lung cancers. SFC Milton R. Johnson 5th SF.

    VA
    Very sorry for your loss. I don't know the specifics of your husband's military service in Vietnam but it seems wrong that he was not approved for prostate cancer. You're right, it is on the list. Here is what the VA says about it:

    "VA presumes Veterans' prostate cancer is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans exposed to herbicides do not have to prove a connection between their prostate cancer and military service to be eligible to receive VA benefits."

    Also:

    "Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of prostate cancer may be eligible for survivors' benefits."

    In fact, lung cancer is also on the list.

    Have you filed for lung cancer? Have you filed an appeal of their decision about the prostate cancer? If not, I would certainly do so.
    Regards,
    Mike
  • callmesara
    callmesara Member Posts: 3
    MikeK703 said:

    VA
    Very sorry for your loss. I don't know the specifics of your husband's military service in Vietnam but it seems wrong that he was not approved for prostate cancer. You're right, it is on the list. Here is what the VA says about it:

    "VA presumes Veterans' prostate cancer is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans exposed to herbicides do not have to prove a connection between their prostate cancer and military service to be eligible to receive VA benefits."

    Also:

    "Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of prostate cancer may be eligible for survivors' benefits."

    In fact, lung cancer is also on the list.

    Have you filed for lung cancer? Have you filed an appeal of their decision about the prostate cancer? If not, I would certainly do so.
    Regards,
    Mike

    VA
    Thanks Mike,

    I took over filing his appeals each time they denied them, I stupidly told them about his lung cancer after he was diagnosed in fall of 2004. They amended his claim and approved the claim only for the lung cancer and only from the fall 2004 date instead of the 2002 date of original claim for prostrate, bladder and kidney (cancer) removal. He developed inoperable kidney cancer again in 2004 but it was slow growing. Therefore he still had that cancer along with lung cancer when he died. He was approved for lung cancer and rated 100% one week after he died but they took it back because a dead man cannot collect and refiled under my name. I finally received DIC and retribution in May of that year. His so was a real pill. Since he filed in my name he did not mention the prostrate from before.

    Sara
  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181

    VA
    Thanks Mike,

    I took over filing his appeals each time they denied them, I stupidly told them about his lung cancer after he was diagnosed in fall of 2004. They amended his claim and approved the claim only for the lung cancer and only from the fall 2004 date instead of the 2002 date of original claim for prostrate, bladder and kidney (cancer) removal. He developed inoperable kidney cancer again in 2004 but it was slow growing. Therefore he still had that cancer along with lung cancer when he died. He was approved for lung cancer and rated 100% one week after he died but they took it back because a dead man cannot collect and refiled under my name. I finally received DIC and retribution in May of that year. His so was a real pill. Since he filed in my name he did not mention the prostrate from before.

    Sara

    callmesara
    So sorry. Too much to go through. Some of here still have it quite easy. Comparatively.
  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235

    VA
    Thanks Mike,

    I took over filing his appeals each time they denied them, I stupidly told them about his lung cancer after he was diagnosed in fall of 2004. They amended his claim and approved the claim only for the lung cancer and only from the fall 2004 date instead of the 2002 date of original claim for prostrate, bladder and kidney (cancer) removal. He developed inoperable kidney cancer again in 2004 but it was slow growing. Therefore he still had that cancer along with lung cancer when he died. He was approved for lung cancer and rated 100% one week after he died but they took it back because a dead man cannot collect and refiled under my name. I finally received DIC and retribution in May of that year. His so was a real pill. Since he filed in my name he did not mention the prostrate from before.

    Sara

    VA
    Sara,

    I am not really familiar with the filing process so I'm afraid I am having a hard time understanding what you mean. What do DIC and retribution actually mean? Am I to understand that you are now collecting his disability from the prostate cancer at his 100% rating? Maybe I'm wrong but my limited understanding is that if somebody is rated 100% then he is getting all of the benefits there are to get. So, it must be the retroactive benefits you should be getting from the 2002 filing for lung cancer?

    And what were you saying when you typed, "His so was a real pill"? His SON was a real pill? His son filed in your name? In any event, if you are still entitled to anything from the government, I hope you persist until you get it. It is likely that your husband's medical problems were caused by Agent Orange after spending 3 years in a war zone inhaling the residue and he deserved to have that fact recognized and be reimbursed for it. I just hate government bureaucracy and its callousness.

    Regards,
    Mike
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    MikeK703 said:

    VA
    Sara,

    I am not really familiar with the filing process so I'm afraid I am having a hard time understanding what you mean. What do DIC and retribution actually mean? Am I to understand that you are now collecting his disability from the prostate cancer at his 100% rating? Maybe I'm wrong but my limited understanding is that if somebody is rated 100% then he is getting all of the benefits there are to get. So, it must be the retroactive benefits you should be getting from the 2002 filing for lung cancer?

    And what were you saying when you typed, "His so was a real pill"? His SON was a real pill? His son filed in your name? In any event, if you are still entitled to anything from the government, I hope you persist until you get it. It is likely that your husband's medical problems were caused by Agent Orange after spending 3 years in a war zone inhaling the residue and he deserved to have that fact recognized and be reimbursed for it. I just hate government bureaucracy and its callousness.

    Regards,
    Mike

    Amen...
    AMEN to that!!!
  • callmesara
    callmesara Member Posts: 3
    MikeK703 said:

    VA
    Sara,

    I am not really familiar with the filing process so I'm afraid I am having a hard time understanding what you mean. What do DIC and retribution actually mean? Am I to understand that you are now collecting his disability from the prostate cancer at his 100% rating? Maybe I'm wrong but my limited understanding is that if somebody is rated 100% then he is getting all of the benefits there are to get. So, it must be the retroactive benefits you should be getting from the 2002 filing for lung cancer?

    And what were you saying when you typed, "His so was a real pill"? His SON was a real pill? His son filed in your name? In any event, if you are still entitled to anything from the government, I hope you persist until you get it. It is likely that your husband's medical problems were caused by Agent Orange after spending 3 years in a war zone inhaling the residue and he deserved to have that fact recognized and be reimbursed for it. I just hate government bureaucracy and its callousness.

    Regards,
    Mike

    DIC
    Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of certain deceased veterans. My husband died on the 16th of February. The veterans administration stops his pay on the day of death. Therefore in March I knew they would take his check back, which they did. I had to make an appointment with a local service officer here in Wilmington which was his SO. He was the one who initially filed his claim for the prostrate and bladder cancers. The retribution was his final pay plus other monies they owed him but were made payable to me.
    I am afraid that the government is not the most helpful to have to depend on.
  • wavesine
    wavesine Member Posts: 2
    kidney cancer
    I lost my right kidney also I thing it has a connection to veitnam 1972 what supportive doctors would confirm that I live in las vegas nevada I'll be waiting for your response thanks
  • wavesine
    wavesine Member Posts: 2
    I think there might be a connection with agent orange and my right kidney that had to be removed with a tumor what supportive doctors would confirm that who would I get in contact with I am on the veitnam agent orange resgistry I'll be waiting on your response thanks
  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235
    wavesine said:

    I think there might be a connection with agent orange and my right kidney that had to be removed with a tumor what supportive doctors would confirm that who would I get in contact with I am on the veitnam agent orange resgistry I'll be waiting on your response thanks

    Agent Orange
    Hi,
    Thanks for your service.
    Kidney cancer is not yet recognized by the VA as a disease that can be attributed to Agent Orange. You can file a claim with the VA if you want but there's not much chance of it being approved. Getting a letter from your doctor to file with your claim would be helpful. I have read online somewhere that the doctor's letter should indicate that he or she believes there is more than a 50-50 chance that your kidney cancer could have been caused by Agent Orange. Even if your case is not approved, you can file again if and when the VA puts kidney cancer on its list of Agent Orange diseases and the benefits should be retroactive to when you lost your kidney. You're like the rest of the veterans who have had kidney cancer -- we just have to wait for them to add it to the list, something I think they will eventually do because a recent study supports the fact that it can be attributed to AO. Visit the VA web site listed below for more information:
    http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp

    Regards,
    Mike
  • Roggy
    Roggy Member Posts: 10
    Kidney cancer
    I had my left kidney removed due to cancer. I served in Korea 1969/70 during the spraying of agent orange. I also had NH Lymphoma and diabetes type 2 both of which are service connected but they denied me for Kidney cancer which I think is wrong.
  • Roggy
    Roggy Member Posts: 10
    wavesine said:

    I think there might be a connection with agent orange and my right kidney that had to be removed with a tumor what supportive doctors would confirm that who would I get in contact with I am on the veitnam agent orange resgistry I'll be waiting on your response thanks

    re: renal cancer
    It is going to be hard to get the v a to service connect renal cancer with agent orange but I would file on it any way. Maybe later on down the road they will list it as one of the cancers caused by A O.