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Veterans Administration awards service-connected compensation for Prostate Cancer.
ZackE5 posted:
This morning I received notification from the Veteran's Administration that my VA claim for Prostate cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam was approved at a 100% service connection. The VA stated the rating was awarded due to "Prostate cancer associated with herbicide exposure".

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer May 3, 2011 by VA doctors at the Veteran's hospital in Loma Linda, CA. I had a Gleason score of 6, 3+3. The cancer was in 3 areas of my prostate. I chose External Beam Radiation Therapy with radioactive seeds implanted to treat my cancer. I went through radiation at the Veteran's hospital in West Los Angeles, CA December 2011 - February 2012. My PSA at the end of radiation was 2.78. This week at my 3rd follow up exam with my urologist, my PSA was 1.35. It continues to drop with each PSA test.

I had filed a claim with the VA in June, 2011. I had served in Vietnam in 1967 - 1968. I was in the United States Marine Corp.
az4peaks2 responded:
History: Originally, there was considerable controversy as to whether exposure to Agent Orange resulted in an increased risk of numerous Cancers, including of course, Prostate Cancer (PCa).

Vietnam veterans were now composing a substantial portion of the age-related segments of the general population that were subject to naturally acquiring PCa. Along with very "mixed", and often conflicting Study results, there was no clear-cut answer to the question. Additionally, if it was thought to be a cause, how would it be determined which individual service men were actually physically exposed to Agent Orange during their active duty?

Finally, the controversy was pragmatically resolved by a VA declaration, that it would be ASSUMED that all service men,many years later acquiring PCa, whose records could establish that they had physically served in the Vietnam war theater, would be PRESUMED to have had Agent Orange exposure that caused their PCa.

Realistically, this was a "politically correct" decision, more than one clearly supported by scientific evidence, but due to the factors stated above, it appeared to the decision-makers that this was the most practical and expedient solution to a growing controversial issue, as the men effected continued to age.

As a result, a geographical "war zone" area (and time-frame) was established, that constituted the service area in which one had to have served for AUTOMATIC approval as "cause and effect" of their later PCa diagnosis.

Because of the volume of the such applications, it can take a while for such applications to be finally approved, but it is the qualification of time and location of service that is being checked and not any actual exposure to presumed cancer causing agents that is involved. Approval normally starts at 100% disability and is re-evaluated later, following treatment for any residual morbidity and is usually permanently adjusted downward, unless diagnosed with very advanced disease.

Once approved, reimbursement is paid retroactive to the date of application, so a potential beneficiary needs to be patient, since delays are common. Hope this history helps understand the procedure. - (aka) az4peaks

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