Like many Vietnam Veterans, I am struggling with renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. This is the result of exposure to Agent Orange.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers disability and additional benefits when people who were exposed to Agent Orange get sick with anything that is on their list of presumptive diseases — diseases they acknowledge are caused by Agent Orange. Despite a VA study showing a link between renal cell carcinoma and Agent Orange, my cancer is not on the list, and I was denied the financial help I need.
Since my cancer is not on the list, I have to go through a lot more trouble to prove that Agent Orange caused my cancer. I either have to get an expensive lawyer or find a doctor that is willing to say they are positive it’s from Agent Orange. Most doctors are reluctant to sign such a statement. The granting of compensation should not be based on the hiring of a high powered law firm or the willingness of an MD to sign a letter.
The Agent Orange presumptive disease list has been growing for years. Often by the time a disease is added, it’s too late for many who needed help. I don’t want to be one of those statistics. Please join me in asking the VA to add renal cell carcinoma to their presumptive disease list. Veterans exposed to Agent Orange shouldn’t have to fight cancer and the government.