Findings underscore importance of prevention efforts
by Diamoundhead53 on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:00 AM
by Cavman on Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:00 AM
by Robert2003 on Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:00 AM
Hello, I am also a Vietnam veteran. I was 1/11inf, 1/5th Inf division and was in the DMZ area and along the Laotian border ((1970). In 2003, I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in the tonsil area. I had radical right neck ressection followed with 6 1/2 weeks of radiation. It looked like I was OK a few months later. Both my VA doctors (primary care and ENT who did the surgery) thought my cancer was related to Agent Orange exposure as I have never been a tobacco user. I filed a claim that was denied, even though it was recorded in my VA records that this cancer was more likely than not the result of agent orange. In 2004 during my yearly follow up exam, by ENT found a very large tumor on my epiglottis extenting up to the base of my tongue. I had a tracheostomy done then because of my restricted breathing. I under went another 6 1/2 weeks of radiation (twice a day). Again, a few months later it look like I had beat the cancer again. My service officer file another claim with the VA in Aug 05 for me this time filing for agent orange cancer-respiratory cancer which includes the larynx since the epiglottis is part of the larynix complex. My claim went through with out any problems. My cancer has since come back in the epiglottis area and on the opposite side of my neck. I have exhausted all know treatment except chemo which would just be pallative, not curable. I enter a clinical trial last Nov 06 testing a drug called Proxinium. They took me off of the trial after 12 weeks, because the tumor had doubled in size. I am now looking at alternative treatments. One I am trying is protocel. www.protocel.com and www.lowdosenaltrexone.org I recently had a PEG installed as I was having difficulty in swallowing with food going up the back of my throat into my sinuses, and have been loosing weight because of it. In my unit that I was with in Vietnam, 4 of us have a form of throat cancer. One is at the base of his tongue, and the other has it at the top of his esophagus. One other has it in his larynx as I do. I don't know what to tell you on how to get help in filing a claim with the VA. Appeal and find out what the statistical probablity for our having cancer in the tonsil area verses the general population. The Agent orange study is really flawed in my view. It only study the ranch hands (one's who loaded the agent orange on the plane). I believe it was just a group of about 350 that was there control group. I don't believe they have actually study the number of actual Vietnam veterans who have cancer as compared to other service men who did not go to vietnam or even the cancer related issue concerning the people who live in Vietnam. You might also file another claim for unemployability due to your cancer. I have had great treatment from the VA doctors, nurses, and hospital concerning my cancer. I wouldn't even consider going to a private hospital because of the good and professional care I have received from the VA. Now the claims and rating board is another story. I wish you success in fighting your cancer, and in filing you claim with the VA. You can contact me by email if I can help you or offer you any more advice. Bob H
by survivorinlife on Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:00 AM
This was an interesting post. I know this is a year later but....My father was also heavily exposed to Agent Orange. He died several years ago from throat and stomach cancer. I wonder how many other veterans are going through this. Additionally, I have just been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in the lungs (32 years old). I wonder if there is any connections between my father's exposure and cancer to mine. Could the Agent Orange have done some genetic mutations that were passed to me? Interesting question to say the least.
by jmcelha on Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:00 AM
by pat_carroll on Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:00 AM
My friend and I were in Chu Lai in 68 and 69. I am healthy, so far, but he is not. He overcame a lymph type cancer in his head but now has something very similar sounding to what you have...in fact, he is currently in the middle of a 37 step radiation treatment. Next week he has to go to the VA to try to prove that his problem was related to Agent Orange.
The big hill just west of the air strip was all green with vegetation when I went TAD to DaNang for a few months. When I came back, I think it was in March of 69, it seemed to have turned brown. I was never over there close to it so I just figured they had naped the offensive word removed out of it and that was the result. Years later, when information came out about Agent Orange use and its affect on us, a little light came on. I'm thinking that this is how the hill's vegetation turned brown. Still, I wasn't concerned about exposure because I never out there. My VA officer asked if I had checked out info on AO exposure. I told him I wasn't in the bush hardly at all so I didn't think I had been exposed. He asked me if I drank the water...uh,oh!So I began to think about that ...our water supply, for the most part probably originated from the rain run off on that hill...don't know this for a fact but that's why I'm researching this.
Anyway, I'm trying to find some sort of record about the defoliation of that hill and if truely, our water supply was affected by the run off.
I wish you well and keep in touch if you would like....
by martakay on Thu May 17, 2012 01:17 AM
Hi to all Agent Orange Exposed Vets.
My husband, Robert Shaw, was PFC expert in 81mm mortar in Chu Chi from about Dec 67 through May 68. During that time he was awarded 3 purple hearts, and returned to the states riddled with small bits of shrapnel embedded throughout his body.
We were married and had a baby girl in 1988.
The shrapnel started infecting his skin and eating away his flesh 2 and a half years later; he started to cough, lose his breath.
The docs at the VA told us it was skin and lung cancer. That it was so late stage it wasn't worth chemo or other treatments. They took me aside and told me it was due to exposure to Agent Orange, but they wouldn't put that on their charts, because they couldn't prove it. That was 1991.
After 3 agonizing years, he died on May 8th, 1994, Mother's Day. His funeral was May 11th, his 46th birthday. May 15th would have been our 6th wedding anniversary. Our daughter Kelly was 5.
When Kelly was 9, she was diagnosed with a host of learning disabilities. It was necessary for her to attend special schools throughout elementary school to get the education she needed. I was fortunate that we (I had remarried some years later) were able to pull together the funds to afford the schools.
Now Kelly is struggling to get a college education. After 4 years, she has just completed her associate's degree, and she is 1 semester into her bachelor's degree. She wants to be a teacher for other kids who have learning disbilities. That will require a master's degree. And her step-dad and I are just plain broke now.
I've heard that there are education benefits for the children of Vietnam Veterans who died of a service-connected disability. I've even pulled the (very confusing) application claim form off the internet site. However, we have NO paperwork AT ALL that specifically names Agent Orange as the underlying cause of Robert's illness.
Does anyone out there have any advice at all on where I could start to help my daughter out? I don't want to rip off the VA, but we could sure use some help here. I think my husband gave more than his share to his country. And I think his daughter is gearing up to continue to keep giving to hers as well.
Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom. Marta
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