Agent Orange and Sqaumous Cell Carcinoma

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Agent Orange and Sqaumous Cell Carcinoma

by Diamoundhead53 on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:00 AM

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I was a helicopter pilot station at Cu Chi and Chu Lai in 1969 - 1970 and was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the right neck, with possible right tonsillar primary. In September of 2003 I had radical right neck dissection followed by 37 radiation treatments. During the operation they did biopsies of the tonsils, tongue, vocal cords, nasopharynx, and numerous other tissues. All came back negative, except for 6 of the 36 lymph nodes. The final diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma of the right neck with occult primary. The occult primary means that they do not know the origin of the cancer other then it is some where in the area of the neck. I applied for medical benefits from the VA and was denied, because the origin of the cancer could not be identified. I believe this cancer is related to Agent Orange and any help with an appeal to the VA would be greatly appreciated.

Agent Orange

by Cavman on Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:00 AM

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I was diagnosed with Stage IV SCC last September. I also filed for Agent Orange and was denied 8 weeks ago. I also filed for PTSD and was awarded 50% disability. Many of your questions can be answered by going to a site called Hadit.com. Check it out. Ron

RE: Agent Orange

by Robert2003 on Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:00 AM

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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 

 

RE: Agent Orange

by survivorinlife on Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:00 AM

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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.

RE: Agent Orange

by jmcelha on Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:00 AM

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I was in Cu Chi Vietnam from Oct 1968 to Jan 1969. In Jan 69 I was transferred to Cam Ranh Bay. My assignment in Cam Ranh Bay required me to travel extensively around Vietnam. I did courier runs to Siagon and Long Binh.  I would go out to Cam Ranh Air Base and catch a flight to Tahn So Nhut Air Base.  Sometimes we would make stops up in the central highlands, or up north or down south before arriving in Siagon.  Prior to my arrival in RVN I didn't smoke.  I may hove smoked on occasion but not with any regularity.  I really started smoking with the free cigarettes that we were issued.  Then if that was not enough we could buy them for about 10 cents a pack.  I became hooked and smoked off and on until 1997 mostly on.  In April 97 I had two heart attacks and a quadruple bypass.  I have not smoked on since.  I retired from the Army in 1989 with a medical discharge after 22 years on active duty.  I went through an Agent Orange Evaluation and it was determined that none of my medical problems were due to Agent Orange exposure.  Several years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  I underwent another Agent Orange Evaluation this time my diabetes was attributed to Agent Orange.  About 2 years ago I started noticing I had this thing in my throat that felt like a popcorn hull stuck there.  I would try to get it with water, my tooth brush or coughing it up.  Nothing worked.  I kept telling my doctors at the VA about it but they could not see anything so it was  dismissed. Then in Jan 2008 I got a new doctor.  During his exam I mentioned it to him and he agreed there was something there but not sure what.  He called in another doctor who also agreed but did not know what it was so a referral was made to a specialist.  It took several weeks to get an appointment to see a ENT Specialist.  2 days before my appointment I recieve a Agent Orange Update in the mail.  It has an article about a type of cancer that they are doing research on and its association with Agent Orange. Two days later I see the ENT Doctor and he looks in my throat and tells me that I have cancer.  He stated that he would order some test to confirm his diagnosis but he was positive.  A biopsy was done and sent off to AFIP.  The resutls came back as squamous cell carcinoma of the rt tonsil.  Luckily, it was diagnosed early enough to have only progressed to stage III. This was the same type of cancer that was discussed in the Agent Orange Update flyer.  I was sent to the VA Hospital in Sacramento where I underwent surgery to remove the tumor.  Then to UC Davis Cancer  Center for Radiation treatments.  Shortly after starting the radiation a cauliflower like sore developed on the right side of my tongue. A biopsy was performed and it was diagnosed as precancerous tissue.  The decision was made to track it but not to treat it in the hopes it would go away on its own.  My last treatment was 12 Jun 08.  My throat has heald from the radiation.  There is some residual soreness.  My tastebuds have not returned, and my saliva glands still do not function properly.  Where they did the biopsy on my tongue has recently started bothering me more and more and gets quite painful at times.  Just a few days before my surgery my grandson was born.  Two days after my last radiation treatment my grandaughter was born.  They are the joys of my life and make it all worthwhile.  And I am still alive to enjoy them. 

RE: Agent Orange and Sqaumous Cell Carcinoma

by pat_carroll on Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:00 AM

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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....

So long,

Pat

RE: Agent Orange and Sqaumous Cell Carcinoma

by martakay on Thu May 17, 2012 01:17 AM

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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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