Vietnam Veterans Seek VA Recognition and Benefits for Rare Cancer | Law Firm Newswire

Vietnam Veterans Seek VA Recognition and Benefits for Rare Cancer

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 13, 2016 - Hundreds of Vietnam veterans are suffering from a rare bile duct cancer that may be connected to their wartime service. The former service members are urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to acknowledge their condition is service-related so that they can be eligible for benefits.

The cancer, called cholangiocarcinoma, can be caused by liver flukes present in raw or poorly cooked freshwater fish. Vietnam War veterans may have been infected by liver flukes after eating such fish when their rations ran out. The parasites are commonly found in certain areas of China, South Korea and Vietnam.

“Veterans diagnosed with the cancer may spend their final months fighting for benefits and end up disappointed and frustrated due to lack of recognition from the VA,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Early diagnosis of the condition is key. If doctors gain a better understanding of the cancer and its risks to those who served in Vietnam, it may be possible to treat veterans and ensure they receive the benefits they deserve.”

Last year the VA rejected nearly 80 percent of benefit claims for the cancer, which have grown six-fold since 2003. According to The Associated Press, three out of four claims are denied.

The department said the VA medical system has seen fewer than 700 cholangiocarcinoma cases over the past 15 years. Only 307 of those veterans applied for benefits claims during that time. Many veterans are unaware of the cancer’s potential connection to their service because it is so rare. About 1.7 in 100,000 individuals in the United States are diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma each year.

VA officials evaluate each case individually. In order to qualify for VA benefits, veterans are required to prove that their condition is “as likely as not” service-related. However, doctors have said proving that can sometimes be challenging. In addition, the VA said performing regular screenings would be unrealistic and difficult because the condition is so rare.

Cholangiocarcinoma is also hard to treat, killing many victims within a few months of diagnosis. After the liver flukes are ingested, they can live in the bile duct undetected for over 25 years, causing scarring and inflammation that can eventually lead to cancer. Symptoms such as itchy skin and jaundice typically do not occur until advanced stages.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

  • Can PTSD be contagious?
    Post-traumatic stress disorder could be “contagious.” Although it is not transmitted via shared fluids, research shows that those who care for or regularly interact with a person who has experienced trauma are potentially at risk of developing secondhand PTSD. Although they did not experience or witness the trauma themselves, being in close contact with the […]
  • Navy family awarded $11.5 million in medical malpractice suit at Guam Military Hospital
    A medical malpractice lawsuit against a U.S. Naval hospital brought about by a Virginia couple whose son sustained serious injuries during birth has been settled by the federal government. The couple will receive $11.5 million for the care of their son, who is now five years old. The couple were both Naval officers and were […]
  • Veterans Who Served After 9/11 More Likely to Benefit Financially From Service
    Findings from a study conducted by Pew Research Center showed that combat veterans who served in the military after the September 11th terrorist attacks reported benefiting financially from their service more than those who served before 9/11. Sixty-eight percent of the post-9/11 veterans reported that being deployed in the military had a positive impact on […]
  • VA moves toward modernization with several updates
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is implementing several highly anticipated changes to modernize its systems and processes and increase efficiency for the veterans it serves. The agency will soon have updated the rating schedule, modernized the appeals process, implemented an electronic health records system and streamlined the materiel acquisition process. Rating Schedule Update The […]

Tags: , , , , ,

Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required