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Are you a veteran of the Vietnam Era? What you need to know.

The U.S. military used Agent Orange to clear plants and trees during the Vietnam War. If you served in Vietnam or in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the Vietnam Era—or in certain related jobs—you may have had contact with this herbicide. Find out if you can get disability compensation and other benefits for illnesses possibly caused by Agent Orange.

Illnesses the VA presumes are connected to Agent Orange exposure.

Cancers:

  • Chronic B-cell leukemia: A type of cancer that affects your white blood cells (cells in your body’s immune system that help to fight off illnesses and infections)
  • Hodgkin’s disease: A type of cancer that causes your lymph nodes, liver, and spleen to get bigger and your red blood cells to decrease (called anemia)
  • Multiple myeloma: A type of cancer that affects your plasma cells (white blood cells made in your bone marrow that help to fight infection)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue (a part of your immune system that helps to fight infection and illness)
  • Prostate cancer: Cancer of the prostate (the gland in men that helps to make semen)
  • Respiratory cancers (including lung cancer): Cancers of the organs involved in breathing (including the lungs, larynx, trachea, and bronchus)
  • Soft tissue sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma): Different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues

Other illnesses:

  • AL amyloidosis: A rare illness that happens when an abnormal protein (called amyloid) builds up in your body’s tissues, nerves, or organs (like your heart, kidneys, or liver) and causes damage over time
  • Chloracne (or other types of acneiform disease like it): A skin condition that happens soon after contact with chemicals and looks like acne often seen in teenagers. Under our rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2: An illness that happens when your body is unable to properly use insulin (a hormone that turns blood glucose, or sugar, into energy), leading to high blood sugar levels
  • Ischemic heart disease: A type of heart disease that happens when your heart doesn’t get enough blood (and the oxygen the blood carries). It often causes chest pain or discomfort.
  • Parkinson’s disease: An illness of the nervous system (the network of nerves and fibers that send messages between your brain and spinal cord and other areas of your body) that affects your muscles and movement—and gets worse over time
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early onset: An illness of the nervous system that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness. Under our rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda: A rare illness that can make your liver stop working the way it should and can cause your skin to thin and blister when you’re out in the sun. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.

What our Vietnam Era Veterans need to do:

  1. Learn more about exposure and VA benefits: VA Benefits for Agent Orange Exposure
  2. Contact our Service and Benefits Program to discuss filing for benefits: MDVA Service and Benefits Program
  3. Register for the VA Agent Orange Health Exam

VA’s Agent Orange Registry Health Exam alerts veterans to possible long term health problems that may be related to Agent Orange exposure during their military service.  The registry data helps VA understand and respond to these health problems more effectively.  This health exam includes an exposure history, medical history, physical exam, and any tests if needed.  A VA health professional will discuss results with the veteran and in a follow up letter.  Learn more about the Agent Orange Registry here. 


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