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Fw: Va Links Brain Cancer To Agent Orange Exposure In Recent Court Decision

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  • HadIt.com Elder

To: Veteran Issues by Colonel Dan <VeteranIssues@yahoogroups.com> Subject: [VeteranIssues] FW: VA Links Brain Cancer to Agent Orange Exposure in Recent Court DecisionDate: Feb 17, 2011 7:43 AM

From: Robert White

Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 8:33 AM

To: Robert White

Subject: VA Links Brain Cancer to Agent Orange Exposure in Recent Court Decision


VA Links Brain Cancer to Agent Orange Exposure in Recent Court Decision

It is notoriously difficult for veterans to get their disabilities connected to their military service - even when the connection is apparent. In this unique case, the Department of Veterans Affairs was made to concede a very important connection and gave justice to a struggling widow.

Ozark, MO (PRWEB) February 17, 2011

Mrs. Sheree Evans is the surviving spouse of Vietnam Veteran, Edward T. Evans, who passed away from Glioblastoma Multiforme (GM), or more commonly known as brain cancer, in March of 2003. Since this time, Sheree has fought for widow’s benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for her husband’s cause of death as a result of Agent Orange exposure (Board of Veterans' Appeals, Docket No. 05-00 201 / U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Vet. App. No. 06-2190). While Mr. Evans was presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange during his service in the Vietnam War, one of the most challenging obstacles for Sheree was showing that his exposure to Agent Orange caused the development of brain cancer. VA had consistently maintained that brain cancer is not on their list of Agent Orange-related disabilities, and, as a result, that there is no medical link for the development of this specific cancer to Agent Orange Exposure.

Sheree’s long struggle against VA took her to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the highest level of the Veterans Administration’s appeals process. Once she had been denied there, Sheree appealed her case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. There she was successful in getting the final decision by VA vacated because VA had used an independent medical opinion as evidence, which was merely grounded in the lack of GM being on the Agent Orange Presumptive list as the basis for denying a relationship. VA then ordered another medical opinion which determined that there was no research into the relationship between GM and Agent Orange. Sheree countered with a medical assessment which argued that there was an abundance of research into the relationship between GM and Agent Orange. In a recent decision, the Board of Veterans' Appeals decided that the evidence in favor and against were in equal weight and applied the benefit of the doubt rule and on January 26th, 2011 granted Sheree’s claim. While this is not a precedential decision, VA did admit a link between the two. Time will tell what the outcome of this will amount to, but GM may very well come to be added to the Agent Orange presumptive list.

According to Court documents, Sheree had fought for service connection for the cause of her husband’s death for almost eight years, based on a promise that she had made to him before his death. Sheree plans to write a book in honor of Edward that commemorates his life, his struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his combat experience in Vietnam that left him physically scarred from a shell fragment, and her fight to give him the recognition that he deserves. She is very active with the Order of the Silver Rose, an advocacy group for Veterans and families who have been affected by Agent Orange.

GM is a highly aggressive form of brain cancer which, when left untreated, usually results in death in less than three months. GM has been widely researched and recent studies indicate that there is an increasing prevalence of brain cancers as a result of exposure to toxins (IOM, 2008). Though not specifically studied in Veterans of the Vietnam War, current research shows a causal relationship between herbicide exposure and GM.

The fact is that there is an unusually high number of Vietnam Veterans who suffer from GM and, due to GM’s aggressive nature, a sizable percentage of them have passed on. Studies of the dioxin TCDD, the main dioxin in Agent Orange, in laboratory animals have shown to cause cancers at a variety of sites, including GM (IOM, 2008). These studies have concluded that it is plausible that human exposure to TCDD would cause the same variety of cancers as in laboratory animals. However, there has been a lack of studies on the relationship between Vietnam Veterans and exposure to TCDD. Therefore, the Institute of Medicine, which VA recognizes as the authority of recognizing a relationship between disabilities and Agent Orange, has not issued any reports linking Agent Orange and GM.

*Institute of Medicine. (2008) Veterans and Agent Orange: health effects of herbicides used in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Reference: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:


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  • HadIt.com Elder

You know the VA does not do research on effects of AO. They depend on others to do the research. Who cares about AO nowdays? IOM puts research studies together, but who actually pays? The reason no connection has been found for many cancers and AO is because nobody is looking. As far as the nation is concerned Vietnam vets died 40 years ago. In a world of tight budgets who cares about aging RVN vets?

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My father, a Vietnam Vet was initially diagnosed with IHD and lung cancer in 1977. After undergoing years of treatment for both of these diseases, my father developed a brain tumor that ultimately took his life. I was contacted by the VA re: Nehmer on Jan 21, 2011. In that telephone conversation the VA mentioned his lung cancer and not the IHD, one of the presumtive illnesses now granted service connection under Nehmer. The VA gave us an effective date of 7/31/2010.

My parents made a claim to the VA in 1978 for the IHD and the lung cancer which was denied. As I understand Nehmer, they will review my father's case and possibly grant retroactive benefits, but only as far back as the effective date that they assigned to his claim.

My question is, will they consider the fact that he had IHD and lung cancer? I believe the primary cause of death is the brain tumor. Since the VA does not recognize the connection between AO and brain tumors, will they deny the claim even though lung cancer was connected in 1994 and IHD on 8/31/10?

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  • HadIt.com Elder

If the brain tumor was a cancer that spread from the lungs to the brain that should be connected. If a person has lung cancer it is likely that there cancer will spread all over the body.

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Dizzyliz said:

"I was contacted by the VA re: Nehmer on Jan 21, 2011. In that telephone conversation the VA mentioned his lung cancer and not the IHD, one of the presumtive illnesses now granted service connection under Nehmer. The VA gave us an effective date of 7/31/2010.

My parents made a claim to the VA in 1978 for the IHD and the lung cancer which was denied. As I understand Nehmer, they will review my father's case and possibly grant retroactive benefits, but only as far back as the effective date that they assigned to his claim."

I strongly suggest that you contact NVLSP via their web site-I posted the link this week again in our Agent Orange forum.

The date of the past 1978 claim might NOT qualify under Nehmer.

NVLSP won the Beverly Nehmer Court Decision and only by contacting them will the proper retro date be applied to your claim.

That is- if the VA fails to use the proper date, NVLSP will step in and change that.

If they know the circumstances of the claim.

The entire Nehmer Training Guide is in our AO forum.

Did he subsequently ever re -open the 1978 claim and receive a denial after Sept 1985?

When did he die and did his spouse file a DIC claim that was denied? What was the DIC claim date? Was it after Sept 1985?

VA is failing to inform NVLSP of all Nehmer claims.We have to do that ourselves via the NVLSP web site.

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To clarify what i meant--

In 1989 the Court invalidated all denials of all claims “ based on diseases related to Agent Orange if such denials were made on or after September 25, 1985.”

Nehmer V VA, 712,F Supp. 1404 (N.D. Cal 1989)

VBM ,by NVLSP 2010 Edition page 213

If those denials were made, however on or after September 25,1985,they are subject to re adjudication under Nehmer Court Order and Stipulation ( 1991).

It is a past denial after Sept 25th,1985, for an AO disability that warrants a current AO claim to fall under Nehmer.

In your case, since the VA itself said the claim falls under Nehmer, they must have found evidence of claim for lung cancer or IHD disease denied after Sept 25,1985.

This is why I asked if your mother had filed DIC claim after that date -that was denied.

Edited by Berta
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I have read the Nehmer training manual. See page 12- As I understand it, a Nehmer claim means that the first claim of service connection for the condition at issue was received BEFORE the condition was added to the list of AO related disabilities AND the effective date for the grant of service will also be BEFORE the condition was added. The VA assigned the effective date of 7/31/10 which is for the IHD which is prior to the date it was added to the list on 8/31/10.

My mom is no longer with us, so I don't know for sure if she filed a claim for DIC, but to the best of my knowledge she did not.

So, my dad filed a claim for lung cancer and IHD in 77. This is prior to either of these diseases being added to the AO list. According to page 12 of the Nehmer because his claims in 77 were both made before they we added to the list (lung cancer-1994 and IHD 8/31/10) his claim is a Nehmer claim.

My concern is, that he died as the result of his brain tumor. This is not on the AO list. If this was primary cause of death, then will they deny claim of IHD?

Also since lung cancer was added in 1994, and claim for lung cancer is prior to the date it was added, do I have to file a separate claim? I have contacted NVLSP, and they say my claim is complicated and that I need to wait until VA makes a decision and they will review from there.

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