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Marilyn Haney

merkel cell caused by agent orange


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You mentioned diabetes - is it possible his immune system was weakened by DMII, and that could have caused the Merkel to advance?....I don't know- I am sure not a doctor but my point is a veteran should claim ANY potential theory of entitlement they can.

There is definitely some association of diabetes, on the net, to cause immune system problems:


When an unusual claim like this crops up, (Merkel is a rare condition)we have to leave no stone unturned.



The Link from the Mayo Clinic states this:

"Risk factors

Factors that may increase your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma include:

  • Excessive exposure to natural or artificial sunlight. Being exposed to ultraviolet light, such as the light that comes from the sun or from tanning beds, increases your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma. The majority of Merkel cell carcinomas appear on skin surfaces frequently exposed to sun.
  • A weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems — including those with HIV infection, those taking drugs that suppress the immune response or those with chronic leukemias — are more likely to develop Merkel cell carcinoma.
  • History of other skin cancers. Merkel cell carcinoma is associated with the development of other skin cancers, such as basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Older age. Your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma increases as you age. This cancer is most common in people older than age 50, though it can occur at any age.
  • Light skin color. Merkel cell carcinoma usually arises in people who have light-colored skin. Whites are much more likely to be affected by this skin cancer than are blacks."

The PN ratig is probably too low:

"VA does not have a diagnostic code (DC) for peripheral neuropathy, so it rates it analogous. Typically, lower extremity peripheral neuropathy is rated analogous to paralysis of the sciatic nerve under diagnostic code 8520. The ratings under DC 8520 range from 80% to 10%:

  • 80% – Complete paralysis meaning that “the foot dangles or drops, no active movement possible of muscles below the knee flexion of knee weakened or […] lost”
  • 60% – Incomplete paralysis, severe with “marked muscular atrophy”
  • 40% – Incomplete paralysis, moderately severe
  • 20% – Incomplete paralysis, moderate
  • 10% – Incomplete paralysis, mild

Ratings are usually determined through Compensation and Pension examinations where an examiner will note the extent of the veteran’s paralysis and the severity."




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Posted (edited)
On 8/2/2019 at 5:04 AM, Berta said:

Does he receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) for th Merkel cell cancer?

You mentioned he has the PH- ,A Purple Heart almost always-(I cant think of any situation where  it would not)

involves a Stressor-had he ever claimed PTSD?

A good friend of mine has two PHs, and denied PTSD for decades.I certainly knew he had PTSD, I was a Vet center volunteer and in the PTSD Combat Rap group-and I married a vet with PTSD.

Finally he was talking to his vet rep,who he acquired after I helped him get 100% P & T,but there was a SMC issue, and the vet rep (who had PTSD) convinced him to file for it-

The VA awarded 50% for the PTSD and this helped him get back some SMC they had originally awarded but then took from him.

I know combat medics, we have some here- they definitely experienced stressors in Vietnam, and that as well could bolster a PTSD claim.

I am assuming he has no SC disabilities yet.....?

Has the DAV suggested that his exposure to intense sunlight in Vietnam could have caused the Merkel cancer?

I know that much time has passed since he was in Vietnam, and I assume maybe he had no other exposure as intense as that could have been, but we had a skin cancer vet's daughter  here some years ago, and his daughter helped him prove the sunlight ( he was Navy and that put him into sun a lot) caused the type of cancer he has. years after the intense exposure.

I hope your IMO/IME doctor follows the IMO criteria here at hadit:



Factors that may increase your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma include:



BERTA....THE letter we received from the oncologist was not what we was hoping for. He stated in his letter that agent orange may have caused my brother's merkel cell carcinoma.I was hoping he would go into more detail.  My brother was going to take the letter to the Dav...Can the DAV rep go into detail stating about the frequent exposure to sun.   We also have several articles by U.S. Medicine(AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE APPEARS TO DOUBLE RISK OF INVASIVE SKIN CANCER, ANOTHER....Agent Orange linked to skin cancer risk from Science News....Another Article...Agent Orange increases skin cancer risk in Viet Nam Vets and a couple more articles showing proof agent orange   concerning skin cancer.  Would it do any good in sending these articles in when my brother reapplies. When my brother had his QTC appts...it was only to see if the three things he had been approved for before was checked to see if they were worse...but they didn't check the merkel cell ...is that normal...The DAV had listed the three things he had entitlement to service connection for diabetes, ptsd, peripheral neuropathy, and the other new entitlement to service connection of Merkel Cell Carcinoma, soft tissue, right groin and lungs related to Agent Orange-Viet Nam.......Is it normal they don't get doctors to check the new entitle ment....

Berta....it has it listed merkel cell carcinoma, soft tissue......does that matter....


Edited by Marilyn Haney
add to what I want to tell berta....

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He has a very rare form of skin cancer, that could be caused from severe sunlight exposure-

Even though decades have passed from the Vietnam war, we had a vet's daughter here who did get his skin cancer SCed due to Vietnam intense sunlight.

You had mentioned I believe somewhere her that he had a different cancer that was maybe the prime cancer???

That whole thread got out of order...

Apparently you did not have to pay an IMO fee to the oncologist and unfortunately many of us have had to pay thousands for solid IMOs, but in your brothers's case he might need an IME, an independent examination.

Maybe you could get a referral from this site:


You will need to have all of his medical records, private and VA records, and the articles you have might be able to bolster your claim.

But internet medical articles only seem to matter to the VA when they are cited by a doctor with full expertise in the field of the disability.

The IMO/IME has to conform to this :


I have no idea how successful the claim will be, unless you get a very strong independent medical opinion.

(actually I hope that would warrant an independent exam.The IMO doctor should consider the possible nexus I mentioned, if he.she cannot make a solid medical rationale as the Merkel being due to AO.

You stated:

 "and the other new entitlement to service connection of Merkel Cell Carcinoma, soft tissue, right groin and lungs related to Agent Orange-Viet Nam.......Is it normal they don't get doctors to check the new entitle ment...."

The VA did not see that type of cancer on the AO presumptive list, so maybe that is why they did not order a C & P exam.

This is new information- I did not know he definitively had a soft tissue cancer and those cancers are listed here- I recently posted that newer list from NVLSP.

The IMO/IME doctor will need that list.



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