Renal Cell Carcinoma

Discussion in 'Cancer' started by litebright66, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. litebright66

    litebright66 New Member

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    I am trying to find out any information I can about the connection of Renal
    Cell Carcinoma and agent orange. I know that it is not on the list of
    Approved Diseases but it is on the list stating that they cannot prove or disprove the connection to agent orange.

    I am doing this in memory of my father, a disabled Vietnam Vet, who died on Jan 13.
  2. Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman New Member

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    RE: Renal Cell/Agent Orange

    Unfortunately, I'm not logged on to my screen name with the proper info in its file cabinet. However, write to the guy below and he'll give you the Johnston Atoll Survivors website.

    Congressional Investigation: Seeking Army and Air Force veterans and civilian contractor personnel (Holmes-Narver, etc.) who served on Johnston Atoll-Pacific during the Agent Orange storage years (1972-79) or the asbestos removal from the barracks ceilings, 1975-76. Contact: Neil C. Hamilton, 623-878-4286; [email protected]

    If his email address is wrong it may be because he's changed it since the post above. If so please write to me at [email protected] as that is where the other info is. I only post from here so I don't lose you altogether. :)

    I too served on Johnston Atoll as part of Agent Orange disposal operations and have visited the website many times. I believe there are some posts there; but Neil will be able to help you out.

    Good Luck
    Steve Hartman
  3. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    litebright66:

    Sorry to hear you've lost your dad. I'm sure you miss him and want to do something to fill the emptyness. It's tough but in time you will.

    Before you go off on a wild goose chase you need to understand veterans benefits are generally paid to the veteran as compensation for a loss incurred in service to the country. Since your dad is no longer with us, he has no loss and cannot be compensated. Additionally, his estate cannot receive compensation for him. About the only claim that can be made is for Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) in the name of the wife and minor children. This award is based on family income and must be below a certain level to qualify. The veteran must have died of service connected conditions which can be proven after the fact.

    If you intend to persue a DIC claim, you have a tough road ahead. As you already discovered, Renal Cell Carcinoma is not on the list of conditions presumptive of Agent Orange (AO) exposure so you are left with a direct claim.

    In a direct claim you must have three things:

    An in service event
    A medical diagnosis of a condition or loss
    A nexus or connection between the first two


    The in service event: you must show your dad was stationed where herbicide was used and that he was exposed to it.

    The diagnosis: you already have that, Renal Cell Carcinoma

    The nexus: you must show Renal Cell Carcinoma can result from exposure from herbicide. Now, your doctor can testify to that but it won't be accepted by the VA as the bodu of scientific evidence doesn't support it. So your task is to find the evidence that does support it. It must be authoratative, independent and repeatable. That's a big chore but if it's true, someone has done the work. You need to find it.

    If you have questions, feel free to ask. Someone here either has the answer or knows someone that does.
  4. chipbegley

    chipbegley New Member

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    agent orange/renal cell

    litebright66,

    i'm very interested in your findings. my father (a vietnam vet) had renel cell carcinoma too.

    please contact me as soon as possible. i have a hearing i'm preparing for.

    Thanks,
    Chip Begley
  5. litebright66

    litebright66 New Member

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    Tincanman:
    Thank you for the response. My father was getting a disablility check from the military for exposure to Agent Orange. His diabetes was attributed to agent orange and he also had a very strange rash on his thigh that never went away which was also attributed to agent orange..

    My father's primary doctor wrote a letter explaining my dad's medical problems related to Agent Orange. I included this letter in all the paperwork which I mailed to the VA. I believe that my mom should be entitled to my dad's disability check.

    I know that this will be alot of work and not an easy thing to accomplish, but I really do feel positive. If they deny it I will appeal.

    Thanks to all who responsed to my post, I will update as I get info.
  6. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    I will report my findings on Renal Carcinoma clear cell type when I get an answer from the VA. I have tried to get information on claims and it appears that a lot has changed in the last few years since the Gulf War. I am a victim of Renal Carcinoma and had a kidney removed because of it. I just retired in Sept 2006 and just had it diagnosed on Sept 22 2007. I hope they don't tell me that since it was over 1 year, the claim won't be accepted.
  7. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    If by that you mean a chronic disease subject to presumptive service connection within the 1 year period after discharge, it won't matter as Renal Cell Carcinoma doesn't appear to be on the list any way. You can find the chronic conditions listed in 38 CFR § 3.309.

    What that means is the VA will not presume service connection in your situation. That doesn't mean you cannot gain service connection though. It will be up to your physician to identify a nexus or connection between your military service and your renal cell carcinoma. He can do this by writing a letter stating he has "examined you and your Service Medical Records" and finds your renal cell carcinoma is "at least as likely as not" the result of your military service.

    The two phrases in quotes are very important, he should use them. It will also be necessary for him to support his opinion with a medically sound rationale and he cannot rely on your testimony to do so.

    Most compensation claims are filed in this manner, you just don't get a free ride with presumption and the effective date of any potential award will be the date the VA receives the claim, not the date you were last discharged.
  8. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    Well.... I'm back. I reported that I recently had surgery to remove my right kidney due to it being cancerous and found that it was at stage T3 and almost or close to T4. The problem with Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma is that it is very hard to detect until something happens i.e. gross or acute hematuria. So, it is very difficult making a claim if you have no backing information i.e. treatment or tests indicating such.

    I too, was lost as far as how would I prove that I had renal cancer without having shown signs of it. Especially when the 1 year grace period just ended as of 1 Sep and I had gross hematuria on Sep 22, three weeks beyond the 1 year mark. The bottom line is don't give up. If you think the injury or disease was during service, you need to pursue the claim.

    I just went to a C&P Exam this month and the doc was very nice. She just so happened was a blood specialist, studied cancers, and was familiar with renal cell carcinoma. I was even more surprised when she called me the very next day to inform me that she pulled my past urine tests and one of them dated in March 2006 showed signs of certain chemicals and substances that is related to cancer, more so renal cancer. She is a life saver, since it was as she stated, "plain as day" when she saw the results.

    I am requesting temporary 100% rating as per #7528 until a permanent rating can be assigned. Now the question is how long? According to the urologists that I confer with, they told me that I need to follow up with them for at least two years to make sure that no cancer cells have migrated elsewhere and that no recurrance occurs. So with that, I am thinking that the rating should at least be for that long until more exams indicate no reoccurance. Kicker in this is that I am also diabetic and on metformin; which is not really good for kidneys. Since I now have only one left, I am very concerned.

    7528 Malignant neoplasms of the genitourinary system 100
    Note—Following the cessation of surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedure, the rating of 100 percent shall continue with a mandatory VA examination at the expiration of six months. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of §3.105(e) of this chapter. If there has been no local reoccurrence or metastasis, rate on residuals as voiding dysfunction or renal dysfunction, whichever is predominant.

    Maybe TCM can answer this question....

    If I am rated 100% and I am retired E7 w/ 21 years; since the rating would exceed my retired pay, how will affect it? Also this CRDP... I am totally confused... :confused: Do I get retired pay and crdp or is it taken out of my retirement? thanks....
  9. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    Yes, I understand.... that is a very good question and I am wondering if it can be viewed as service connected or service caused. I have been searching for answers but read somewhere that, if an injury or disease that occured during service would be deemed service connected if the origin could not be determined. Of course I could have read wrong and I could be spinning my wheels. However, the cause renal cell carcinoma cannot be easily determined, in fact most cases show that there is no known cause, thus there may be a way since it there is very little to show how or what caused it.
  10. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    None the less, you must show your renal cell carcinoma was caused by your service. Look at it this way, a claim is like a lawsuit in a way. You are saying the government is responsible for your medical problem. It is up to you to show proof. Nothing less will suffice. In the same manner, if your neighbor accuses you of causing him harm, would you want the court to find in his favor just because he said so without proof?
  11. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    ok... thanks for your advice.

    I am still awaiting word from VA as to my claim(s). They may or may not award anything for the kidney removal; we'll see. The tests showed that I had renal cancer before my retirement date.; Test positive in March 2006 and before September 2006. Could be a case of he said she said. The mere fact that it happened during service would make it service related or service connected. But that is what I have come to understand. In any case, there are other matters they also are considering and it may affect the decision.

    Let you know later.
  12. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    That is one way of looking at it... Looking at Title 38 3.303

    (d) "Postservice initial diagnosis of disease. Service connection may be granted for any disease diagnosed after discharge, when all the evidence, including that pertinent to service, establishes that the disease was incurred in service. Presumptive periods are not intended to limit service connection to diseases so diagnosed when the evidence warrants direct service connection. The presumptive provisions of the statute and Department of Veterans Affairs regulations implementing them are intended as liberalizations applicable when the evidence would not warrant service connection without their aid."


    Some of those rules were written a while ago and some are outdated... but the principles are basic and thus can be flexible or a bit more liberal as stated.

    Let also say that I am not trying to argue that I am right or wrong; and certainly welcome any helpful advice. I am just frustrated to have something happen to me during active service, that could have been minimized or prevented, had the technicians did their job more thoroughly. As the examining doctor clearly told me that the readings were there and stood out, when she saw it. Please do not misunderstand.

    Thanks again.
  13. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    This is exactly what I was talking about.

    Service connection may be granted for any disease diagnosed after discharge, when all the evidence, including that pertinent to service, establishes that the disease was incurred in service.

    The evidence must show your condition started in service. Usually the way to do this is your doctor must be able to say "it is at least as likely as not" your condition began in service. He must also provide a sound rational, based on evidence, for his opinion.

    The "rules" as you call them are statutes created by Congress and regulations created by the DVA. They have the force of law and exist until superseded or removed.
  14. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    Well, the doctor told me that it is more than likely that it had started in service and at minimum, 3-5 years ago at least .

    So that is the other side of the coin.... ;)
  15. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    He needs to be willing to communicate that to the VA .AND. support his opinion with a sound rationale. He also needs to be able to state he has reviewed your service records. One thing he cannot do is base his opinion and rationale on your testimony. IOW, if you tell him something occurred in service and he bases his opinion on it, the VA will discount it.
  16. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    The fact is, the doctor pulled my past med records and tests. the tests showed I had renal carcinoma way before I retired, but no one did anything about it until I had gross hematuria and went to the ER, if it weren't for the CT scan done then, I would not have known about the cancer; and said that she would annotate and fight it if she had to, because it was during service. that impressed me... I added nothing to her conversation but was surprised that she told me.
  17. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    BTW - she is a VA Doctor... so she has direct communication with the VA office. I am in Hawaii... the VA hospital is on the same grounds as the VA office, fortunately.
  18. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    That would make things easier but understand the VHA and VBA are different entities of the DVA. They have limited computer connection. Your VA doctor doesn't have to write you a letter as such but she needs to make sure her opinion and nexus are in your clinical notes at the VAMC. Understand, just because they are there, does not mean a VBA decision maker at the VARO knows about them. Additionally, decision makers will not go off searching every nook and cranny on your behalf hoping to find something somewhere. You need to make sure the VARO knows exactly what evidence is available and where to find it. Write them a letter and tell them.

    What tests? When were they conducted? Before or after retirement?

    Was this done before or after retirement?
  19. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    I guess you weren't reading my posts... :)

    I retired on Sept 1, 2006 w/ 21 yrs svc... On Sept 22, 2007 I experienced gross hematuria and went to the ER at Tripler; thus it was just over 1 year since discharge that elapsed. At that time, the attending doctor asked if I would like a CT scan... and I replied "why not!", so I got one... two doctors came in with their faces drawn and said... we got bad news. I had a growth on my right side kidney approx 8 - 11 cm and it was pretty big. Since it was a Saturday, they made an appointment for me to see the urologist on Tuesday. I saw the CT scan then and told the doc... "If I didn't know who's scan that was... I'd say you'd have to operate now!..." It was huge....

    Anyway... Oct 3 I took it out, apparently intact including the surrounding fat just in case there were cancer cells within. Based on the Pathology report, the operation seems to have gotten all of the infected area (the kidney). The procedure they called a radical right nephrectomy. I put in a claim on Oct 19 or so for the kidney removal and scarring.

    Well... I just recently went to a C&P Exam with the VA at the VA Hospital....

    The doctor pulled my records and saw the urine tests that were done in MARCH 2006 and it clearly showed that I had renal cancer based on the chemical analysis that were found.

    Thus my tests were before I retired... showing I had a condition. It was during active service... thus service connected.

    I also am working with the DAV since they are my representatives in all my claims.

    I am also claiming an increase for DM2 with oral hypoglycemic agent and restricted diet, so that should move that to 20%.
    fyi - I have plantar faciatis on right and left both at 10%.
    ;)
  20. SFC Ret

    SFC Ret New Member

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    Here is another thought...

    since my exam was a C&P medical exam, wouldn't the doctors report indicate the findings? Certainly if the VARO requested the exam, the doctor would then have to file the report of that exam....

    all my findings should be known to all then.

    Just a thought....

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