Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, or Hodgkin’s Disease, is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. Exposure to Agent Orange is considered a common risk factor for contracting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in veterans, so the VA has established a presumption of contact for any veteran who served in Vietnam or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the Vietnam Era. This means that eligible veterans, particularly those who served on the ground in Vietnam or the Korean DMZ, at Thailand-based or other specified airbases, or in C-123 aircraft, who are affected by Hodgkin’s Lymphoma don’t need to establish a service connection to get compensation and healthcare through the VA. This presumption is meant to streamline your access to treatment and compensation for your condition, which in this case is highly treatable if caught early enough.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is defined in the Federal Register under diagnostic code 7709, and grants affected veterans a 100% rating until six months following the cessation of surgical therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or other procedures. Following this period, you will be reevaluated, and if the cancer has not recurred or metastasized, have your rating reduced or removed. Generally, the process to claim compensation from the VA is straightforward and expedited in cases of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and surviving spouses and dependents of afflicted veterans may also be eligible for benefits.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Causes and Symptoms
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is one of only two cancers of the lymphatic system, alongside the more common Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It is characterized by a mutation to your body’s lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) that creates malformed cells and promotes multiplication, in turn causing an overload of malformed, malfunctioning cells that overwhelm the healthy cells and lead to the onset of symptoms.
Symptoms include a swelling of the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin, along with fever, persistent fatigue, night sweats, itching, loss of appetite, weight loss, and sensitivity to the effects of alcohol.
Treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is considered a highly survivable cancer, and usually comes with a positive prognosis, especially if caught early. It can be found and diagnosed following a physical exam, blood tests, then CT or PET scans and lymph node or bone marrow biopsy. Common treatment methods include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, or targeted drug therapy.
VA Disability Claims and Appeals for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Seeking VA disability compensation and healthcare for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is supposed to be an easy process given the presumption of contact for eligible veterans. The 1994 report “Veterans and Agent Orange: Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam” by the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is referenced by the VA as hard evidence that Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is strongly associated with Agent Orange exposure.
However, veterans or their surviving spouses and dependents are encouraged to seek assistance when filing a new claim or an appeal for a denied claim regarding Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. VA Disability Group PLLC can be reached by calling 844-VET-LAWS or filling out our online form. We’re ready to get your claim back on track to get the compensation you deserve for a highly treatable condition like Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.