The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) issued a final rule on January 13, 2017, stating that veterans, former reservists, and former National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, for at least 30 days and have been diagnosed with any of eight associated diseases will be presumed to have incurred or aggravated the disease in service for purposes of entitlement to VA benefits.
Under this presumption, affected former reservists and National Guard members have veteran status for entitlement to VA benefits. You should contact a Wilmington personal injury attorney if you are dealing with any type of cancer that you believe stemmed from your service at Camp Lejeune.
The VA established this presumptive service connection for service members exposed to water supply contamination at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and later developed one of eight diseases.
While the eight identified conditions are the only ones for which the VA has deemed there is sufficient scientific and medical evidence supporting the creation of a presumption, the VA is still reviewing new information about other cancers.
Types of Cancers Linked to Camp Lejeune
What follows are the six cancers linked to Camp Lejeune.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, found that among chemicals tested at Camp Lejeune, trichloroethylene (TCE) involved equipoise, and above evidence for causation for all types of leukemia, benzene involved sufficient evidence for causation for all types of leukemia, and both perchloroethylene (PCE) and vinyl chloride involved below equipoise evidence for causation.
Separately, two National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies also examined leukemia cases, including one that involved a 75-town study area and one that focused on Woburn, Massachusetts, where two of the city’s eight municipal drinking water wells were closed after tests identified contamination with solvents including TCE.
The ATSDR study found that among chemicals tested at Camp Lejeune, PCE involved sufficient evidence for causation for bladder cancer, while TCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene were below equipoise evidence for causation.
The ATSDR study found that TCE involved sufficient evidence for causation for kidney cancer while PCE was below equipoise evidence for causation.
The ATSDR found that TCE involved equipoise and above evidence for causation for liver cancer, vinyl chloride involved sufficient evidence for causation for liver cancer. Benzene and PCE involved below equipoise evidence for causation.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. The ATSDR found that TCE and benzene both involved equipoise and above evidence for causation for multiple myeloma, while PCE involved below equipoise evidence for causation.
The ATSDR found that PCE involved equipoise and above evidence for causation for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while TCE and benzene both involved sufficient evidence for causation.
There is clear evidence connecting toxic chemical exposure to these cancers, and veterans should quickly seek legal counsel for assistance in recovering all of the benefits that may be available to them.
Other Cancers Being Investigated for Links to Camp Lejeune
Other types of cancers such as prostate cancer and breast cancer (which can occur in males) have not yet been linked directly to Camp Lejeune, but the VA noted that a decision by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) said there was sufficient evidence to support adding prostate cancer to the list of presumptive disabilities and results from an ATSDR study suggested possible associations between exposure to PCE, 1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE), and vinyl chloride at Camp Lejeune and male breast cancer.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Wilmington Personal Injury Attorney
If you are a service member suffering from cancer after serving at Camp Lejeune, make sure you get legal help with any claim you are dealing with. Horton & Mendez represents clients dealing with Camp Lejeune water contamination issues.
Our firm knows how to handle these cases and can help you get the financial compensation you need and deserve. Call us at (910) 415-1088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case and discuss all of your legal options.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cancers Linked to Camp Lejeune
Are there tests to see if these contaminants have affected my family?
Most volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will leave the body within a mere week of last exposure, so most testing will be unable to determine whether you were exposed to such chemicals at Camp Lejeune because the exposure was several years ago.
No specific medical tests are recommended for the exposures identified here, so you are instead instructed by ATSDR to continuously monitor your health and get regular medical check-ups, discussing conditions with your physician.
If I am a Marine Corps or Navy retiree, how do I get copies of my medical records?
You can obtain medical records by contacting the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR), which keeps personnel, health, and medical records of all discharged and deceased veterans of every service while they were in the military. NPRC-MPR also keeps medical treatment records for retirees from every service and records for dependents and other persons treated at naval medical facilities.
Information from the records is made available upon written request, although requests must contain enough information to locate the record. Such information includes your complete name as it appears on the service records, your service number or social security number, your branch of service, and your dates of service.
Dates and place of birth can also be helpful, especially if your service number is not known. If a request pertains to a record that may have been involved in the 1973 Records Center fire, you will also want to include your place of discharge, last unit of assignment, and place of entry into the service when known.
Send written requests to the following address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
How can I file a claim and get compensation for a cancer claim?
The ATSDR does not provide advice about claims or compensation and instead directs you to contact the Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) at (202) 685-4600. When you need additional advice to help with filing a claim, you are instructed to consult a private attorney.