Hi Jim, my husband is a retired Marine. He is 52 years old and was recently diagnosed with advanced Prostate Cancer. It has metastasized into his abdomen, throat, and the bone near the sternum. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune where there was water contamination but I read that the VA is not recognizing prostate cancer as a connection to the contaminants. He was rated with erectile penile dysfunction. I’m trying to figure out a connection for a rating. We do have Tricare but need to connect to service related to help with the portion of medical bills that Tricare does not cover. Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
There are 3 steps I'd like for you to take. It would be best if you could prioritize these in your agenda so that there's little delay. He will very likely receive 100% disability benefits but there's paperwork to be done. Nothing at all can or will happen until the claim is filed. This isn't terribly difficult but will require some focused effort.
(1) Read this decision from the BVA. Read it again. Some of the language is obtuse but you'll get the general idea of what needs to be done.
(2) Contact this lawyer. Tell him I referred you. He may or may not be able to dive in at this time but I want you to meet him with a phone call. This is the lawyer who will guide you should VA be a problem.
(3) After you speak with the lawyer you'll probably be lined up for an IMO. The lawyer is likely to ask you to talk with a doctor he prefers or you may need to choose your own. The lawyer will advise you. Learn more about an IMO here.
In a nutshell, prostate cancer is not presumptive to the water contamination. However, an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) by an expert physician will allow the service connection to be made and benefits will be awarded. You'll read that in the BVA decision. You must apply as usual for the VA disability benefit.
I'm the son of a retired marine and spent my time as a child living at Tawara Terrace at Lejeune during the height of the contamination. My mother and my retired USMC E-9 father both passed of unexpected cancers...this before the connection to Lejeune was made.
You'll understand I have a personal interest to the Lejeune contamination debacle since it may directly affect me some day.