Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma


Dear Jim, Thank you very much for the information that has proven valuable to me amongst many.  I am a Vietnam vet, on the ground in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. In 1983, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, now recognized as a presumptive disease from Agent Orange exposure. [The lymphoma spread to my left (?) testis which was removed by orchiectomy.] I was treated with chemotherapy including Cisplatin, Velban, and Bliomycin as the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. The chemo treatment was successful in eliminating the cancer, but the chemo also destroyed the functionality in my left kidney, which was removed, and the remaining right kidney is operating at 23%. My nephrologist says dialysis will be required in 2 to 3 years.   I am 75 years old. I want to claim Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as presumptive disease and End Stage Renal Failure as secondary. My problem is that both the oncologist who originally treated me in 1983-1984 and the urologist who performed the orchiectomy in 1983, passed away years ago. While I have always maintained over the last 40 years that I had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which was what my original oncologist told me, I do not have any medical records, since under California law, records may be destroyed after 7 years. In addition, the hospital where I received chemo treatment closed many years ago.   In this case, can my nephrologist make a nexus statement, based on my assertion to her over the last 10 years ago that I had chemo for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma? What about lay statements from myself, family members and friends who visited me at the hospital when I had surgery and chemo treatment?  In addition to my End Stage Renal Failure, I recently underwent a lobectomy where a section of my left lobe was removed due to lung cancer. I have also been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. While both are Agent Orange-related presumptive diseases, I am concerned that making multiple claims at may slow down my claim process. Please advise.  Thank you for all that you are doing to help veterans like me.


Jim's Reply:


If you want VA to rate & compensate all the conditions you've noted, you have to file the claim and mention each one. Whether or not you have records doesn't really come into play until you should file any and all claims that you believe are service connected and let the process work. VA deals with multiple claims all the time so don't let that be a barrier...file today!