VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran’s qualifying military service. We call these “presumptive diseases.”
VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.
Agent Orange-Related Illnesses
Cancers believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange
- Chronic B-cell Leukemia: A type of cancer that affects your white blood cells (cells in your body’s immune system that help to fight off illnesses and infections)
- Hodgkin’s Disease: A type of cancer that causes your lymph nodes, liver, and spleen to get bigger and your red blood cells to decrease (called anemia)
- Multiple Myeloma: A type of cancer that affects your plasma cells (white blood cells made in your bone marrow that help to fight infection)
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue (a part of your immune system that helps to fight infection and illness)
- Prostate Cancer: Cancer of the prostate (the gland in men that helps to make semen)
- Respiratory Cancers (including lung cancer): Cancers of the organs involved in breathing (including the lungs, larynx, trachea, and bronchus)
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma): Different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues
Other illnesses believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange
- AL Amyloidosis: A rare illness that happens when an abnormal protein (called amyloid) builds up in your body’s tissues, nerves, or organs (like your heart, kidneys, or liver) and causes damage over time
- Chloracne (or other types of acneform disease like it): A skin condition that happens soon after contact with chemicals and looks like acne often seen in teenagers. Under our rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: An illness that happens when your body is unable to properly use insulin (a hormone that turns blood glucose, or sugar, into energy), leading to high blood sugar levels
- Ischemic Heart Disease: A type of heart disease that happens when your heart doesn’t get enough blood (and the oxygen the blood carries). It often causes chest pain or discomfort.
- Parkinson’s Disease: An illness of the nervous system (the network of nerves and fibers that send messages between your brain and spinal cord and other areas of your body) that affects your muscles and movement—and gets worse over time
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early Onset: An illness of the nervous system that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness. Under our rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda: A rare illness that can make your liver stop working the way it should and can cause your skin to thin and blister when you’re out in the sun. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.
If you have an illness you think is caused by contact with Agent Orange—and you don’t see it listed here—you can still apply for benefits. You’ll need to show that you have a disability and include a doctor’s report or a hospital report stating that your illness is believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange.
There are steps Veterans can take to help prevent heart disease, cancer, and other common diseases of aging. Get the recommended health screenings, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and don’t smoke. Learn more about healthy living.
Children with birth defects
VA presumes certain birth defects in children of Vietnam and Korea Veterans are associated with Veterans’ qualifying military service.
Veterans with Lou Gehrig’s Disease
VA presumes Lou Gehrig’s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure.