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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Veteran Affairs | June 2007 

Exposed to Agent Orange? Risk Grows After Surgery
email this pageprint this pageemail usDavid Lord - PVNN

U.S. Air Force planes spray Agent Orange over the South Vietnamese countryside in 1966. (Wide World Photos)
The Hard Truth about Veterans exposed to Agent Orange is they have a 48 percent increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence following surgery than their unexposed peers, and when the disease comes back, it seems more aggressive, researchers say.

"We looked at all patients, whether they were exposed or not, to see which were more likely to develop a recurrence and patients with a history of Agent Orange exposure were more likely," says Dr. Sagar R. Shah, MCG urology resident who is presenting the data May 20th during the American Urological Association Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.

The study looked at 1,653 veterans who had prostate cancer surgery at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in five cities between 1990 and 2006; 199 had been exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant sprayed on the dense forests of Vietnam during the war.

Agent Orange contains the carcinogen, Dioxin, which can be stored in body fat and is believed to make its way into the cell nucleus and work as a tumor promoter. Doctors Martha Terris and Sagar R. Shah said, "Dioxin's impact is dose-related, and while the researchers did not measure levels of Dioxin or Agent Orange, they suspect that blacks, who were more likely to be ground troops, also were more likely to have had more Agent Orange exposure."


1. To tie this study into the higher incidence of Prostate Cancer of Black Soldiers or Black Men in general is flawed, it allows the V.A. to shift responsibility from the military service to the genetics of race as the cause of a disease. Further it is a myth that Black Soldiers had ANY greater numbers in Viet Nam or any greater exposure to Agent Orange. Black Americans, 12% in the general population of the United States and Black Service Men were 12% of all troops, which is in exact proportion to their relative population. In fact 85% of all troops on the ground were white and ranged in age from 18 to 20 years old.

2. Connectivity of Service related disabilities due to exposure to Agent Orange have just begun to be revealed with over 20 years of testing. These studies that connect exposures of Dioxin to various diseases are critical for the long term health care of Veterans.

Since compensation is based on connective issues, it requires an adjudication of the claim linking the disease to your military service. Eventually the monthly compensation checks come, but the more important issue is of medical insurance coverage while the Veteran is outside the United States.

The Foreign Medical Program administered by the V.A. requires that the Veteran has a Service Connected Condition that is being treated or they will not cover the cost of treatment outside of a V.A. facility.

In Mexico we have no V.A. Hospital to turn to, therefore we must have a Service Connected disability or pay the Hospital cost. Without the adjudicated claim being Service Connected we are left with only Pension Laws to help cover the cost, and if we have income over $12,000 or $14,500 per year if married, we do not qualify for any Pension or medical insurance coverage (except for the Tricare program for retired military.)

These new studies are vital for all Veterans, I wish they would keep the politically correct or popular myths and other nonsense out of the medical research and stick to the facts. All Veterans of all ethnic, religious, social preferences deserve better care.

It is very serious business when a Veteran is hospitalized for the result of a service connected disability (S.C.), such as a gastric failure due to side effects of a Service Connected disability such as P.T.S.D.

Even if the emergency event is related to a service connected condition it must be a disability of record and a adjudicated condition. If not, they (F.M.P.) refuse insurance coverage. The case can be won, but the Veteran and his family is in for a hell of a time fighting the system. Hospitals in Mexico expect payment, not promises.

I have won a case of P.T.S.D. provoking a medical procedure due to an adjudicated disability but only after two years of case work and hearings and appeals to the F.M.P. If a Veteran is unable to carry the fight, or worse dies from the medical emergency, his family could be stuck with very expensive medical obligations, so get your medical problems on record by filing claim for all your problems.


The Department of Mexico, American Legion will hold the 88th Annual Convention this week at Post 7 Lake Chapala. I will report on any Legion business that is news worthy upon my return for you next article.


Three veterans died this past month in Puerto Vallarta, and not one had prepared their survivors for an emergency, they did not plan on checking out. Please let your loved ones or friends know what you wish to be done and provide someone with the written paperwork. None of us are good at precautions, but respect your family and friends by giving them a moment now to list all that you wish done after your death -even if you are healthy, wealthy, and wise!
David Lord served in Vietnam as combat Marine for 1st Battalion 26th Marines, during which time he was severely wounded. He received the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation for his actions during the war in Vietnam. In Mexico, David now represents all veterans south of the U.S. border all the way to Panama, before the V.A. and the Board of Veterans Appeals. David Lord provides service to veterans at no fee. Veterans are welcome to drop in and discuss claims/benefits to which they are entitled by law at his office located at Bayside Properties, 160 Francisca Rodriguez, tel.: 223-4424, call him at home 299-5367, on his cell: 044 (322) 205-1323, or email him at

Click HERE for more Veteran Affairs with David Lord »»»

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