Working in conjunction with the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki announced that the VA is expanding the list of conditions and diseases "acknowledged as having a connection to being exposed to Agent Orange."
The new additions: ischemic heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and all B-cell blood cancers.
Associated conditions already on the VA's list: Hodgkin's, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, described by the VA as "a diverse group of hematologic (blood) cancers including any lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system) other than Hodgkin's Lymphoma that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue."
Anyway, by my count, these new B-cell benefits should extend to vets diagnosed with:
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
- Hairy cell leukemia
- Extranodal marginal-zone B-cell (MALT) lymphoma
- Lymphoplasmacytoid lymphoma
- Splenic marginal zone lymphoma
- Nodal marginal-zone B-cell (MALT) lymphoma
- Mantle cell lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Burkitt's lymphoma
One of the most hideous and unremitting legacies of the Vietnam war, over 21 million gallons of the herbicide Agent Orange was sprayed to excess by the US military for over 5 years beginning in 1965 to kill that country's thick foliage and prevent the enemy from hiding amongst it. Today the VA estimates that over 2.5 million military personnel were potentially exposed to the horrible chemical.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government has estimated that Agent Orange has killed or maimed 400,000; that it has given half a million children birth defects; and that another 2 million have developed diseases like cancer.