Veterans Disability Info Blog

VA Rating for Pancreatic Cancer

If you or a loved one is a veteran who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you may be entitled to disability benefits. The Veterans Administration recognizes that veterans can develop pancreatic cancer as a result of exposure to certain substances during active duty service. In addition, veterans may develop pancreatic cancer as a result of service-related type 2 diabetes.

What Is Pancreatic Cancer? Our VA Claims Lawyer Explains

Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in the pancreas. The cancer may spread to other areas of the body.

Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other, less serious conditions. It is often advanced at the time of diagnosis, which makes it harder to treat. Treatment generally requires a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Some individuals qualify for clinical trials of new treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapies.

VA Claims for Pancreatic Cancer

If you are a veteran, you may be entitled to VA disability benefits for pancreatic cancer. To receive benefits, you need to file a claim showing a link between your military service and your current diagnosis. Service connection can include exposure to certain chemicals during active duty or evidence of another covered condition that increases your risk of pancreatic cancer.

Vietnam Veterans

If you served in Vietnam, you might have been exposed to Agent Orange. Adverse health effects of this defoliant are very common, and there is a list of conditions that are presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure, including type 2 diabetes. Research shows that people who have had type 2 diabetes for more than five years have a higher risk of contracting pancreatic cancer.  We have used the diabetes strategy to win many service connection claims for pancreatic cancer in Vietnam Veterans. It is sometimes difficult to win a direct service connection claim for pancreatic cancer due to Agent Orange, but the existence of type 2 diabetes in Agent Orange exposed veterans is so high that we are typically able to link the pancreatic cancer to long-standing service-connected diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes that may have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange, you are automatically entitled to disability payments from the VA—if  you had the requisite service in recognized Agent Orange areas. If you develop pancreatic cancer as a result of diabetes, you may be eligible for service connection, and likely at 100 percent disability rating during the active treatment phase of the cancer.

Camp Lejeune

If you served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you were exposed to dangerous chemicals in the water supply. These chemicals have been linked to multiple types of cancer. The VA recognizes a presumptive link between certain cancers and service at Camp Lejeune.

Pancreatic cancer is not included in the list of presumptive conditions for Camp Lejeune veterans. However, there is a potential link between certain chemical exposures and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Benzene, which was one of the contaminants at Camp Lejeune, has been implicated in pancreatic cancer risk.  There is some debate in the veterans bar over whether or not benzene was used in Agent Orange production. 

Burn Pit Exposure

The VA recognizes that burn pit exposure is a cause of pancreatic and other cancers. If you served in certain regions during the first or second Gulf War, you may have been exposed to burn pits, and you were later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you are presumptively entitled to VA disability benefits.

Radiation Exposure

Radiation exposure is another risk for many forms of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. The VA presumes that a pancreatic cancer diagnosis is linked to military service for veterans who served in a wide range of capacities that exposed them to radiation. This includes veterans who were part of the Occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, between August 6, 1945 and July 1, 1946, and any veteran who was a Prisoner of War (POWs) in Japan during World War II. Service Members who were part of certain nuclear testing operations or nuclear clean-up operations are also eligible for benefits.

VA Benefits for Pancreatic Cancer

To demonstrate that your pancreatic cancer diagnosis is connected to military service, you will need to provide your medical diagnosis and service records. In addition, you can solicit “buddy letters” from people who can affirm your exposure to chemicals or radiation.

If you have service-connected pancreatic cancer, you will be given a 100% disability rating. This rating will apply for the duration of cancer treatment and the six months following treatment; after that, you will be re-evaluated. You will receive a new rating based on your health status after treatment.

Contact a Leading VA Claims Lawyer To Discuss Your Case

If you or a loved one has developed pancreatic cancer as a result of military service, you must act now to protect your rights. Gang & Associates, LLC, represents Veterans in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Europe, Asia, and South America. Call a VA claims lawyer today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Se habla Español.

We are Here to Help

If you are having trouble obtaining benefits, contact us online or at 888.878.9350 to discuss your case.