Veteran totally disabled as a result of prostate cancer and PTSD.
Result: Service connection for prostate cancer and PTSD.
The veteran served in Vietnam where he was exposed to combat situations as well as other horrifying events. In the years following service he tried to deal with the anxiety and stress associated with his Vietnam experiences. Eventually he turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with what he was feeling. The problems ultimately cost him his marriage and his life began to fall apart. He was later diagnosed with PTSD.
As if his psychiatric problems were not bad enough, the veteran was then diagnosed with prostate cancer. As a result, he filed claims for his prostate cancer and PTSD.
The VA denied him both claims. With respect to the prostate cancer, the VA’s denial of the claim was even more bizarre. After all, he had been in Vietnam and was presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. And prostate cancer is associated with Agent Orange exposure. As for the PTSD, the VA kept denying him saying that he did not have PTSD.
After many years of appealing and being denied, the veteran finally contacted our office. We successfully obtained a remand of his claims at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The case then went back to the Board.
We got to work in developing his claim. We sent the veteran to a psychologist who specialized in forensic psychology. The psychologist determined that the veteran did have PTSD due to his Vietnam experiences. However, there was no evidence in the file to corroborate a specific PTSD stressor. But we noticed that his service medical records documented depression or nervousness symptoms in service. Based on this, the psychologist was able to determine that the veteran’s PTSD began during service. We also submitted evidence confirming that the veteran did in fact have prostate cancer.
The Board then made a decision granting service connection for prostate cancer and PTSD. The case was returned to the regional office where a 100 percent rating was assigned.