How To Establish A Service Connection For An Enlarged Prostate
Establishing a service connection for an enlarged prostate is extremely difficult because the root cause of this condition is unclear, making it difficult to directly or proximately link this disability to an injury or disease in service.
For example, the VA denied a disability claim where a veteran tried to prove a secondary service connection for their BPH, arguing that this disability is a result of his primary service-connected diabetes. The VA found that there is no medical correlation between BPH and diabetes and denied the claim.
The Nexus Letter is like the missing link to a successful VA disability compensation claim. In this video, one of our veterans disability lawyers explains the importance of the Nexus Letter.
Therefore, a veteran needs to submit strong medical evidence with their disability claim to prove that their BPH is either a direct result or secondary result of their military service.
A veteran can submit:
- Medical records showing that they have been diagnosed with BPH.
- Service treatment records showing that they were treated for BPH or a prostate-related injury during service.
- Lay evidence that confirms the veteran developed BPH or a prostate-related injury in service. This can include statements from your co-workers, spouses, family members, etc.
- Doctor reports validating that a connection exists between their enlarged prostate and an injury or disease they suffered during service.
Conditions Similar To Bph
There are other conditions that are similar to BPH and can often be confused for this condition. Before applying for disability benefits for an enlarged prostate, veterans should be sure to obtain a diagnosis for this condition. You want to know what diagnosis you are working with before establishing a service connection.
Conditions such as prostatitis and prostate cancer are very similar to BPH and even rated under the same disability rating system.
Vietnam Veteran With Stage Iv Cancer Got Va Benefits By Chance Thanks To Alpha
When I turned 60 I thought it a good idea to get a physical. Thats when I found out that my prostate was slightly enlarged. It turned out that I tested positive for prostate cancer. I had to have surgery but, I didnt get better. The cancer has spread into my blood. Its in my bones and lymph nodes. I now have stage IV cancer.
I am a Vietnam veteran, but I never thought of applying to the VA for help. Ive been healthy all my life until now. I thought getting cancer was just something that happened. I didnt think it had anything to do with service in Vietnam. It was my sister-in-laws dad, and a veteran, who told me I could get cash benefits from the VA . He said I should give it a try.
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What Is The Disability Rating For Voiding Dysfunction
Voiding dysfunction is when your pelvic floor muscles are overactive, causing your bladder and urethra to be uncoordinated in releasing urine. This rating system is further broken into subcategories based on whether the patient is experiencing urine leakage, obstructed voiding, or urinary frequency.
- Urine Leakage is rated between 20% to 60%. An individual would receive a rating based on whether they need to wear absorbent materials and change them. Their rating would increase based on how frequently they need to change this material and increase even higher if they need to use an appliance to help with leakage.
- Obstructed Voiding is rated between 0% to 30%. This condition which is marked by intermittent or slowed urination can cause stricture disease which causes the urethra walls to narrow. An individual would receive a 0% rating even if they have symptoms if they only need to do dilatation to expand their urethra walls once or twice a year. However, they could receive a 10% rating if they need to complete dilatation every 2 to 3 months, or a 30% rating if they need to use a catheter.
- Urinary Frequency is rated between 10% to 40%. The VA rating for urinary frequency increases based on how frequently you need to urinate in the daytime or need to wake up to urinate at night.
Va Ratings For The Genitourinary System
You may not remember learning about the genitourinary system in school, but it is one of the most prominent systems of the body, dealing with most excretory organs as well as reproductive organs. Many veterans experience issues with the genitourinary system due to service-related injuries or other traumatic events. Numerous issues can occur in the genitourinary system as a result of stress and other emotional or mental issues. The genitourinary system consists of the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. It also consists of the reproductive organs being the vagina, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, external genitalia, and perineum in women, and the prostate gland, testicles, epididymis, and penis in men.
The main function of the genitourinary system is to expel liquid waste from the body. Many conditions can affect this system and are subsequently ratable by the VA for disability compensation.
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Ask A Service Officer: Reduced Va Compensation
Q. I am receiving 100-percent disability for prostrate cancer thats Agent Orange related. If my cancer goes into remission, can VA reduce my compensation?
A. Yes, VA may reduce your compensation. Prostate cancer ratings are determined by VA regulation 38 CFR 4.115b. This regulation states, in part, “Following the cessation of surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedure, the rating of 100 percent shall continue with a mandatory VA examination at the expiration of six months. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of 38 CFR 3.105. If there has been no local reoccurrence or metastasis, the disability is to be rated on residuals as voiding dysfunction or renal dysfunction, whichever is predominant.”
Once your cancer is in remission, VA will not be able to compensate you at 100-percent disability based on treatment for cancer. If you have residuals from the cancer treatmen, VA needs to separately rate them. Common secondary conditions from prostate cancer treatment include urinary problems, rectum or bowel issues, erectile dysfunction and depression.
You should make a new claim for any secondary conditions by submitting evidence that shows cancer-related complications. VA will make a new decision to match your symptoms with the rating schedule. This is often a separate decision from the proposal to reduce the cancer rating.
How The Va Rates Prostate Cancer
The VA has established a rating system for prostate cancer based on the severity of the symptoms. This rating system falls under genitourinary conditions . Prostate cancer is rated according to voiding dysfunction or urinary tract infection .
If surgery is required for prostate cancer, the VA will award a temporary 100 percent rating post-surgery. The VA will schedule a follow-up exam at a VA medical center about six months after the surgery in order to determine whether or not the 100 percent rating is still warranted.
If there is no metastasis, the VA will then rate the residuals according to voiding dysfunction or renal dysfunction , which usually comes to a 10 percent rating. Court cases have determined that the VA can reduce the 100 percent rating only after the cessation of surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy, or other therapeutic procedure. The term therapeutic according to DC 7528 is interpreted as the procedures to cure cancer and the disease.
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Prostate Cancer And Agent Orange
Certain unique factors may put veterans, especially those who served in the Vietnam or Korean wars, at increased risk for developing prostate cancer. A 1996 report published by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that there is a link between prostate cancer and exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam and Korean wars. Similarly, a 2013 study conducted at the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University found that veterans exposed to Agent Orange were at an increased risk for both developing prostate cancer and developing more aggressive forms of the disease.
Veterans with prostate cancer who were exposed to herbicides during active service may be eligible for disability compensation through the VA. There are several eligibility requirements to receive these benefits, and it is important to contact the VA directly if you think you are eligible.
Compensation & Pension Exams For Cancer
A Compensation & Pension exam is the VAs way of clarifying what your doctor has to say about your condition. It is not meant to help you alleviate or treat your disorder, but to qualify certain statements and have a second opinion on record by a certified VA health professional.
Youre usually asked to complete a C& P exam after submitting all your paperwork through the VA Regional Office . With cancer, the presumption is that if you can prove exposure to Agent Orange or radiation, then there will be little debate about whether it was service-connected. However, in some cases, the RO may still want you to see a VA doctor, especially if youre filing for a secondary service connection.
During the exam, the doctor may take a biopsy of your tumor, draw blood, and ask general questions about your time in the military. Please note that the cause of your cancer can have been at any point while you were in the service. You do not necessarily need to be on base and on active duty to qualify. So if you were exposed to Agent Orange during your free time in Vietnam, you can still file for a primary service connection.
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Disability Benefits For Prostate Cancer
Social Security Disability Lawyers: OC, Riverside & San Bernardino
Prostate Cancer and Disability in Younger Men
Prostate cancer typically affects older men, but young men get it too. The average age at diagnosis is 66 years, but about 40% of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer below the age of 65 and 10% of men under the age of 55. Even young men in their 20’s and 30’s develop prostate cancer, which is often more aggressive than in older men The 5-year survival is 30% in men diagnosed with prostate cancer when they are 15 to 24 years old, 50% in those aged 20 to 29 years, and 80% in those aged 25 to 34 years.
Therefore, men under the age of 65 may require disability benefits for prostate cancer under the Social Security Administration and/or under a private long-term disability group plan governed by ERISA.
Prostate cancer is frequently diagnosed in men after a blood test called the PSA starts going up. That can lead to a needle biopsy of the prostate gland, which is the only definitive way of diagnosing prostate cancer.
It is important to note that an elevated PSA does not automatically mean a man has prostate cancer. Elevations of the PSA may occur with benign enlargement of the prostate gland that occurs with age.
For example, men who are in their 40’s usually have a PSA from 0 to 2.5. In the 50’s, it can go up to 3.5. In the 60’s, up to 4.5, and in the 70’s, up to 6.5.
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Clinical Trials For Veterans
Below is information on clinical trials specific to veterans. To learn more about clinical trials, steps to find a clinical trial, and additional active clinical trials, please visit our Clinical Trials section.
- 18F-DCFPyL PET/CT Impact on Treatment Strategies for Patients With Prostate Cancer
- The main purpose of this phase II trial study is to determine whether a positron emission tomography /computed tomography scan using 18F-DCFPyL affects the clinical management plan in Veterans. In this study, the management plan prior to and after 18F-DCFPyL PET/CT will be recorded by specific questionnaires and corresponding changes in management will be analyzed. The scan will be used to see how the disease has spread. Both the treatment strategies and probable disease outcomes as relevant to clinical endpoints will be assessed. This study is open to Veterans only.
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How Does Va Rate Prostate Cancer
Upon establishing service connection, the VA rates prostate cancer depending on if it is active. If the cancer is active, the VA should automatically assign a 100% disability rating. If the cancer goes into remission, the VA will evaluate each residual of the cancer and rate them based on the severity.
These are some common residuals of prostate cancer and their ratings.
These are just a few common residuals and some veterans may experience additional residuals. Presence and severity vary from person to person.
What Is The Va Disability Rating For Enlarged Prostate
Painful or difficulty going pee can be a symptom of growing old, or it can be an enlarged prostate caused by your time in the service.
Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia is a genitourinary condition that makes it hard to urinate. It can increase your urgency to urinate and also prevent you from urinating even when the urge is present. Although many male veterans suffer from this condition, it is difficult for them to validate their eligibility for a disability rating.
Generally, the VA presents many hurdles that can block a veterans access to benefits for any condition. However, seeking VA BPH benefits is particularly difficult because this condition is extremely common in older men and because it is difficult to show a service connection between your current disability and an injury or disease suffered during military service.
However, securing compensation is still possible. The VA assigns disability ratings from 0% to 60% for an enlarged prostate, depending on the severity of this disorder. Therefore, if a veteran can successfully prove their entitlement to these ratings and also prove a military service connection exists, they can access these benefits.
Unsure where to start? This article is a great first step. We also recommend consulting with an VA disability lawyer for guidance throughout this complicated process.
- Frequent urination at night.
- The feeling that your bladder is not empty after passing urine.
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I Got Immediate Attention And Service At Alpha
I called them many times but I could never get through. I was always getting disconnected. I couldnt get a hold of anybody there. So, I started hunting around for veterans groups to help me, and found Alpha.
From the start, I got respect, and service. Every time I called my Alpha advocate I got through to him. He took my case very seriously and pushed hard for me. He kept me updated on progress. And when my condition was upgraded to Stage IV he called the VA and told them they needed to expedite the decision process. I got what I never expected a 100 percent disability rating and cash benefits within four months of my Alpha advocate submitting my initial claim.
Vietnam Veterans & Prostate Cancer
Veterans who served in Vietnam are now reaching their mid-60s, which is the age at which prostate cancer is usually diagnosed. This means that we are seeing an influx of prostate cancer cases.
Roughly eight nine million men in the US served during the Vietnam War with approximately 2.7 million Americans serving in Vietnam. And according to recent studies, almost 1.4 million men are predicted to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. A 2013 study conducted at the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University found that Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are not only at higher risk for prostate cancer, but they also have an increased risk for more aggressive forms of the disease.
Agent Orange, as we have discussed in previous Agent Orange blog posts, has been found to cause many serious health problems. The VA has found sufficient evidence of an association with certain conditions so they have recognized fourteen different diseases and type of cancer as being related to Agent Orange exposure. These conditions are considered presumptive diseases, meaning that the VA will grant service-connection for these conditions as long as the veteran was in Vietnam. Some other diseases on this list include non-Hodgkins lymphoma , soft tissue sarcoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, multiple myeloma, and ischemic heart disease.
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Is Prostate Cancer Presumptive
Yesand no. As mentioned above, prostate cancer is a presumptive condition for veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Presumptive means that veterans do not have to provide a nexus to prove service connection.
Veterans who were exposed to burn pits in the Southwest theatre of operations after September 11, 2001 have also gone on to develop prostate cancer. While VA does not acknowledge disabilities as presumptively caused by burn pits, veterans can provide a nexus opinion from a medical professional to argue for service connection for their prostate cancer.
Service Connection For Cancer
Cancer can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of whether a person is in the military. This can make it difficult to link the time in service to cancer. Even though certain conditions, such as stress and trauma, are known to weaken the bodys system in response to a perceived or real threat, this is generally not enough to establish a connection. However, if you can show that you were exposed to known cancer-causing agents or processes, you can file for disability benefits for your cancer.
Heres what youll need to get your claim started:
- A current diagnosis from your doctor
- Description of the events that led to the cancer
- A statement from your doctor confirming that the cancer was caused by your time in the service
Some veterans may have developed cancer due to radiation exposure. For example, you may have participated in a radiation-risk activity, such as nuclear weapons testing. Nuclear exposure has been linked to a number of cancers, including bile duct, urinary tract, bone, brain, breast, colon, gall bladder, liver, pancreas, and stomach. You may also be diagnosed with certain blood cancers, such as leukemia.
Agent Orange Exposure
If you were on the ground in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, you may have been exposed to this harmful herbicide. Keep in mind that the VA considers these cancers to be presumptive conditions for this group of Vietnam veterans, so you wont be required to prove service connection.
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