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Leukemia, Agent Orange Link Found


Filed at 8:11 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Department will extend benefits to Vietnam vets with a type of leukemia that researchers now say is linked to exposure to herbicides, including Agent Orange.Vietnam War veterans diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, would start receiving improved benefits, such as disability compensation and priority health care services, in about a year, VA Secretary Anthony Principi said Thursday.``It's sad that we have to presume service connection, because we know that (veterans) have cancer that may have been caused by their battlefield service. But it's the right thing to do,'' Principi said.The Institute of Medicine, which re-examined past research on cancer rates in agricultural workers and farm community residents, announced Thursday that it had found the link between CLL and Vietnam herbicides.Veterans Affairs expects to find about 500 new cases of CLL a year among Vietnam veterans, said spokesman Phil Budahn. About 2.6 million people served in Vietnam during the war and most are still alive.There are 10,000 Vietnam veterans receiving disability pay for other illnesses related to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the war, Veterans Affairs said.


US Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/parkinsonsdisease.asp