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Home Agent Orange Agent Orange: Chronic B-cell Leukemias

Agent Orange: Chronic B-cell Leukemias

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VA presumes Veterans' chronic B-cell leukemias are related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans exposed to herbicides do not have to prove a connection between their chronic B-cell leukemia and military service to be eligible to receive VA benefits.

Learn more:

  • About Chronic B-cell Leukemias
  • Research on B-cell Leukemias and Herbicides Used in Vietnam
  • VA Benefits for Chronic B-cell Leukemias
  • Contact VA about Benefits

About Chronic B-cell Leukemias





Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. B-cells are a specific type of lymph cell that affect a body’s immune system. There are two types of B-cell leukemia: prolymphocytic leukemia (PLL) and hairy cell leukemia (HCL). Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common form of leukemia and is characterized by production of an excessive number of white blood cells.

Signs and Symptoms

Common leukemia signs and symptoms include:

  • Persistent fatigue, weakness
  • Frequent infections
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
  • Bone pain or tenderness

Visit MedlinePlus* to learn more about chronic lymphocytic leukemia, treatment and the latest research from the National Institutes of Health.

Research on B-cell Leukemias and Herbicides Used in Vietnam

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences focused on chronic lymphocytic leukemia in its report “Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2002”*† and concluded that there is sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  In 2003, VA recognized chronic lymphocytic leukemia as related to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

The Institute of Medicine concluded in its report “Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008”*† released July 24, 2009, that there is sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to Agent Orange and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, including hairy cell leukemia and other chronic B-cell leukemias.  As a result, VA expanded chronic lymphocytic leukemia to include all chronic B-cell leukemias as related to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. VA's final regulation* recognizing this association took effect on October 30, 2010.

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.

VA Benefits for Chronic B-cell Leukemias

Veterans with chronic B-cell leukemias who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits. Vietnam Veterans may apply for disability compensation for chronic B-cell leukemias using VA’s Fast Track Claims Processing System.

Veterans who served in Vietnam or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for an Agent Orange Registry health exam, a free, comprehensive examination.

Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of chronic B-cell leukemias may be eligible for survivors' benefits.

Contact VA about Benefits

By Telephone

  • Toll-free Helpline: 1-800-749-8387 Press 3
  • Agent Orange Registry Health Exam: Call your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator
  • Health Care: 1-877-222-8387
  • Compensation and Other Non-Health Care Benefits: 1-800-827-1000
  • TDD (for hearing impaired): 1-800-829-4833

In Person

  • Health Care and Agent Orange Registry Health Exam: Go to your nearest VA health care facility.
  • Compensation Benefits and Other Non-Health Care Benefits: Go to your nearest VA benefits office.
 

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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at www.archives.gov