Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Home Agent Orange Agent Orange: Respiratory Cancers

Agent Orange: Respiratory Cancers

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VA presumes Veterans' respiratory cancer (lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea) is 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 respiratory cancer and military service to be eligible to receive VA benefits.

Learn more:

  • About Respiratory Cancers
  • Research on Respiratory Cancers and Herbicides Used in Vietnam
  • VA Benefits for Respiratory Cancers
  • Contact VA about Benefits

About Respiratory Cancers

Respiratory cancers are cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms vary, depending on the location of the cancer:

  • Lung cancer—a new cough or cough that doesn’t go away, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, hoarseness
  • Cancer of the trachea—dry cough, hoarseness, breathlessness, difficulty swallowing
  • Cancer of the larynx (at the top of the trachea)—hoarseness, voice changes, sore throat or earache, feeling of a lump in the throat
  • Cancer of the bronchus—cough, chest pain, coughing blood

Visit Medline Plus* to learn more about treatment of cancer and the latest research from the National Institutes of Health.

Research on Respiratory Cancers and Herbicides Used in Vietnam

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its 1994 report "Veterans and Agent Orange: Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam"*† and in future updates that there is limited/suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides (2,4-D; 2,4,5-T and its contaminant TCDD; cacodylic acid; and picloram) and respiratory cancers. In updates to this report, IOM noted that associations linking development of respiratory cancers and exposure to dioxin were found consistently only when herbicide exposures appeared to be high and prolonged.

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.

VA Benefits for Respiratory Cancers

Veterans with respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea) who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits.

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 respiratory cancers 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?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.