By Mike Hixenbaugh, The Virginian-Pilot
and Charles Ornstein and Terry Parris Jr., ProPublica
April 27, 2016
Eller is one of about 5,000 veterans and family members who’ve shared their Agent Orange exposure stories with ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot over the past several months. More than 125 of them said they’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Hundreds more reported having one or more of the other conditions being reviewed by the VA.Alan Eller has spent more than a decade trying to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs that his bladder cancer was the result of exposure to Agent Orange almost 50 years ago in Vietnam.
The Army vet has filed three claims with the agency, most recently in 2014, since a doctor told him the cancer was likely tied to the toxic herbicide.
Each time, even as he found additional doctors to vouch for the link between his cancer and his service, the VA rejected Eller’s claim, arguing there was no proof.
But a report last month by a prominent committee of scientists said there’s now research suggesting otherwise. As a result, the VA is studying whether it should reverse its position and add the condition to the list of illnesses it presumes to be linked to Agent Orange, which the U.S. sprayed across Vietnam during the war.
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