Armed Forces News

Afghanistan - Circa 2006: A burn pit at a US base. Image: S and S Imaging/

More veterans who have cancer because of exposure to airborne carcinogens while on active duty could qualify for service-connected disability ratings from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The department recently added the following conditions to the list of presumptive illnesses related to military service:


•      Squamous cell carcinomas of the larynx and trachea
•      Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
•      Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
•      Adenosquamous, large-cell, salivary gland-type and sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lung
•      Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.

“This is the right decision. The rarity and severity of these illnesses, and the reality that these conditions present a situation where it may not be possible to develop additional evidence, prompted us to take this critical action,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

The VA decision addresses incidences of veterans who became ill after having served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. Their conditions may be linked to exposure to burn pits, which were used to dispose of all forms of refuse in the theater. The agency intends to reach out to veterans and survivors who may be impacted by these maladies.

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