What Is Multiple Myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. When working properly, plasma cells aid in the body’s immune response by producing antibodies that recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate and crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. These cancerous plasma cells also produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications in other areas of the body.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma are:
- Bone pain
- Unexplained bone fractures
- Repeated infections
- Weight loss
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms on a persistent basis, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Multiple Myeloma And Veterans
While it’s not clear what causes multiple myeloma in some cases, the leading cause of this type of cancer among veterans is Agent Orange exposure. According to a 2008 study on the health effects of Agent Orange, there is suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to the herbicide and development of multiple myeloma. Due to the scientific evidence linking Agent Orange and this condition, the VA grants presumptive service connection for veterans with multiple myeloma who served in an area of presumptive Agent Orange exposure while in the military. Additionally, surviving spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service and died as a result of multiple myeloma may be eligible for survivor’s benefits.
How The VA Rates Multiple Myeloma
Under 38 CFR § 4.117, the VA evaluates multiple myeloma as follows:
Diagnostic Code 7712: Multiple myeloma
- 100 – Symptomatic multiple myeloma
- 0 – Asymptomatic, smoldering, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
The 100 percent evaluation for multiple myeloma continues for five years after the diagnosis of symptomatic multiple myeloma, at which point the condition is evaluated again and the VA will assign the appropriate schedular disability evaluation. Any reduction in schedular disability rating based upon that evaluation or any subsequent examination is subject to the provisions of 38 CFR § 3.105(e) and § 3.344 (a) and (b).
Help With Your Multiple Myeloma Claim
If you are a veteran seeking assistance with your multiple myeloma claim, or have another Agent Orange related condition you’d like to gain service connection for, please contact our office today. Our experienced veterans disability attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.