For Veterans who participated in a radiation-risk activity during service (including "Atomic Veterans"), VA assumes that certain cancers are related to their exposure. These are called "presumptive diseases."
- Cancers of the bile ducts, bone, brain, breast, colon, esophagus, gall bladder, liver (primary site, but not if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated), lung (including bronchiolo-alveolar cancer), pancreas, pharynx, ovary, salivary gland, small intestine, stomach, thyroid, urinary tract (kidney/renal, pelvis, urinary bladder, and urethra)
- Leukemia (except chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
- Lymphomas (except Hodgkin’s disease)
- Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells)
These Veterans don't have to prove a connection between these diseases and their service to be eligible for disability compensation.
Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who participated in a radiation-risk activity and died as the result of one of these diseases may be eligible for Other diseases associated with radiation exposure.
If a Veteran who was exposed to radiation during military service (including "Atomic Veterans") develops one of the diseases listed below and meets other requirements, disability compensation may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
- All cancers
- Non-malignant thyroid nodular disease
- Parathyroid adenoma
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts
- Tumors of the brain and central nervous system
Eligibility depends on how much radiation the Veteran received and other factors, such as the period of time between exposure to radiation and the development of the disease.
Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to radiation during military service and died as the result of one of these diseases may be eligible for survivors' benefits.
VA also will consider the possibility that other diseases not listed above were caused by radiation, if supported by medical or scientific evidence. To be eligible for compensation, VA must be able to establish that it is at least as likely as not that a Veteran’s disease was caused by his/her radiation exposure during service.