Now, several decades later, veterans are arriving at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office with questions about AO, Greg Remus told commissioners this week.
In the third quarter of 2014, he saw 681 Vietnam vets, up from last year’s 493 for the same period. About two per month arrive having been diagnosed with AO-related cancer or heart disease, he said.
Most veterans know that if they were stationed in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975, regardless of length of time, the VA will presume they were exposed to AO, Remus said.
The conversation with Vietnam vets almost always begins with an explanation of what diseases are caused by exposure to AO, the Veterans Service officer said.
The diseases include AL amyloidosis, chronic B-cell leukemia, chloracne (or similar acneform disease), diabetes mellitus type 2, Hodgkin’s disease, ischemic heart disease, multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, acute and sub-acute porphyria cutanea tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers (including lung cancer), and soft tissue sarcomas.
Most veterans believe they can be tested to see if AO is in their body. The AO registry exam will not confirm exposure to Agent Orange; the intent of the exam is to detect “presumptive diseases” related to the exposure to AO, he explained.