Skip to Navigation Skip to Search Skip to Content
Search All Centers

Cancer-Related VA Benefits for Vietnam Veterans

Read Transcript Download/Print Transcript
View next

Published on February 11, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • If you are a military veteran who served in Vietnam, you may be eligible for a free health screening and additional benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs

Patient advocate Patrick Clune, a retired Lieutenant Colonel who served in Vietnam and is now living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), speaks with Patient Power Co-Founder Andrew Schorr about the importance of Vietnam-era veterans seeking out a free health screening through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may be eligible for additional VA benefits. Watch now to learn more.  

Featuring

Transcript | Cancer-Related VA Benefits for Vietnam Veterans

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:       

Andrew Schorr here with Pat Clune from the Austin area, and we’ve been talking—you are a retired lieutenant colonel from the Air Force. 

Pat Clune:                 

That’s correct.

Andrew Schorr:       

You were in Vietnam. 

Pat Clune:                 

Yes.

Andrew Schorr:       

So, for our military veterans who, maybe, were in Vietnam and have CLL, what do you want to tell them? 

Pat Clune:                 

Well, for any vet that was in Vietnam, they should go to the VA and get a screening for any kind of diseases that they might’ve picked up over there. And for me, as soon as I found out, then I went back to the VA, because I’d had the screening ahead of time, so I was in the database. And after you go through the paperwork—it takes a while. Nothing is quick in the government. Then, I received 100 percent disability, and that, with my retirement, is nice. I would rather not have it, to be perfectly honest, but it was determined that it was part of Agent Orange, and there was a defoliant that they used. 

So, anybody who’s been there or was offshore on a boat, the ships—the Navy guys—there’s a whole long list of people who are eligible, and all you have to do is go to VA and ask for Agent Orange screening, and then you’re in the database. And then, if something pops up, then you’re automatically 100 percent disability. There’s no levels of disability for CLL. It’s either on or off.

Andrew Schorr:       

Uh-huh, and that could apply to other cancers as well.

Pat Clune:                 

Oh, yes, yes, yes. I’m sure because there’s a whole long list of them. This is the one that I’m interested in.

Andrew Schorr:       

Well, what I want to say to our audience and to retired Lieutenant Colonel Pat Clune is, thank you for your service, but also, if there are government programs that you have a right to participate in…

Pat Clune:                 

Absolutely. 

Andrew Schorr:       

…you need to speak up, and that’s the point.

Pat Clune:                 

Absolutely, yep. It never hurts to ask, because the worst they can say is no. 

Andrew Schorr:       

Right, okay. Thank you and all the best to you, Pat.

Pat Clune:                 

Thank you, sir. 

Andrew Schorr:       

Okay, Andrew Schorr with Path Clune here in Austin. And for our military veterans, make sure you get the care and the support and the backing and the benefit that you deserve. Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

View next