The Guilford County Veterans Service Department announced this week that it’s proposing to add certain rare respiratory cancers to the list of “presumed service-connected disabilities” when those are related to “military environmental exposure to particulate matter.”

According to a Thursday, March 3 press release from Guilford County government, the Veteran’s Administration intends to include the rare respiratory cancers in the list of disabilities that may be connected to military service. This move would apply to Veterans who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations as well as for some other areas.

The Southwest Asia theater consists of the following: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea – and the airspace above these locations.

To grant coverage for the diseases, the action must still be finalized. However, the fact that Guilford County just sent out a press release calling for claims to be filed suggests there’s a great deal of confidence that these medical issues will be added to the list.

The press release states that, once the proposal becomes final, “dependents, survivors, and Veterans who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers would be encouraged to file a supplemental claim for benefits.”

It also notes that the Veteran’s Administration plans to conduct outreach to affected veterans and their survivors to let them know about potential eligibility.

The following medical issues would be included:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx or the trachea
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.

Any veteran who’s experienced one or more of these issues at any time during or after their separation from the military may be eligible for benefits.

If you’re a veteran who’s been diagnosed with any of the conditions listed above – but have not filed a claim – you should notify your VSO (Veteran Service Officer) of an “intent to file” claim.