Matthew Hill: Hello and welcome. I’m Matthew Hill from Hill & Ponton here with Carol Ponton and another Hill & Ponton VA video blog. Today we want to talk to you about a little known connection between asbestos and bladder cancer and how that has affected many sailors and many members of the Coast Guard.
Carol Ponton: Right? There’s so many people that worked on ships during their service and were exposed to asbestos, or other places where they were exposed to asbestos. And they understand that if I have asbestosis where I have a terrible breathing problem, that should be service-connected and frankly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is also connected to asbestos.
Matthew Hill: COPD.
Carol Ponton: COPD. But what many don’t know is the asbestos exposure can cause bladder cancer. And this is a pretty devastating type of cancer and it’s really important to know that if you were exposed to asbestos, you need to file a claim for bladder cancer if you develop that.
Matthew Hill: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And as Carol said, not many people knew that. I got to admit it was only five years ago I found out about this. I had a veteran who was on a ship that we were trying to say was in Vietnam and exposed to Agent Orange. There’s a connection between Agent Orange and bladder cancer that the VA doesn’t like to admit, but it’s there, and veterans win on that.
Matthew Hill: And then we just couldn’t put the veteran on land to show that he was exposed. But one of the experts I was talking to said, “Well let’s look through his records.” And she found that he was a welder and he had significant exposure to asbestos. And she was able to give us an opinion linking the asbestos exposure to the bladder cancer. And we won that way.
Matthew Hill: And so this is just one veteran, but I think about all the veterans who are at sea, who are exposed to that post World War II on those ships. And there’s a lot who do have bladder cancer. So it’s important to know this.
Carol Ponton: Because once again, knowledge is power. The VA is not going to suggest that you file for that. You have to bring this to them. “I was exposed to asbestos, I have bladder cancer, I want to be service-connected for that.”
Matthew Hill: Right. And so going forward, which you need to probably bring is records of what you did in service and any buddy statements, that you can get as far as, “Hey, we were all exposed.” Or “There was asbestos that we could see every day.” And then from there you probably are going to need an outside doctor to link the two, because the VA will not do this for you, unfortunately.
Carol Ponton: Probably not. There are many, many medical true disease articles that connect the two. But, if you get the proof in the file and then you’re sent to a compensation and pension examiner and they have all these articles, you never know.
Matthew Hill: Right? Yeah. There are good ones out there.
Carol Ponton: At least give them the opportunity to award you without having to go out and try to get an independent medical exam.
Matthew Hill: Alright. Well, thank you so much for your time and we look forward to seeing you again on this space soon.