Eye Cancer

Records from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest veterans are 17 times more likely to develop a rare eye cancer than the general population.

The numbers come from a Freedom of Information Act request from Mark Rutz where data from the agency showed surprisingly high rates of veteran developing Choroidal Melanoma. Rutz lost his eye from the rare cancer, which can spread quickly.

Rutz served in Vietnam in 1970-71, back when the government misled soldiers about the toxic risks associated with Agent Orange exposure, “I remember a guy going through basic in-doc in Vietnam, quacking up a quart jar of Agent Orange and drinking from it.”

VA has now acknowledged at least some of the cancers caused by Agent Orange exposure.

As for Choroidal Melanoma, about 6 in every million people are diagnosed in the US each year or about 1,900 cases.

When that rate is compared to the veteran population, approximately 126 veterans should be diagnosed with the condition each year, but that is not what the VA data show.

Between 2008 to 2010, over 2,000 veterans each year were diagnosed with the rare eye cancer. And while it is rare for civilians, noted above, it is certainly not rare for Vietnam veterans.

Since 2010, the numbers have gradually tapered off, possibly due to increased deaths of Vietnam veterans, according to Rutz.

In response to the surprising numbers, the Blinded Veterans Association asked Congress and VA to conduct research on any possible connection between Agent Orange exposure, similar toxins, and the rare cancer.

The disease has a high mortality rate irrespective of how patients choose to treat the condition. Between 30-50% of patients die within 10 years of diagnosis and treatment. Most die from metastases after the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

A common complication of Choroidal Melanoma is liver cancer after the disease spreads.

Source: http://wfla.com/2017/09/04/va-records-veterans-17-times-more-likely-to-develop-rare-eye-cancer/

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25 Comments on "Data Suggests Veterans At Much Higher Risk Of Rare Eye Cancer Than Public"

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Ex va

Cj, lost wire will try to reboot everything


I came to the conclusion of gun powder blow-back


Oh…but why not just try some extra doses of new VA wonder-drug ~ecstasy~ for that rare eye cancer? Maybe the VA will determine Vets have no need for eyesight anyway when ~ecstasy~ opens all our minds to the agent orange chakra? Rat Bastards!

namnibor, I must point out that while individuals within VA behave much like rodents of dubious parentage that when addressing topics including the totallity of VA that a “horse” is more appropriate. There is an economic theory based on an ancient farm practice (which was abandoned long ago) called Horse and Chicken Economics (HCE). The beast of burden, the horse (our government) was thought to be a good way to feed (take care of) the chickens. We The People are… Read more »

@Dennis — Our metaphoric horse that is indeed being kicked while already deadbeat, the AFGE herd, require a one-way trip to that metaphoric glue factory, where in my Midwest farm lore, is what happens in our failed horses in the HCE, no extra oats and no three strikes then out. Glue seems to be an effective deterrent…except the VA AFGE herd might just try to sniff it rather than participate in it’s ingredients.


Rodents of dubious parentage.

Sounds like a job description for VA managers.


“Rodents Of Dubious Parentage” – ‘Rat Bastards”…yeah, I’m a bit slow today but I finally got it…really clever there. Coffee exited nostrils once it sunk-in.

Crazy elf
I have been diagnosed with “high pressure” and (“possible”) “glaucoma” in my eyes by a optometrist at the Lake Baldwin VHA, Orlando, Fl.! Today’s “blog” is unsettling to say the least. Questions are swirling around in my head. Am I being diagnosed correctly? Did the “eye injury” I received in Vietnam have anything to do with the (“possible”) “glaucoma”? Can a optometrist be specialized enough to diagnose this “rare form of eye cancer”? (My wife has already caught him NOT… Read more »

elf…I have the same problem

Seymore Klearly

Hey Elf,

I read through a number of claim denials on google after searching the combination of words “Choroidal Melanoma Veterans Administration”. A number of them stated that the Veteran was first diagnosed with Choroidal Melanoma at a six month follow up for possible glaucoma.

You really should see a qualified doctor not a VA half wit. A real doctor not connected to the VA if you want a proper diagnoses.

Crazy elf

The problem I see with outside healthcare providers is, they “refuse to go against” anything VA healthcare providers say!
Plus, it’s hard to pay for outside healthcare when on a limited budget! The “cost” some of these outside healthcare providers want is staggering!

Seymore Klearly

The one thing that make a diagnoses more reliable from an outside provider who is not connected to the VA is that they can be held responsible for a bad diagnoses.

Where as a VA doctors cannot be held responsible.

@Crazy elf, @Seymore Klearly – – – I know how to get around the issue of the buddy / buddy Physicians not going against each other. First, you’ll have to in laymen terms, learn all that you can about what your medical condition means, how it effects you, and learn the lingo. This last thing is critical. As people, and measured against how people think, what they value, and how they’re impressed; is that Physicians are impressed when you REALLY… Read more »

Ask to see an ophthalmologist next time. You don’t HAVE to be comfortable with an OD monitoring you. Most of them are great, but if you have problems, you will need an MD anyhow. That advice is coming from someone who worked as an eyecare professional for over a decade. You’ve only got one set of eyes.

Seymore Klearly

Post from LeftAngle on TapaTalk Veterans Benefits Network!

“Linking Eye Cancer Claims to Service in Vietnam”

“In 2006, I discovered I had an Ocular Melanoma in my left eye. I applied for service connection in 2009. After many denials, I requested a hearing in 2012 which won me my case.

My evidence was simple and it was supplied by the VA itself.

If you served in Vietnam, have an eye cancer and are having difficulty proving service connection, read on:”


Seymore Klearly
“VA fighting to reduce growing problem of veteran suicides” By VINCENT DARCANGELO 8 hrs ago “A TRAGIC and disturbing trend has developed throughout the Veterans Administration medical system. Veterans are traveling to the grounds of VA facilities and are resorting to suicide on VA property. VA Director David Shulkin has made curbing veteran suicides his top clinical priority. He said the VA needs to be better at seeking out and assisting at-risk veterans. Shulkin concluded there are a number of… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
“VA reassigns employees in wake of internal investigation” By Katie Moore / The Topeka Capital-Journal 9-5-2017 Three high-level, Topeka-based VA employees have been reassigned in the wake of an internal investigation. Matt Eitutis, who was the acting executive director of VA member services, is now assigned to the Office of Administrative Operations and Management. Ryan Heiman had been an executive assistant for member services. He is now a health systems specialist. And Shane Kolbaba, who was the chief financial officer… Read more »

Well, shit, even a blind veteran can see why vets commit suicide at the VA. So the rodents with dubious parentage cannot deny its connection to the nest.

How many veteran suicides go unreported as VA connected unless someone is well aware of the veterans history?

Seymore Klearly

If you noticed in the last line of my post where I quoted the author who said “Shulkin said that every day he is notified of more and more occurrences of what are being termed “parking lot suicides” taking place at VA facilities.”.

That is every day this is occurring!!!

Rather than asking the VA to research this for the next 10 years, the Blind Veterans Association should be pushing hard for congress to pass legislation presuming this cancer is service connected. The prevalence rate among Vietnam vets certainly supports it. By the time the VA gets around to acknowledging this may be service connected, most of the vets affected will be dead. Anyone surprised though that the VA has this information in veterans medical records? Anyone surprised it took… Read more »

Anybody out there have a sample letter to request my medical records?

Seymore Klearly

Hey TiredVet,

You can find a sample letter under one of Ben’s prior articles he posted here at:

Disabled Veterans Sample FOIA Letter
By Benjamin Krause – January 14, 2011


Hope this helps!

Seymore Klearly

I know in my case I never received most of my Medical records and would have to hire an attorney to file a court action to get mine. The FOIA officer that was in control of mine ran me around in circles and I was never able to obtain mine.


They’re going to let all us Viet-Nam vets die. They didn’t want us in Viet-Nam and they never wanted us back here neither.