pexels bob clark 21490 9 New Burn Pit Presumptive Conditions

9 New Burn Pit Presumptive Conditions


In May 2021, the VA added hypothyroidism, Parkinsonism and bladder cancer as presumptive conditions thought to be caused by burn pit exposure. If you haven’t already, read about it on our blog here!

In August 2021, the VA granted presumptive service connection for asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis as related to burn pit exposure. Visit our blog post on this update here.

President Biden addressed veterans and VA staff at Fort Worth in March 2022, “When the scientific evidence doesn’t give a clear answer one way or another, we should favor caring for our veterans while we continue to learn more, not waiting.” 

In spring of 2022, 9 new respiratory cancers were added to the list of conditions presumed to be caused by burn pit exposure. While most of these 9 respiratory cancers are rare, this is a step in the right direction for improved veteran healthcare and benefits. 

burn pit

Presumptive Condition Qualifications

To qualify for the presumptive benefit status, the veteran must meet the following criteria:

  • Served on or after August 2, 1990 in one of these areas: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, 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, or airspace above these locations
  • Served on or after September 19, 2001 in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, or Djibouti
  • Conditions must have begun within 10 years of burn pit exposure in one of the above locations
  • *Exception– if it’s been more than 10 years since your burn pit exposure, BUT you experienced symptoms and had a diagnosis within 10 years after, you can still qualify
9 New Presumptive Conditions

Many of these cancers are related to smoking, excessive exposure to smoke, or exposure and inhalation of poor air quality, which is why veterans who were exposed to burn pits during service may experience symptoms later in life.

Cancers of the Throat

pexels polina tankilevitch 3873187 9 New Burn Pit Presumptive Conditions

Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx

Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx (throat) is the most common throat cancer. It can start anywhere in the larynx but most often begins in the vocal cord. Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Noisy or a change in the noise of breathing
  • Very hoarse throat
  • Painful or difficulty in swallowing
  • Coughing up of blood
  • A growth or mass in the neck area
Cancers of the Trachea, or Windpipe

burn pit

Common tracheal cancer symptoms
  • Being out of breathe, difficulty taking full breaths
  • Coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Hoarseness to throat and voice
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Recurring fevers, chills and infections in the chest

Read about the different types of cancers of the trachea here.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea

Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea is the most common tracheal tumor. It grows fast and is typically found in the lower part of the tracheal region. As it grows, it can penetrate the mucus lining in the airways, which can cause bleeding and ulceration.

Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea

While a rare form of tracheal cancer, there are multiple types of salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea, including:

  • Acinic cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Clear cell carcinoma
  • Malignant mixed tumor
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • Oncocytic carcinoma
  • Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma

They are often hard to diagnose and easily missed, as symptoms don’t always present in a way to make it obvious.

Adenocarcinoma of the trachea

Adenocarcinoma of the trachea is another hard to diagnose tracheal cancer. It is often diagnosed due to exclusion of other tracheal cancers, and is most commonly found in the lower part of the trachea. 

Cancers of the Lungs

burn pit

Common Lung Cancer Symptoms
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty taking full breaths
  • Coughing that doesn’t go away and worsens
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Constant fatigue
  • Weight loss with no obvious cause
  • Repeated cases of pneumonia 
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the chest area
  • Hoarseness

Read about the different types of cancers of the lung here.

Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung

Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung are typically found in the central airways and are thought to begin in glands related to mucus production and regulation. These tumors are a rare type of lung cancer, and are often harder to correctly identify and classify in the stage of progression. 

Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung

Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung is not common. It is a rare subtype of non-small cell carcinoma of the lung. Non-small cell carcinomas are the most common type of lung cancer, making up around 85% of cases. 

Large cell carcinoma of the lung

Large cell carcinoma of the lung is a more aggressive form of non-small cell lung cancer. Both adenosquamous carcinoma and large cell carcinoma can grow and spread at a faster rate than other forms of lung cancer. 

Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung

Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung is another rate form of non-small cell lung cancer. It is considered very challenging, as it’s difficult to diagnose and treat.

Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung

Typical carcinoid lung tumors account for 90% of lung carcinoids. They are slower to grow and normally do not spread beyond the lung area. Atypical carcinoid lung tumors are more rare, faster growing, and can spread to other areas of the body outside of the lungs. These two types of carcinoid tumors of the lung only make up 1-2% of lung cancer cases.

How to Get Connected
  1. If a veteran was previously denied service connection for one of these 9 cancers, they can file a supplemental claim.
  2. First time filers go here and follow the process.
What’s Next?

We encourage you to join the VA Burn Pit Registry. Though some progress is being made with more conditions being identified and recognized for veteran healthcare, benefits, and support, many veterans aren’t accurately rated to start with. These results in receiving less benefits and compensation than they have earned and deserve. Our team can help. Use the button below to learn more about what we do to help veterans, and receive a free consultation with an experienced and compassionate team member!

Click Here for Info on Your Free Consultation


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