Prostate Cancer


Service connected prostate cancer is temporarily rated 100% disabling until veteran receives surgery treatment. Approximately six months following treatment, VA evaluates 100% rating and if PSA is considered undetectable at time of evaluation, VA reduces rating to applicable % for any secondary conditions. Reason for rate reduction is VA considers veteran cured of prostate cancer due to undetectable PSA. Five years hence of rate reduction, veteran diagnosed with biochemical prostate cancer recurrence and is treated again, this time with radiation therapy and adjuvant hormone deprivation therapy. The VA increases disability rating to 100% due to active cancer recurrence. Again, 100% rating is temporary and subject to VA evaluation approximately six months following treatment. Likewise, if PSA level is again undetectable, VA will reduce 100% rating because the veteran prostate cancer is considered cured once again. Question: So how many times must the prostate cancer recur and be treated before the VA rates the disability permanent?


Jim's Reply:

Great question. The answer...maybe never.

The VA stance on whether or not any cancer is permanent is in need of an update by Congress. For that matter, the entire VA disability rating system is ancient and doesn't serve anyone well today. Attempts have been made to get the system updated and failed.

The Dole Shalala Commission was probably the most thorough analysis and recommendation update I've seen. It was complete, workable, understandable and affordable so it was promptly shelved by VA.

Let your Congressional representatives know how you feel and maybe some day we'll have a system that works.