What is Bladder Cancer?
The bladder is a hollow, flexible pouch in the pelvis. Its main job is to store urine before it leaves the body. Bladder cancer happens when bladder cells become abnormal and grow out of control. Over time, a tumor forms.
Bladder cancer affects many veterans across the United States. Veterans can receive disability compensation from the VA if their bladder cancer is currently active or the residuals are severe.
How does the VA Rate Active Bladder Cancer?
If a veteran has an active form of bladder cancer, or are in a period of post-treatment convalescence, the VA will assign a temporary and total disability rating. While receiving “x-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy, or other therapeutic procedures” for bladder cancer, the VA will assign a temporary 100% disability rating for up to six months following treatment.
If a veteran’s bladder cancer remains active, the VA will extend their temporary and total disability rating until the cancer is in remission. Once veterans stop receiving treatment due to remission, the VA will schedule a follow-up C&P exam to reevaluate the condition.
How does the VA Rate Residuals of Bladder Cancer?
Once a veteran’s bladder cancer is treated and reevaluated by VA they may still receive disability compensation for residual symptoms. If the bladder cancer is in remission, the VA will rate the most predominant residual, either renal (kidney) dysfunction or voiding dysfunction.
Renal Dysfunction. As a residual of bladder cancer renal dysfunction is rated by the VA at intervals of 0%, 30%, 60%, 80%, or 100% based on severity.
Voiding Dysfunction. This includes residuals such as urinary leakage, urinary frequency, and obstructed voiding.
- Urinary leakage is rated at 20%, 40%, or 60%, based upon the need for absorbent materials throughout a day.
- Urinary frequency is rated at 10%, 20%, or 40%, depending on how often a veteran needs to empty their bladder throughout the day or night.
- Obstructed voiding, where the body retains too much urine, is rated at 0%, 10%, or 30%.
Erectile Dysfunction. May result as a secondary condition to bladder cancer. Veterans who experience erectile dysfunction as a result of their service-connected bladder cancer may qualify for a level of special monthly compensation.
Is Bladder Cancer a Presumptive Condition?
Bladder cancer is listed as one of the presumptive conditions for veterans exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. Veterans who developed bladder cancer after living at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 may be presumptively service-connected for their bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer may also be caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Although the VA has not added bladder cancer to its list of presumptive conditions, studies have shown a link between bladder cancer and agent orange exposure. Veterans who were boots on the ground or in certain water areas around Vietnam during the war may be entitled to service-connected disability benefits for bladder cancer.