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Soft Tissue Sarcomas and Agent Orange

VA presumes some soft tissue sarcomas in Veterans are related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

The soft tissue sarcomas not presumed by VA to be caused by Agent Orange exposure are osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma.

About soft tissue sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels and connective tissues (that is, distinct from hard tissue such as bone or cartilage). These tumors are relatively rare.

There are often no symptoms in early stages. The first noticeable symptom is usually a painless lump or swelling. As the tumor grows, it may cause other symptoms, such as pain or soreness.

VA benefits for soft tissue sarcoma

Veterans with soft tissue sarcoma who were exposed to herbicides during service may be eligible for disability compensation and health care. Other types of sarcoma, to include osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma (bone and joint cancers), Kaposi's sarcoma (caused by viruses) or mesothelioma (caused by asbestos exposure), are not associated with Agent Orange or other herbicides.

Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for a free Agent Orange registry health exam.

Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of soft tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma) may be eligible for survivors' benefits.

Research on soft tissue sarcoma and herbicides 

The Health and Medicine Division (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded in its 1994 report "Veterans and Agent Orange: Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam" and other updates that there is evidence of a positive association between exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam and soft tissue sarcomas.

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.


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