Male Breast Cancer Added Onto VA’s List of Presumed Service-Connected Disabilities

Though breast cancer is much more common in women than in men, there are still nearly 3,000 cases diagnosed in American men each year. Now, male veterans may be able to get expanded benefits if they’re among those diagnosed.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expanded its list of presumed service-connected disabilities stemming from environmental exposure to include male breast cancer. The agency also tacked on urethral cancer and cancer of the paraurethral glands. Being included on the presumed service-connected disabilities list means that the VA will automatically assume the disease was related to a veteran’s service and cover benefits for eligible veterans who have submitted a claim with proof of a diagnosis.

Disabled veteran sits in wheelchair

The expansion is part of the PACT Act, which expands care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances. Since it was signed by President Joe Biden in 2022, more than $5.7 billion have been awarded to veterans and survivors.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough says, “We are working with urgency to deliver on the promise of the PACT Act to provide health care and benefits to as many toxic-exposed Veterans as possible — we’re leaning in wherever we can. VA is working with one goal in mind: getting today and tomorrow’s Veterans and their families the benefits they deserve as fast as possible.”

American soldier salutes

Male veterans with breast cancer are eligible if they served in the Gulf War or post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, and the southwest Asian theater, including Iraq. The benefits may stretch back to the bill’s signing in 2022.

The risk factors for male breast cancer are similar to those for women, including age, family history, inherited gene mutations, obesity, and alcohol use. There are also environmental exposures that have been linked with breast cancer, including smoke and other air pollutants.

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