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Motherhood Unstressed

Jan 10, 2022

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Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas is a researcher, speaker and veterans' health advocate, she's also my sister. In this episode we discuss her personal cancer story, how her life and legacy has changed since her diagnosis, and the greater problem of aggressive cancers among veterans, thought to be linked with exposure to toxic burn pits while stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

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The Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act would cover a wide range of cancers and respiratory illnesses as presumptive conditions, including: asthma, that was diagnosed after service, head cancer of any type, neck cancer of any type, respiratory cancer of any type, gastrointestinal cancer of any type, reproductive cancer of any type, lymphoma cancer of any type, lymphoma cancer of any type, kidney cancer, brain cancer, melanoma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis, emphysema, granulomatous disease, interstitial lung disease, pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis.

The Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

In 2019, Congress passed a law entitled “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.” This law was a long overdue mechanism to recognize Agent Orange exposure (and its related long-term health problems) in veterans who were on naval ships rather than on land during the time period of use of this herbicide on areas of Southeast Asian during the Vietnam war.