WASHINGTON (WRIC) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is adding nine rare respiratory cancers to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to military environmental exposures to fine particulate matter in an effort to support the nation’s veterans.

The following nine cancers will be added to the Commonwealth’s regulations through an Interim Final Rule published in the Federal Register on April 26:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea.
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea.
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea.
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung.
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung.
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung.
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung.
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Virginia determined there is biological plausibility between airborne hazards and carcinogenesis of the respiratory tract. The unique circumstances of the rare cancers warrant a presumption o the service connection.

“Veterans who suffer from rare respiratory cancers associated with their service deserve the very best America has to offer—but they’ve had to wait for the care and benefits they deserve for far too long. That ends now,” said Secretary Denis McDonough. “With these new presumptives, Veterans who suffer from these rare respiratory cancers will finally get the world-class care and benefits they deserve, without having to prove causality between their service and their condition.”

Virginia will begin processing disability compensation claims for veterans who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990, to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001, to the present.

Any veteran who has or had one of the cancers listed at any time during or after separation from military service could be eligible for disability compensation benefits, according to the DVA.

To apply for benefits, veterans and survivors may visit VA.gov or call toll-free at 800-827-1000.