Congressman Panetta Introduces Legislation to Study Radiation Exposure Relating to Prostate Cancer in Veterans

November 8, 2019
Press Release

SALINAS, CA – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) introduced legislation to direct research into the correlation between radiation exposure and prostate cancer in veterans. The study would help determine if prostate cancer should be included as a presumptive disability for certain compensation offered to veterans who may have been exposed to ionizing radiation or radiation during their military service. 

"I have heard from veterans in our community who were denied claims for disability compensation related to prostate cancer," said Congressman Panetta. "Congress must ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the proper evidence to make such serious determinations. These findings may lead to appropriate compensation for veterans exposed to radiation during their military service."

The bill directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to seek to enter into an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the National Cancer Institute to conduct a study on radiation exposure relating to prostate cancer.  This study would help determine whether prostate cancer should be added to the list of diseases specified in U.S. statute, and presumed to have been incurred in or aggravated during active military, naval, or air service of radiation-exposed veterans. 

Federal research has been conducted into cancer among veterans, however the Department of Veterans Affairs does not currently include prostate cancer as a presumptive illness under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.