Presumptive Diseases


38CFR Sec. 3.309 Disease subject to presumptive service connection.
Authority: 38U.S.C. 501(a) and U.S.C. 1112 (United States Code)
Based on Public Law   (P.L. 100-321 & amendment P.L. 102-578)
(Current as of March 2000)

The following is a brief overview of this CFR section, for reference purposes only.
For any other use read the official publication —-SEE LINK BELOW —- Updated each July

SEE: Most recent available citation: CFR Title 38,Part 3, Section 309 (text)

Diseases specific to radiation-exposed veterans.
The following diseases shall be service-connected if they become manifest in a radiation-exposed veteran, provided the rebuttable presumption provisions of Sec. 3.307.

  • Leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia).
  • Cancer of the thyroid.
  • Cancer of the breast.
  • Cancer of the pharynx.
  • Cancer of the esophagus.
  • Cancer of the stomach.
  • Cancer of the small intestine.
  • Cancer of the pancreas.
  • Multiple myeloma.
  • Lymphomas (except Hodgkin’s disease).
  • Cancer of the bile ducts.
  • Cancer of the gall bladder.
  • Primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated).
  • Cancer of the salivary gland.
  • Cancer of the urinary tract.
    • the term “urinary tract” means the kidneys, renal pelves, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra.
  • [Bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma was passed Jan,2000]

The term radiation-exposed veteran means:

  • Either a veteran who while serving on active duty, or an individual who while a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces during a period of active duty for training or inactive duty training, participated in a radiation-risk activity.

The term radiation-risk activity means:

  • Onsite participation in a test involving the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device.
  • The occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, by United States forces during the period beginning on August 6, 1945, and ending on July 1, 1946.
  • Internment as a prisoner of war in Japan (or service on active duty in Japan immediately following such internment) during World War II which resulted in an opportunity for exposure to ionizing radiation comparable to that of the United States occupation forces in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, during the period beginning on August 6, 1945, and ending on July 1, 1946.
  • The term atmospheric detonation includes underwater nuclear detonations.

The term onsite participation means:

  • Presence at the test site or staging area during the official operational period or six month period following an atmospheric nuclear test. Direct support or performance of official military duties in connection with nuclear test ships, aircraft or other equipment. Presence at the test site to perform official military duties in connection with completion of projects, including decontamination of equipment used during the nuclear test.
    • Service as a member of the garrison or maintenance forces on Eniwetok during the periods June 21, 1951, through July 1, 1952, August 7, 1956, through August 7, 1957, or November 1, 1958, through April 30, 1959.
    • Assignment to official military duties at Naval Shipyards involving the decontamination of ships that participated in Operation Crossroads.
    • For tests conducted by the United States, the term operational period means:
    • For Operation TRINITY the period July 16, 1945 through August 6, 1945.
    • For Operation CROSSROADS the period July 1, 1946 through August 31, 1946.
    • For Operation SANDSTONE the period April 15, 1948 through May 20, 1948.
    • For Operation RANGER the period January 27, 1951 through February 6, 1951.
    • For Operation GREENHOUSE the period April 8, 1951 through June 20, 1951.
    • For Operation BUSTER-JANGLE the period October 22, 1951 through December 20, 1951.
    • For Operation TUMBLER-SNAPPER the period April 1, 1952 through June 20, 1952.
    • For Operation IVY the period November 1, 1952 through December 31, 1952.
    • For Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE the period March 17, 1953 through June 20, 1953.
    • For Operation CASTLE the period March 1, 1954 through May 31, 1954.
    • For Operation TEAPOT the period February 18, 1955 through June 10, 1955.
    • For Operation WIGWAM the period May 14, 1955 through May 15, 1955.
    • For Operation REDWING the period May 5, 1956 through August 6, 1956.
    • For Operation PLUMBBOB the period May 28, 1957 through October 22, 1957.
    • For Operation HARDTACK I the period April 28, 1958 through October 31, 1958.
    • For Operation ARGUS the period August 27, 1958 through September 10, 1958.
    • For Operation HARDTACK II the period September 19, 1958 through October 31, 1958.
    • For Operation DOMINIC I the period April 25, 1962 through December 31, 1962.
    • For Operation DOMINIC II/PLOWSHARE the period July 6, 1962 through August 15, 1962.

The term “occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, by United States forces” means:

  • Official military duties within 10 miles of the city limits of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, which were required to perform or support military occupation functions such as occupation of territory, control of the population, stabilization of the government, demilitarization of the Japanese military, rehabilitation of the infrastructure or deactivation and conversion of war plants or materials.

Former prisoners of war who had an opportunity for exposure to ionizing radiation comparable to that of veterans who participated in the occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, by United States forces shall include those who, at any time during the period August 6, 1945, through July 1, 1946:

  • Were interned or worked within 75 miles of the city limits of Hiroshima or within 150 miles of the city limits of Nagasaki, or
  • Were repatriated through the port of Nagasaki.

Most recent available citation: CFR Title 38,Part 3, Section 307 (text)

A very, very brief summary of this section follows. For reference use only.

38CFR Sec. 3.307 Presumptive service connection for chronic…disease, … service on or after January 1, 1947.
Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1112; 1113; 1116 and 38 U.S.C. 501(a)

  • The veteran must have served 90 days or more active, continuous service and be honorably discharged.
  • The diseases listed in Sec. 3.309(a) will be accepted as chronic, even though diagnosed as acute, because of chronic development:
    • Thus, leukemia will be accepted as a chronic disease whether diagnosed as acute or chronic. Unless the clinical picture is clear otherwise, an acute condition will be judged to be an advancement of a chronic disease. No presumptions may be supported on the basis of advancement of the disease.
      [A clear CLINICAL DISTINCTION between “chronic” and “acute” lymphatic or lympocytic leukemia was not established until the late ’60s or early 70’s. Prior to that time an “acute” diagnosis was changed to “chronic” if the patient survived a specific length of time.]