How Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, Can Help You File a Compelling PACT Act Claim for Genitourinary Cancer Disability Benefits

Genitourinary cancer is a term used to describe a range of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions that affect the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Scientists have yet to determine the exact cause of most types of genitourinary cancer, but a growing body of research suggests that veterans—especially those who have served overseas or been exposed to toxic chemicals on base—face a higher-than-average risk of illness. 

Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, has spent decades advocating for the rights of American heroes. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with genitourinary cancer, our experienced team of VA physical disability attorneys could help you obtain life-saving treatment and critical cancer benefits. Read more to learn about the PACT Act and genitourinary cancer, or send us a message online to speak to start exploring your options for relief. 

The PACT Act and Genitourinary Cancer

The PACT Act is a piece of bipartisan legislation that was signed into law in August of 2022. Since its inception, it’s been touted as one of the most significant benefits expansions in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) history. It introduced changes including, but not limited to:

  • Expanding benefits eligibility for most veterans with confirmed or suspected exposures to toxic substances. 
  • Increasing the number of presumptive conditions related to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other common sources of toxic exposures. 
  • Requiring the VA to provide toxic exposure screenings to every veteran receiving VA care.

For many veterans, the recategorization of certain illnesses as presumptive conditions makes obtaining care and receiving benefits much easier—even for people diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as genitourinary cancer. 

Military Service and the Risk of Genitourinary Cancer Diagram of the genitourinary system

A genitourinary cancer is any cancer that originates in the urinary tract or reproductive organs. Some forms of this disease are unique to men, while others are only reported in women. In general, though, men have a significantly higher risk of developing certain forms of genitourinary cancer—especially bladder cancer—than women. 

However, an individual’s lifetime risk is influenced by many factors beyond biological sex. These include: 

Every type of cancer, including genitourinary cancers, is caused by critical changes to the body’s genetic structure—changes that can be instigated or accelerated by the presence of these risk factors and which increase rates of genetic mutation. Although not all genetic mutations are bad, they can rewrite the instructions encoded in DNA molecules. If a mutation prompts a strong immune response or triggers other cells to divide and replicate at an unusual rate, abnormal cells become cancerous and begin forming tumors. 

An Overview of Genitourinary Cancer

Genitourinary cancer emerges in different parts of the urinary tract and reproductive system, but doctors typically categorize it based on the “primary site”—the tract of organ or tissue where the cancer originated. Let’s take a closer look.


This form of cancer originates in the male prostate, a small gland that produces seminal fluid. It tends to grow slowly and is the most common non-skin cancer in the U.S. In its early stages, prostate cancer rarely causes any noticeable symptoms—but, as it advances, it can cause a wide range of unpleasant problems, such as:

  • Trouble urinating 
  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Unexpected weight loss 
  • General pain, especially pain in the bones
  • Erectile dysfunction 

If detected early, most cases can be treated successfully, but waiting too long to address unexplained and persistent symptoms—even symptoms that might seem attributable to another, pre-existing condition—raises the risk of longer-term complications. 


This hollow organ helps store urine. Signs of bladder cancer include: 

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain while urinating 
  • Back pain 

Survival rates are high, especially in cases where the cancer is diagnosed before it has the chance to spread to other organs. However, because it can recur, many veterans who have been diagnosed and treated need to receive regular check-ups to ensure their cancer doesn’t come back. 

Urethral and Ureteral 

Urethral and ureteral cancers are less common. Urethral cancer affects the urethra, which carries urine out of the bladder, while ureteral cancer occurs in the ureter, another set of tubes that connects the bladder with the kidneys. Both diseases cause symptoms such as: 

  • Blood in the urine
  • Back pain
  • Pain while urinating
  • Unexpected weight loss 
  • Frequent urination 

However, additional symptoms of urethral cancer are a lump or thickness in the penis or clear off-white discharge from the urethra. In some cases, the lymph nodes of the groin may enlarge or swell. Both of these cancers require extensive treatment, so have any unusual symptoms checked right away.


Kidney cancer is a malignant illness usually diagnosed in older adults between 65 and 74. Medical researchers have recognized four distinct subsets of kidney cancer:

  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Transitional cell cancer
  • Renal sarcoma 
  • Wilms tumor 

More than 62,000 adults are diagnosed with different forms of kidney cancer in the U.S. each year. However, while kidney cancer is a common disease, it’s usually asymptomatic in its early stages, with symptoms becoming noticeable only after the cancer grows or spreads to other parts of the body. 

The early-warning signs of kidney cancer could include: 

  • Blood in the urine 
  • A lump or mass around the kidneys 
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Malaise, or a general sense of physical uneasiness 
  • Unexpected weight loss 
  • Recurring low-grade fever 
  • Bone pain
  • High blood pressure 

Many cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed after a patient reports worrying and recurring symptoms. Treatment and treatment outcomes are often positive for early-stage kidney cancer, but survivability depends on factors including tumor stage and the patient’s overall health. 


Testicular cancer is a less common cancer that occurs in the cellular lining of the testicles. Unlike many other malignant illnesses, testicular cancer is typically diagnosed in younger adults, with most cases reported in men between the ages of 15 and 45. The first sign of emerging testicular cancer is usually a lump or bump on one of the testicles. Other symptoms could include: 

  • Swelling in either testicle 
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum 
  • A dull ache or pain in the lower stomach or groin
  • Pain or discomfort in the affected testicle 
  • Enlargement of male breast tissue 

While usually confined to one testicle, this cancer may spread to other parts of the body, too. However, testicular cancer metastasizes slowly, and tends to respond well to treatment. 


Most cases affect the head of the penis or the foreskin, but this cancer can form anywhere on the penis. There are several subtypes of penile cancer, but squamous cell carcinomas account for an estimated 95 percent of all diagnoses reported annually. 

The initial signs of penile cancer can be difficult to interpret, but could include: 

  • Painless lumps or sores on the penis 
  • Swelling and irritation, especially near the head of the penis 
  • Flat growths on the penis
  • Small and crusty bumps 
  • An unpleasant rash 

Many of these symptoms have less-malignant causes, ranging from sexually transmitted infections to allergic reactions.

VA Ratings for Genitourinary Cancer 

The VA offers disability benefits for many different types of cancer. Former servicepeople can typically receive subsidized health care and disability benefits if they meet either of the following criteria: 

  • They’re diagnosed with cancer which is categorized as a presumptive illness
  • They’re diagnosed with cancer that has a service connection and can likely be attributed to their time in the U.S. military. 

If cancer-related benefits are approved, then most recently diagnosed cases receive an automatic 100 percent disability rating. However, this rating is temporary and is subject to review six months after treatment has successfully concluded. 

Once treatment ends, veterans are required to take a medical examination. The results of this examination have a direct impact on disability ratings: if the cancer has gone into remission and there are few residual symptoms, the VA can reduce its disability rating. 

Obtaining PACT Act Cancer Benefits

For many veterans, the most significant advantage afforded by the passage of the PACT Act is the recategorization of many service-related conditions as presumptive illnesses. If a condition is considered presumptive, then veterans don’t need to collect, compile, and present evidence to argue that their illness is service-connected. Instead, they must only meet certain qualifying criteria. 

For PACT Act genitourinary cancer benefits, veterans must simply show that they: 

  • Served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the War on Terror, or any other conflict zone after 9/11, or; 
  • Deployed in support of the Global War on Terror, or; 
  • Were exposed to toxins, or other potential hazards, when serving in the United States or any location overseas. 

The PACT Act greatly simplifies the process for obtaining benefits, but some veterans still encounter unexpected difficulties. If, for instance, you previously applied for genitourinary cancer-related care but were denied before the passage of the PACT Act, you may have to file a supplemental claim to have your case reconsidered. And, even if benefits are approved, your disability rating may be lower than expected—irrespective of how cancer and residual symptoms continue to affect your life. 

Sean Kendall, Attorney at Law, has spent decades helping veterans assert their rights to federal benefits. If you have questions about the PACT Act and genitourinary cancer claims, our experienced team of attorneys could help you explore your options for relief by: 

  • Ensuring that you file the right paperwork 
  • Filing supplemental claims and supervising appeals of wrongfully-denied benefits 
  • Taking a holistic assessment of your symptoms to fight for a revised disability rating 

You don’t have to accept half-measures in place of deserved benefits—and thankfully, the VA no longer has the final say. Our nationwide team has extensive experience handling all kinds of claims before the VA and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.