Mesothelioma Causes 1 Veterans

Asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma and one of the most indicative risk factors of this rare type of cancer. Asbestos is a natural material that has been used for centuries for its strength, durability and heat resistance. Asbestos was used in a wide variety of products. Despite its benefits, however, asbestos has been found to be a hazardous material.

When asbestos particles are released into the air, they can be inhaled or ingested. This later leads to cancerous growths in the mesothelium, or the thin layer of tissue covering the body’s internal organs. Mesothelioma can affect several organ systems, including the lungs and abdominal organs. Due to the wide range of uses of asbestos in the military, veterans are a population at high risk for developing mesothelioma.

Asbestos Use in the Military

Asbestos was previously used widely in the military. Every sector of the armed forces used asbestos, particularly the Navy and Coast Guard with asbestos use in ships. Asbestos was highly used in naval and Coast Guard vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers. It was used for insulating and fireproofing many parts of the ships, including:

  • Boiler rooms
  • Pipes
  • Walls.

The Army and Air Force used also asbestos for many supplies, such as:

  • Brake and clutch pads for aircraft, tanks and other vehicles
  • Fire-resistant materials and gear for soldiers
  • Insulation or building materials in living quarters.

Shipyard workers, as well as machinists or machine repair personnel, were also at risk. Repair and construction of ships and machines containing asbestos released asbestos particles into the air, where they could be inhaled or ingested by workers. Military service and work with military equipment are risk factors for asbestos exposure, and therefore, for developing mesothelioma.

Military Veterans and Asbestos Exposure

If you served in the military before the 1970s, when the dangers of asbestos became widely known and began to be regulated, inform your doctor of this. Your exposure to the risk factors and cause of mesothelioma will spur him to monitor you for symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend that you have regular screenings (such as chest X-rays) if you have had military abestos exposure. Early detection is a key factor in prognosis for individuals with mesothelioma: You may have more treatment options if you identify risk factors, and are diagnosed early.

Veterans with asbestos exposure can file for disability with the department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, collecting benefits can be difficult: You must be able to prove that illness is due to asbestos exposure sustained during time spent in the military (rather than in an earlier or later civilian job).

Resources

Asbestos.com Staff. (2009). Mesothelioma cases remain high for military veterans exposed to asbestos. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from the Asbestos.com Web site: http://www.asbestos.com/news/2009/01/26/mesothelioma-cases-remain-high-for-military-veterans-exposed-to-asbestos/.

Asbestos.com Staff. (2009). Mesothelioma causes: Shipyards carry high risk for asbestos exposure. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from the Asbestos.com Web site: http://www.asbestos.com/news/2009/12/21/mesothelioma-causes-shipyards-carry-high-risk-for-asbestos-exposure/.

Asbestos.net Staff. (n.d.). Mesothelioma, asbestos cancer, and our veterans. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from the Asbestos.net Web site: http://www.asbestos.net/veterans/.

Asbestos Veterans Assistance Information League Staff. (n.d.). Exposure situations and locations. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from the AVAIL Web site: http://www.availusa.org/2web/1_2.htm.

Asbestos Veterans Assistance Information League Staff. (n.d.). Veterans’ affairs claims for asbestos exposure. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from the AVAIL Web site: http://www.availusa.org/2web/3_3.htm.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center Staff. (n.d.). How mesothelioma affects veterans. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center Web site: http://www.maacenter.org/veterans/.