Military veterans represent more than 30% of the diagnoses for Mesothelioma, leading many to wonder why the instances of Mesothelioma among veterans is so high. What’s the connection?
This article provides a brief overview of the disease, helpful information explaining the connection, and recommendations about how to seek legal compensation if you or a loved one is affected.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that only results after asbestos exposure. It adversely affects vital organ tissue lining. Mesothelioma is always considered a fatal disease and there is no cure. It can be treated using mainstream cancer therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, for many victims to live in greater comfort and to enjoy longer survival times than had previously been realized.
It can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to other illnesses that aren’t as serious. As a result, the disease has often reached advanced stages when it is detected. The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Weight loss
- Foot swelling
- Bowel obstruction
As an invisible enemy, it can take anywhere from 15 to 50 years after exposure for symptoms of Mesothelioma to first appear.
After learning about a patient’s health and lifestyle history, a physician may order a chest x-ray to aid in diagnosing mesothelioma. The telltale sign of the disease is a marked change to the lungs resulting from asbestos exposure.
Why Veterans Are at Such High Risk
The popularity of asbestos across several military applications made it a logical place to draw the connection. It was used in everything from ships to constructing barracks. An inexpensive, fire and weather-resistant material, the military became a major consumer of asbestos-related products. It is strong, lightweight, easy to maintain, and works as an effective insulation material.
While asbestos manufacturers knew of its danger, they focused on the dollar signs proffered by the military and continued to line their pockets, despite the known risks. They failed to warn consumers, and the results have been catastrophic to the health of our cherished military veterans.
Massive amounts of asbestos were used by the U.S. military during the wars that spanned from World War I and World War II through Iraq and Afghanistan and included all service branches. Exposure was highest in the 50-year period from 1930 to 1980.
Due to its numerous features and flexible applications, asbestos was used in ships, vehicles, and buildings. It was widespread in the following areas:
- Insulation (both thermal and wiring)
- Brake and clutch pads
- Cement and other construction materials
By the 1970s, awareness of asbestos dangers was growing, and the military began reducing the use of this dangerous material. However, reducing isn’t the same as eliminating, and the toxic material continues to be present. Removal costs can be extremely high, and the removal procedure also contains health risks.
Even today, military housing still contains asbestos, with a total of 38,000 housing units known to contain this hazardous material.
Though all military service branches were subject to unsafe exposure to asbestos, Navy veterans have been put at the highest levels of risk due to the copious amounts of asbestos used in constructing naval vessels.
For military personnel trained in construction-related fields, exposure to asbestos continued during civilian life. This happened when servicemen became employed in construction and building projects that also relied heavily on asbestos use.
To make matters worse, these materials often lingered on clothing, causing veterans to unknowingly bring asbestos home and expose family members (including children) to the toxic fibers.
Recourse and Available Options for Veterans with Mesothelioma
Disability benefits are available from the U.S. government, but to receive maximum compensation, victims exposed to asbestos must seek compensation for damages from the companies that supplied the military and civilian projects with asbestos.
At the Halpern Law Firm, we have made it our mission to fight for Pennsylvania families affected by Mesothelioma. We have achieved multiple 7-figure verdicts for our clients. To discuss your case, contact us for a consultation. There is no upfront cost, and we only get paid after we recover financial compensation from the asbestos companies. Call us at (800) 505-6000, we’re here to help.
Page Reviewed and Edited by
Dave Halpern, Mesothelioma Attorney
Dave Halpern is a Pennsylvania and New Jersey mesothelioma attorney with over 30 years of experience. He has investigated hundreds of cases and won numerous multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts for asbestos victims. Dave prides himself on working tirelessly to help his clients in their time of need.