Veterans and Mesothelioma

Veterans face a number of significant risks, even after they've returned home from service. Some struggle with disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, or have been injured in the line of duty. Unfortunately, many veterans also face the possibility of developing an aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma, one that attacks the organs in the chest and comes as a direct result of exposure to asbestos, a material used for years in the hulls and engine rooms of Navy ships, as well as in shipyard production facilities. Asbestos in the body can cause no issues for a period of years or even decades and then suddenly present as a problem attacking the heart, lungs or abdomen of a veteran.

Veterans and mesothelioma are closely linked largely because of the close quarters kept on many Navy ships and in military facilities. Those serving in the military during any conflict until the late 1970s were likely to sleep, eat and work in asbestos-filled environments. It was not until the last third of the previous century that the potential dangers of this material were discovered and safety precautions became mandatory. For veterans, inhaling asbestos on a daily basis was common, and many had no idea they were being exposed to a potential cancer cause. Asbestos fibers have a unique structure, one that is extremely long but also extremely thin, meaning that they can be quickly inhaled but never pass out of a body naturally, instead becoming stuck in mucus membranes that surround organs in the chest. For some veterans, these fibers will never present a problem but, for others, a sudden and abnormal cell division can lead to the formation of tumors and the aggressive presentation of mesothelioma. Once diagnosed, patients will typically have between nine and 12 months to live as the cancer moves very quickly, attacking first at the location of the fiber and then spreading to other sites in the body.

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Any veteran that has been affected by mesothelioma may be entitled to receive compensation from the federal government though a fund created specifically for this purpose. In order to access this funding, veterans will have to prove that they were not only a member of the armed forces, but that they were exposed to asbestos fibers on a daily basis. Records of service, along with confirmation from a doctor indicating that the cancer has likely been caused by asbestos exposure from a veteran's military service, will be required in order for a claim to be considered and not all types of mesothelioma are recognized by the government as having been caused by asbestos. In some cases, a lawsuit may be necessary in order to seek fair and equitable compensation. Mesothelioma can strike quickly, and cause both a veteran and his or her family extreme monetary stress - compensation cannot cure the disease, but may help to ease the burden of cost.

If you or family members have been affected by mesothelioma as the result of the military service, fill out the form below for more information about options relating to compensation, as well as cancer centers on the leading edge of treatment and care for this aggressive type of cancer. Don't delay - time is crucial in the fight against mesothelioma.

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