Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer. Inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers may cause an inflammation of internal tissue and disrupt organ function which leads to the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos products were used extensively throughout the 20th century in a wide variety of applications. Asbestos companies continued to produce these products even after they were known to be hazardous and harmful to workers and their families. Many of these products were responsible for asbestos exposure sustained by both the individuals who manufactured the products as well as those who used them at commercial, industrial and military jobsites. Renovation and construction both at home and in schools and other public facilities also posed high risk areas for asbestos exposure.
Asbestos related cancer is common among military veterans who we exposed on naval ships, in shipyards and at military bases. Naval ships where exposure occurred include aircraft carriers, battleships, destroyers, submarines, warships and others. Some prominent shipyards where asbestos was prevalent include Brooklyn Navy Yard, Norfolk Navy Shipyard, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Long Beach Naval Shipyard and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. At commercial and industrial locations including refineries, power plants, steel mills, auto production facilities and large construction sites, many workers were put at risk. Some of the occupations of workers at risk include electricians, plumbers, boilermakers, carpenters, mechanics , machinists and more. Additionally, if you lived with someone who was regularly exposed to asbestos and washed their clothes, you could be at risk for second hand asbestos exposure.
Although rare, mesothelioma affects veterans from all branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. As mesothelioma has a long latency period and can remain dormant for several decades, veterans who served our country from 1930 through 1980 are just now being diagnosed with the disease.
Navy veterans who worked in navy shipyards and or served on our nation’s warships and submarine’s from WWII through the Vietnam War were exposed to high concentrations of deadly asbestos and are at a high risk for developing mesothelioma. Boiler rooms, engine rooms, sleeping quarters, and other areas of naval vessels were the most common areas where asbestos was present. As a result, Navy veterans are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. Medical support and treatment centers are available to veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you are a veteran and believe that you were exposed to asbestos, you should inform your physician during your next visit.
Resources that can be found on the internet regarding mesothelioma:
Our website has the most up to date and comprehensive information regarding Mesothelioma on the web today and we work closely with U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Munz who has joined The Mesothelioma Center and Asbestos.com as our new Veterans Department director
The Meso Foundation (formerly MARF) is the only non-profit organization dedicated to ending mesothelioma and the suffering caused by it, by funding research, providing education and support for patients and their families, and by advocating for federal funding of mesothelioma research.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is dedicated to serving mesothelioma victims and their families.