Mesothelioma and Army Veterans
Army veterans are particularly at risk for developing mesothelioma due to their asbestos exposure during service throughout the 20th century, when the material was used extensively in construction, building, and demolition projects. Asbestos use by the United States Army grew extensively in the 1940s during World War II. It continued to be used in construction until the late 1970s and was not removed from existing buildings until the late 1990s. As a result, servicemen and women have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma than civilians.
Asbestos Exposure in the Military
Buildings such as mess halls, barracks, and storage and training facilities were constructed with asbestos. Outside of military buildings, veterans' families could also be at risk because of dust carried home on clothing. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), military duties that may have exposed servicemen and women to asbestos include construction, carpentry, demolition, insulation, pipefitting, roof and floor installation, service of clutch and brake products, shipyard work, milling, and mining. Recently, Iraq War veterans have also been identified as a high-risk group because they have been exposed to asbestos dust in buildings in the Middle East.
As a result of this exposure, Army veterans are at a higher risk to develop mesothelioma. However, a veteran may not present symptoms until 40 or 50 years after the original asbestos exposure, with the average age of diagnosis being 65. This long latency period explains why many World War II veterans are just now showing symptoms of the disease. Veterans at high risk should be aware of and monitor potential mesothelioma symptoms, and they should also get regular health screenings to identify any asbestos-related illnesses at an early stage for the best diagnosis and treatment.
VA Claims and Other Benefits
Mesothelioma is not recognized by the VA as a service-related condition, so it has no special programs, as it does for some other illnesses. However, according to the VA, veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their time of service may be eligible for health care, disability compensation, and other benefits. Assistance and free resources are available to help Army veterans to file VA claims. Our patient advocate Veterans can assist you in filing your claims.
It is very important for a patient to know the treatment options available, and Army veterans are particularly encouraged to seek these benefits to pay for medical costs. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, please get in touch with us for further assistance.