- Honoring Veterans for Battles of the Past and Present
- November 29, 2017
As We Honor Veterans for their Past Service, We Cannot Ignore the Battle with Mesothelioma that Many Veterans Now Face
On the 11th day of the 11th month each year, we celebrate those brave men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. These veterans risked it all – some making extraordinary sacrifices, to ensure that Americans are safe and free. When we think of the battles these veterans have fought, we naturally think about the past. However, there is a very real and deadly battle that many former members of the armed forces are currently facing.
Mesothelioma, the New Enemy of Military Veterans
Former members of the armed forces represent nearly one-third of the mesothelioma cases diagnosed annually. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that currently has no cure. The most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, attacks the lining of the lungs. On diagnosis, victims of this disease are usually given only 10 months to life.
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a fibrous mineral that forms deposits in the lungs when inhaled. Military veterans represent such a high percentage of mesothelioma cases because asbestos exposure due to the presence of asbestos on navy ships and bases before the 1970s. Mesothelioma has a latency period of several decades, so veterans who were exposed during their service may have only recently begun to exhibit symptoms.Corporations failed to properly warn the armed forces of the dangers of using asbestos for its fire-retardant and insulating properties, and as a result, many service members were exposed to this deadly enemy while also facing enemies abroad. Many veterans were unknowingly subjected to the deadly effects of asbestos exposure, but they are not alone in their battle to fight diseases like pleural mesothelioma.