Mesothelioma & Veterans

Mesothelioma is a rare lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos appeared to be the perfect insulation for heat-producing mechanisms in warships, due to its ability to resist corrosion and extreme heat. Throughout the 20th Century, particularly during World War II and the early Cold War years, massive amounts of asbestos were used in shipyards for the building of new ships. Asbestos use continued to expand as asbestos manufacturing companies assisted in writing specifications for products on U.S. Navy ships. During this time, hundreds of thousands of sailors and shipyard workers were being exposed to the harmful effects of asbestos by breathing the tiny fibers caused by the cutting and handling of this harmful insulation.

Based on the following fatality statistics, working in an American shipyard during World War II was nearly as dangerous as fighting in the war. 16.1 million Americans were called to fight for their country during World War II. The rate of death during combat was approximately 18 per 1000. In contrast, 4.3 million Americans worked in shipyards throughout the time of the war. For every 1000 shipyard employees, approximately 14 died from mesotheliomia. In addition, an unknown number died from asbestosis or complications from it. Now, more than 40 years after this exposure, hundreds of people continue get sick each year, due to the long dormancy periods of these illnesses. This scourge is not expected to taper off for another ten years or so. Many of these shipbuilders and navy veterans are being diagnosed with deadly mesothelioma, decades after they have served their country. Not knowing that their exposure to asbestos might cut their lives short, they have raised families and built careers, and now many of them will be cheated from the pleasure of their golden years.

Because of the nature of this disease, it can remain undetected for over a decade before the patient shows any signs of illness. In fact, many veterans are now facing the deadly consequences of asbestos, due to exposure during their time in the military.

Mesothelioma Web is one of the most established and comprehensive sites on mesothelioma. They provide facts about palliative care, nutrition, and chemotherapy, as well as information on clinical trials. They also have pages specifically for veterans.

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