Some Questions About Mesothelioma and the Navy

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to a chemical found in asbestos. Asbestos served many purposes until the 1970’s, when it was realized that there was a link between exposure to asbestos and disease. On navy ships asbestos was very frequently used because if its heat resistant qualities, unfortunately, mesothelioma has become yet another on the long list of health problems of veterans.

Mesothelioma and the Navy FAQs

  • Why is mesothelioma such a prevalent disease among navy veterans?

    • Because of the heat resistant properties of asbestos, it was commonly used in shipyards and on all Navy ships until the early 1970’s when it was found to be harmful to humans. Before this, Navy war ships were constructed almost completely of asbestos. Everything from cables, pipe fittings, even gaskets were made with products containing asbestos. Navy veterans have the highest rate of mesothelioma among uniformed service veterans because of the intense exposure to asbestos on ships.

  • What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

    • The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are similar to those of pneumonia. The lungs fill with fluid as the lining of the lungs is damaged by the disease. Symptoms of mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure can remain dormant for 20-50 years, leaving some people confused as to what they are suffering from.

  • What resources are available for Navy veterans suffering from mesothelioma?

    • Yes, there is a veterans benefit available to veterans exposed to asbestos. Because it takes so many years for the disease to surface, it is difficult to qualify for veterans benefits based on mesothelioma. The veterans who apply must be able to prove that their condition is solely due to the exposure of asbestos. This makes it quite difficult for veterans to qualify due to the long span of time between exposure to asbestos and the appearance of symptoms. However, if the application is approved for veterans benefits related to mesothelioma, the compensation is upwards of $2,800.00 per month.

  • If I don’t qualify for veterans benefits are there any other options available?

    • Yes, there is the option of taking legal action. Veterans can not sue the government, but they can sue the manufacturers of the products that contained asbestos. Asbestos lawsuits are filed every year, making this one of the largest causes of civil suits in America. Veterans have a good chance of winning a settlement in these cases, so if an application for VA benefits is denied a lawsuit may be in order.

  • Is there an effective treatment for mesothelioma?

    • Mesothelioma is treated just like any other cancer, through the use of radiation and chemotherapy. There are surgical treatments for the disease as well, one method of treatment aims to cure the patient, while the other is geared more towards keeping the patient comfortable. The plan of treatment depends greatly on the overall health of the patient, as well as the severity of the cancer. The prognosis in cases of mesothelioma is similar to that of other lung and respiratory cancers. If found in early enough stages the disease can be better controlled. Unfortunately, due to the timing of mesothelioma symptoms arising and patients seeking help, the cancer is often in the later stages before any treatment is performed.