In recent years, tens of thousands of former Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel and their spouses have begun to develop mesothelioma. Decades after their military service in World War II, Korea, and other conflicts, these veterans are getting hit with the devastating news that their service to their country is the source of their cancer. The association between veterans and mesothelioma cancer is especially strong among men who served in the Navy during World War II.

Mesothelioma Develops Years after Asbestos Exposure

Essentially every case of mesothelioma (whether in a veteran or civilian) is due to the individual’s exposure to asbestos, a carcinogen that was once very widely used in building materials, Navy ships, and thousands of other products. After asbestos fibers are inhaled, the lungs or other internal organs can eventually develop mesothelioma cancer cells.

The symptoms of mesothelioma take from 10 to 50 years to develop, but the mesothelioma–asbestos link can be identified and confirmed even when the patient hasn’t had any contact with asbestos for decades. The increasing numbers of veterans with mesothelioma diagnoses continue to confirm the causal link between asbestos and mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma Cancer

Some soldiers, sailors, Marines and other veterans with mesothelioma are already being treated. Other veterans are experiencing the first symptoms and signs of mesothelioma but are not yet aware that cancer is causing the symptoms. If you’re a veteran and you’re experiencing mesothelioma symptoms such as chest or abdominal pain and shortness of breath or wheezing, get examined immediately by a physician.

Asbestos Exposure in Veterans

The veterans (and civilian contractors) who worked with asbestos in years past include:

  • Insulation installers
  • Boiler room workers and others who worked below deck
  • Shipyard workers
  • Construction workers
  • Machinery repairmen
  • Machinists’ mates

Other individuals at risk for mesothelioma are those who worked with asbestos-containing products such as:

  • Adhesives
  • Brake pads and clutches
  • Cables
  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Plumbing

The spouses of these workers were often exposed to toxic levels of asbestos when the workers came home wearing their work clothes — which were full of asbestos fibers, ready to be laundered time after time.

Navy & Asbestos Exposure Sources

A Workplace Asbestos Link Is Not Required

Mesothelioma does not require an intensive workplace filled with asbestos; veterans who have developed mesothelioma may have been exposed to asbestos cancer during the time they spent in sleeping quarters, mess halls, and navigation rooms that had asbestos components. Many shipyards were also full of asbestos, especially during the 1930s and 1940s.

Do You Know a Veteran with Mesothelioma?

If you would like to learn more about medical, financial, and other mesothelioma resources available to you or your loved one, contact mesothelioma treatment centers today.

Mesothelioma Veterans (english) / Mesotelioma Veteranos (spanish)