Page Updated: June 05, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions about Mesothelioma and the Military

Why do so many veterans suffer from asbestos exposure and its consequences?

For nearly half of the 20th Century, the various branches of the United States military were heavy users of asbestos, a catchall term for a sextet of fire-resistant minerals with other useful properties. Asbestos was utilized in large quantities, not only in parts meant for vehicles or weapons systems, but also in construction materials such as cement, drywall, roof shingles, electrical wiring, and insulation. The omnipresence of asbestos in planes, tanks, trucks, jeeps, staff cars warships, barracks, administration buildings, and even base schools exposed many military personnel and their dependents to asbestos.

Unfortunately, while asbestos-laden materials are stronger, have low electric conductivity and can resist extreme heat, the minerals’ fibers can be hazardous to humans. The fibrous nature of asbestos makes it easy for humans to ingest them via the respiratory system.

Over time, the fibers can damage the lungs, the heart and other organs. For various reasons, including the efforts of the asbestos industry to suppress information about these health risks, it wasn’t until the late 1970s that the Environmental Protection Agency began to regulate the use of asbestos. By then, large numbers of members of the armed forces had been exposed.

Presently, the federal government, the medical community, and many veterans are now aware that long term exposure to asbestos fibers may cause malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

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What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the thin lining surrounding the lung (pleural membrane) or abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). Mesothelioma sometimes affects the sac which surrounds the heart (pericardium). Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop. Symptoms of mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to surface. As of now, there is no cure.

Though mesothelioma can be triggered by the non-asbestos fiber erionite as well as by a simian virus known as SV40, asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma cancer.

Asbestos enters the human body chiefly through the respiratory system. Mesothelioma patients usually breathe the fibrous minerals when they come into contact with asbestos. These fibers then find their way into the lungs or chest cavity and cause irritation in the tissue there.Over time, the irritated tissue cells can mutate into cancerous growths.

How common is mesothelioma?

Compared to other types of cancer, mesothelioma is considered rare. Yet, since asbestos was heavily used by both the military and civilian entities (especially in the construction industry) during and after World War II, more and more cases are being reported worldwide.

The disease is diagnosed more in men than women; a study in the United Kingdom suggests that the ratio of mesothelioma cases between males and females diagnosed with the cancer is 5:1. This is likely because the asbestos exposure occurred while the mesothelioma patient served in the military or worked in male-dominated industries such as construction, shipbuilding, and mining.

Mesothelioma is also more prevalent among white or Hispanic men than among African American males.

Among veterans, mesothelioma is more common among former members of the Navy and Marine Corps and personnel from other service branches who have served in Iraq or other parts of the Middle East.

Are veterans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma eligible for VA disability compensation and health care benefits?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), veterans may have the right to apply for disability compensation benefits and healthcare benefits for mesothelioma treatments and other asbestos- related illnesses.

Veterans are eligible for disability compensation if the mesothelioma is found to be service-related and if their discharge from the armed forces was honorable.  The VA also offers health registry evaluations and clinical treatment at its “War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers. It’s open to veterans exposed to certain environmental hazards during military service, including asbestos.

Where can I get more information on legal help?

Remember to fill out our form to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on top asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. Keep in mind that if you have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for considerable compensation. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.