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Veterans who served in certain military occupations between 1930 and 1980 have a high risk of developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, and account for 30% of mesothelioma cases diagnosed annually.
From the 1930s to the 1970s, the US military used thousands of asbestos-containing products to strengthen, insulate and fireproof military bases, ships, aircraft, and land vehicles. Many veterans who were active during this time, could encounter asbestos in base housing and almost everywhere they worked. Persistently breathing in asbestos fibers can cause them to build up in the lining of the lungs, and eventually lead to pleural mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma, which forms in the lining of the lungs, is the most common form of the disease, accounting for more than 75% of cases. This form affects veterans at a disproportionate rate compared to the general public. Veterans exposed to asbestos during military service who develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases qualify for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Because of the latency period of the disease, about 20-40 years, many veterans do not get diagnosed until much later in life. However, there is help and support for veterans and their families. The Pleural Mesothelioma Center offers information and assistance for those who find themselves battling this terrible disease. Through their online information hub, patient advocates, and medical outreach program, they are able to help educate patients and families, and connect them with the appropriate care and treatment.
Check out some of these other sources for more information and reach out if you think this could be affecting your health and well-being: