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What Veterans Should Know About Mesothelioma Cases

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4. mesothelioma and veterans

Because of asbestos exposure, mesothelioma cases among military veterans are common. Among all American mesothelioma patients, 30% of them are veterans who developed the disease as a result of asbestos exposure through work.

Millions of veterans who were exposed to asbestos as part of their jobs have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other diseases related to asbestos. The common types of mesothelioma found in veterans are pleural, peritoneal and pericardial mesotheliomas. When compared to other populations that have been affected with mesothelioma, veterans suffer the most.

Related: If you or your loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, read more about mesothelioma lifestyle changes, what to do after treatment and its survival rates

Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma in Veterans

Asbestos is the only causative agent for mesothelioma. It was used widely by the U.S. military in many applications. Since asbestos is a natural mineral that has high resistance to fire and heat, is cheap and is widely used in industries, it turned out to be a preferred product for military use.

Let us take a look at one example for the extensive usage of asbestos and its exposure. According to an estimate between the years 1930 to 1978, about 25 million tons of asbestos were used by U.S shipyards and over 4.5 million military members and workers were employed in these shipyards.

Asbestos exposure was inevitable for some military personnel, the reason why veterans are affected by mesothelioma cases today. Specifically, veterans who served during the World War II and the Vietnam War were highly affected. Asbestos was present in boiler rooms and the engines of ships where it was utilized widely as an insulating agent. But asbestos was not only present in those areas. It could be seen in other unpredictable areas like mess halls and sleeping quarters where military personnel had their leisure time.

Branch-Wise List of Asbestos Usage And Exposure In Military Personnel

US Army

Before 1970s, many military vehicles were made and military installations were built with asbestos. Army veterans who served during that period spent a lot of time in those buildings and vehicles and were eventually exposed to asbestos.

US Navy

During the years 1930s to 1970s, Navy ships used asbestos to a greater extent. More than 300 materials were used in Navy ships and asbestos was one of their key components. So, Navy veterans are at high risk for developing mesothelioma cases.

US Air Force

In aircrafts, asbestos was normally used as insulating agent for engines and braking systems. Veteran Airmen who serviced aircrafts are at specific risk of developing pleural mesothelioma, because of the contact with such parts.


Asbestos-containing products were used for constructing the amphibious vessels in Marine Corps. So personnel who served in Navy warships are also at risk for mesothelioma cases.

Coast Guard

As Shipyards and ships were built with asbestos-containing products, Coast Guard veterans were also exposed to this dreadful cancer-causing agent and may contract mesothelioma similar to fellow comrades in other branches of the military.

Latency Period

The latency period for mesothelioma is 15 to 50 years, which is the time between exposure to asbestos and the beginning of symptoms. Normally, this deadly disease can remain silent for many decades. Therefore, most veterans are now being diagnosed with the disease as they served during 1950s to 1970s.

Mesothelioma is specifically a complex disease to combat. In spite of the advancement in treatments and medical technology in this modern world, mesothelioma remains a challenging disease for patients and health care providers.

Read more on how to file a mesothelioma suit as well as the frequently asked questions about mesothelioma cases. Filing a mesothelioma legal suit is necessary to get mesothelioma claims and compensations.


Veterans & mesothelioma. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from mesothelioma.com/veterans/