Army Veterans and Mesothelioma

Army Veterans and Mesothelioma are quite frequent as soldiers in the Army were exposed to asbestos in insulation of buildings and elsewhere in the 20th century. During the 20th century, industrialists needed a strong, flexible and durable material that was resistant to heat, flame and electricity. They thought they had their wonder material in asbestos.

For years, they did. Asbestos was commercially used in thousands of products from building materials to fire-resistant textiles, insulation to automobile brake pads. The military used it as well. Consequently, soldiers in the Army were also exposed to asbestos in insulation of the buildings and elsewhere.

The United States military actually mandated its use for a time, lining the pipes of ships with insulation made from asbestos to prevent on-board fires. Army vehicles had to use asbestos in brake applications as well as in the barracks, mess halls and other buildings. But as the buildings aged, so did the asbestos insulation, causing it to crumble, become airborne and put thousands of lives at risk.

Controlling Asbestos Use

Documents now show that corporations and military officials were aware of the health risks posed by the mineral even before World War II. However, military personnel did nothing to warn soldiers who interacted and even lived among the material. By the 1970s, however, more and more information was available about the effects of asbestos exposure. A decade later, the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (EPA) tried to ban its use outright. It was unsuccessful, given that the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out rule was overturned in 1991, allowing manufacturers to continue using the substance in trace amounts.

Dealing With Army Veterans and Mesothelioma

Those Army personnel who had worked with asbestos and came into contact with the deadly fibers face a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. Asbestos could be easily broken, releasing particles that could be inhaled. The fibers, which are either curly or long and sharp, become lodged in the lining of the lungs. There, they form cancerous tumors that produce a host of symptoms. However, mesothelioma has a long latency period, so those symptoms might not appear for years or even decades, complicating the diagnosis.

Once doctors have determined that the patient has mesothelioma, they devise treatment plans based on staging systems. These plans are based on how quickly the disease has spread, the health of the patient and their age, and other specific characteristics. Surgery is typically the most effective route, although it is not useful when it isn’t caught early. The other most common treatments are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These methods are often used in conjunction with one another or given separately, depending on the strength of the patient and the spread of the disease.