Mesothelioma in Navy Veterans: Shipyard Asbestos a Major Health Concern
Mesothelioma in Navy veterans occurs when exposed to shipyard asbestos. It has recently been at the forefront of the medical and legal arenas. The idea that men who risked their lives for their country decades ago can now be stricken with a deadly form of cancer, has raised concerns about how to provide care for the estimated 30% of mesothelioma patients who were dedicated servicemen. Performing their duties, they came into contact with the substance known to be a risk factor for this disease.
Thousands of United States Navy personnel served the United States surrounded by shipyard asbestosduring times of peace and while at war during the 20th century. This century brought four major wars throughout the world, all anchored with Navy personnel protecting the oceans, keeping them free and safe as throughways, and preventing the combat from arriving on domestic land. The Navy played an integral part in each of these skirmishes and now Navy mesothelioma victims are the result.
In order to perform to the best of their capabilities, Navy personnel required vessels that would protect them while they performed their duties helping to keep our country safe. Not only did the ships and submarines they used have to remain afloat, but they also needed to be fire proof, so if they were hit by any weapons or onboard equipment overheated, fire in the open sea would not be something they had to worry about in the course of work. Asbestos, a mineral which occurs naturally, seemed to be the perfect solution. With its insulating properties and low cost, asbestos was used in building the seafaring equipment and Navy personnel with shipyard asbestos exposure would be clear from an outbreak of fire and could safely perform their duties. Asbestos was used on Navy ships as pipe and equipment insulation (such as boilers), electrical fixtures, and in the engine rooms.
Unfortunately, shipyard asbestos lead to mesothelioma in Navy veterans and has proven that these victims were not as safe from other dangers as they were from fire. Civilians who worked in the Navy shipyards also had asbestos exposure on a regular basis, and as a result, are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. Navy veterans and civilians were exposed to asbestos in their workplaces, while performing the jobs that provided for their families and protected their country.
Other Asbestos Exposures
Not only veterans with shipyard asbestos exposure have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Workers in other industries, such as electricians and construction workers have also had exposure to asbestos. The occurrence of mesothelioma in these workers has not yet reached the frequency as that of Navy veterans.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining around the internal organs in the human body, called the mesothelium. The most common known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos and the breathing in of asbestos fibers. This disease can remain dormant for decades after exposure. Mesothelioma in Navy veterans is now being diagnosed from exposure that occurred as long as fifty years ago.
Once mesothelioma is identified, the disease can be treated to slow its progression. However, mesothelioma is a fatal disease. Treatments can include radiation, drugs or chemotherapy. Some patients can undergo surgery as part of their treatment plans.