In recognition of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, September 26, Cell Phones For Soldiers has partnered with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance to share information about a disease for which American military veterans are at particular risk. This is a guest post from Mesothelioma.com.
For the past 16 years, we in the United States have recognized Mesothelioma Awareness Day. As this day grows each year, we come together to stand with the community of people who have been affected by this disease. Among them, veterans of our military branches suffer most disproportionate impact. Here’s why.
Nearly 30 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses are developed among military veterans. This is primarily a result of asbestos exposure during their active duty. Due to the durability of asbestos fibers, this material was often found in many places in and around military bases; for example, equipment, sleeping quarters, vehicles, aircrafts and more. At the time, it was known for its strength, soundproofing and fireproofing, which is why it made sense for military use. However; it later came to the attention of many doctors and researchers that this miracle material is in fact toxic to humans.
Asbestos use in the Military
Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard
Unfortunately, asbestos was a common additive in materials used to construct naval ships. This has made the Navy one of the most at-risk branches for asbestos exposure, increasing the chance of developing serious diseases later in life. As well as Marines and Coast Guard personnel, these men and women spent extended periods of time in close quarters on ships, which created a higher risk of ingesting or inhaling this toxicant and at a higher frequency.
Army and Air Force
Soldiers who served in the Army were exposed to asbestos-containing materials in buildings and vehicles. Military vehicles used asbestos within a number of gaskets and brakes. Air Force personnel were exposed mainly through their living quarters as well as aircraft brake systems.
The threat of mesothelioma is not only prevalent for our veterans; in fact, those who are currently serving our country today may still find themselves at risk. Although the use of asbestos in materials is at an all-time low in the United States, men and women may be deployed to different countries and areas where use could still be prominent. Only 66 countries have banned the use of asbestos, and exposure is more likely in developing countries.
After asbestos fibers enter the body, it can take anywhere between 10–50 years to manifest and develop into malignant tumors. Although this disease is historically hard to diagnose, it has the ability to develop in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. With long-term survival rates benefitting fewer than 10 percent of men and women diagnosed, it’s important that patients know and understand their options. There are great medical facilities all around the United States specializing in mesothelioma treatment, and Mesothelioma.com features a span of medical and legal resources.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day
This Mesothelioma Awareness Day, visit Mesothelioma.com to find out how you can get involved and see how you can help your veteran community. Since mesothelioma can be completely prevented, learn more about how you can do your part in banning asbestos. If you’re a veteran and interested in finding more about asbestos exposure during your active duty, you can find resources on Mesothelioma.com.