Deadly Cancer Disproportionately Affects Our Veterans

Veterans DayFor many veterans, danger is a relic of the combat zone, a distant memory rarely accessed. However, for some of our dedicated servicemen and women, a new kind of danger can begin 20 to 50 years after returning home.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer connected with exposure to asbestos. Due to its latency period of several decades, the development of disease is mostly unexpected.  As a result of asbestos exposure while serving, a disproportionate number of our veterans are at risk for developing mesothelioma. In fact, one third of the 3,000 Americans who develop this cancer every year either served in the Navy or worked in shipyards.

Asbestos, which is a naturally occurring mineral, was, until very recently, heavily used in construction and shipbuilding. Due to its insulation and heat resistant properties, there was virtually no place on a ship where asbestos was not used. Our Navy personnel has reported not only working around asbestos in boiler and engine rooms, but also sleeping under white dust falling from the pipes above their bunks.

Because mesothelioma is quite difficult to diagnose, we would like to encourage all veterans to inform their healthcare providers if they have ever been in contact with asbestos, even if it was many years ago. An earlier diagnosis generally affords more treatment options with a better prognosis. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is available as a free resource for anyone affected by this cancer. Read more information about mesothelioma specific to veterans.

This Veterans Day, the Meso Foundation honors the brave men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces. We admire your service, sacrifice, and courage. Thank you.

Saluting Our Veterans!

flags_veterans2_smallThank You, Veterans!

On this Veterans Day, the Meso Foundation would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all those who have generously and selflessly served this country in our various branches of the military. We appreciate and admire your service!

At the Meso Foundation, our work on behalf of veterans affected by mesothelioma today, and those who will develop mesothelioma in the future, spans throughout the year. We work to ensure that mesothelioma, a cancer prevalent among veterans, is not ignored by our country’s elected officials and our government.

In fact, as a direct result of continued advocacy by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the Department of Defense has funded a total of $8.8 million in mesothelioma research since 2008. We are currently looking to expand this program to include a category dedicated exclusively to mesothelioma, so that meso researchers would no longer need to compete against other diseases for funding.

Beyond our advocacy for research dollars and our own research funding to which we’ve invested over $8.2 million, the Meso Foundation is dedicated to helping mesothelioma patients, including our service men and women, by providing them with support services and education they need to fight this cancer. We understand that veterans may have specific needs, therefore, on our website, we have compiled important information and resources specific to this group.

Military veterans, along with other occupations leading to asbestos exposures, are at a high risk for developing mesothelioma. A 2002 study of asbestos exposures that led to mesothelioma found that a large number of total mesothelioma cases, approximately 1/3, were caused by either service in the Navy or occupations within the shipbuilding industry. Over 1 in 10 mesothelioma patients are Navy veterans.