When it comes to understanding your risk, veterans of the navy with mesothelioma symptoms may find it difficult to believe how and why they were put in harm’s way to begin with. This article is designed to provide symptom information and also explain how navy vets came to be at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses at a rate far higher than the general public. It also includes the reasoning behind the exceptionally close relationship that the United States Armed Forces formerly had with a toxic and deadly carcinogen, as well as who may have the most warranted need for concern.
Mesothelioma and the Warning Signs
The early warning signs of the most common form of this particularly aggressive cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma, may manifest years before evaluation and treatment is sought. They may seem minor until the disease has progressed past the point of effective viable treatment options. Those who served in the navy with mesothelioma symptoms like the following—even if not especially severe—should waste no time in seeking medical attention.
Common symptoms are:
-Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
-Difficult taking deep breaths or fully inhaling
-Signs of anemia
The Connection Between the Navy and Mesothelioma: Asbestos
The direct causation behind cases of mesothelioma cancer is exposure to asbestos—true in at least 90% of diagnoses. The U.S. Navy, along with other branches of the military, used asbestos building materials in abundance during the early part of the twentieth century. It’s low cost, abundant availability and ability to withstand significant combat damage—due to naturally fire retardant properties—made it an ideal choice for military usage.
However, it is now known that those making and installing asbestos were aware of its associated health risks long before they were made public—meaning that those who were unknowingly exposed to a highly toxic agent were intentionally disregarded by the machines of efficiency and profit that dominated the military and the asbestos empire, respectively.
It’s estimated that any member of the U.S. Navy working on ships or in shipyards during the first part of the twentieth century, through the 1970s or 1980s, most likely suffered repeated and often high degrees of exposure to asbestos.
Factors Relating to the Highest Rate of Past Exposure and Highest Risk for Developing Mesothelioma
It is known that veterans of the navy with mesothelioma had a higher risk than other military units if they worked on older ships. These older ships housed asbestos products that were more likely to have shown signs of wear and tear—and thus were also more likely to disintegrate, cause their cancerous fibers to be released into the air and swallowed or inhaled by workers.
Several factors can make a difference in the likelihood that someone exposed to asbestos will later develop an illness like mesothelioma or asbestosis. Primarily, the duration and length of exposure is identified as a mitigating factor—the more frequent and longer the exposure, the more likely a person is to later become ill. Being a smoker also increases a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos.