It is a fact about malignant mesothelioma that those comprising the highest percentage of victims of this deadly form of cancer are military veterans, many of them in the elderly stages of their lives. Medical statisticians estimate that of the 2,000-3,000 persons who will be diagnosed with this asbestos-caused cancer in 2011 about one-third will be veterans and the overwhelming number of those cases will involve former members of the U.S. Navy. The reason for this exceedingly high level is that so many of our military personnel were exposed to asbestos during their service to our country.
Although the peak period of exposure to this deadly element was during World War II, asbestos was commonplace in shipyards and other military installations in the following decades and the danger persisted with more and more cases of malignant mesothelioma being diagnosed and linked to this service in the Navy. Malignant mesothelioma is particularly tragic because it takes so long to develop and by the time it is, it is so far advanced that it is impossible to treat and most victims are given less than 18 months to live.
In case after case the victims have been shown to have been exposed to asbestos and have inhaled tiny, invisible particles of asbestos which worked their way into the delicate innings of the heart, lungs and vital abdominal organs. Asbestos has a sinister ability to fight off the body’s natural defense systems and cause the development of cancer cells which form into tumors and also spread the cancer to other parts of the body. Traditional forms of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation are generally ineffective in treating this cancer.
The dangers of asbestos have been well-known for many years and strict government guidelines have been put in place to protect workers. However, many cases involve negligence and mesothelioma lawyers have won millions of dollars in damages for these victims and their loved ones.