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Malignant mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body’s internal organs, known as the mesothelium. There are three recognized types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly 70% of cases, and occurs in the lining of the lung known as the pleura. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum and pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.
An individual may be at risk to develop mesothelioma if he or she was exposed to asbestos in the workplace or at home. Mesothelioma is causedby exposure to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos particles. In most cases,mesothelioma symptoms will not appear in an individual exposed to asbestos until many years after the exposure has occurred. Those with a past asbestos exposure history experiencing symptoms should consult a physician with experience in accurately diagnosing mesothelioma. The earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be caught at an early stage. At earlier stages of mesothelioma progression, more treatment options are available and oftentimes a better prognosis is given. Additional mesothelioma informationand statistics can be found in this section.
Veterans and Mesothelioma
Although rare, mesothelioma affects veterans from all branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. As mesothelioma has a long latency period and can remain dormant for several decades, veterans who served our country from 1930 through 1980 are just now being diagnosed with the disease.
Navy veterans who worked in navy shipyards and or served on our nation’s warships and submarine’s from WWII through the Vietnam War were exposed to high concentrations of deadly asbestos and are at a high risk for developing mesothelioma. Boiler rooms, engine rooms, sleeping quarters, and other areas of naval vessels were the most common areas where asbestos was present. As a result, Navy veterans are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. Medical support and treatment centers are available to veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you are a veteran and believe that you were exposed to asbestos, you should inform your physician during your next visit.
For more information please visit the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.