People recognize that there is risk inherent in military service. Particularly during times of active conflict, service often means risking one’s health and life for the benefit of the country as a whole. Still, the military also has a duty to servicemembers to act in their best interests whenever possible. The chain of command should make choices that prioritize the safety of servicemembers.
Unfortunately, historical decisions made by different branches of the military have led to unnecessary death and illness. Those serving in different branches of the military may have experienced exposure to toxic substances. Those who served in the Vietnam conflict, for example, may experience medical consequences related to exposure to defoliating agents.
For those in the Navy, exposure to such chemicals was not a concern. However, the use of asbestos for insulation and fireproofing on ships inspired a serious increase in individual risk for certain types of cancer. Research looking at naval workers in other countries affirms what people have long suspected about Naval exposure to asbestos and lung cancer risk.
Those in the Navy have a higher risk of certain cancers
Domestic research has long indicated that those who served in the Navy, especially before the government began limiting the use of asbestos in shipbuilding, have an increased risk of mesothelioma and other illnesses. Now, international research has affirmed the same is true for those who served on naval vessels in other countries as well.
The research looked at the medical information of 30,085 naval servicemembers from Britain and Australia. Those who served in the navies for their respective counties had higher rates of lung cancer than those in other branches of the military. The researchers found that those who were aware of asbestos exposure during their service had very high rates of lung cancer. They also had an increased risk of mesothelioma and asbestosis, which is not generally fatal.
Those who served in the Navy may need to watch carefully for warning signs of cancer, including declining energy levels and breathing issues. Many Navy veterans may also have consumed tobacco when they were younger. The combination of asbestos exposure and tobacco use drastically increases an individual’s chances of developing lung cancer.
Retired servicemembers diagnosed with lung cancer may have the right to pursue compensation because of their asbestos exposure during their service. Requesting compensation for a service-related illness can help people receive proper treatment and can help to support their families even as their personal circumstances change.