Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that is a result of high levels of asbestos exposure, which is unfortunately common for veterans of nearly every branch of the Armed Forces. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers, which can become lodged into the tissue surrounding the lung, heart and abdomen, causes the condition. The fibers scar the tissue cells, which mutate and form tumors. Mesothelioma warning signs remain latent for decades before surfacing, causing many patients to be diagnosed in the later stages of cancer.
Regardless of when the condition is diagnosed, treatment is essential to combating the disease. Luckily for veterans, cancer treatment centers are readily available to help the honorable men and women who developed cancer due to their time in the service.
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) maintains lists of Veterans Heath Administration Comprehensive Cancer Centers. These hospitals and medical centers are part of the VA system and offer a full range of services, including surgery, oncology and mental health care. Access to these facilities is based on active service in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. World War II Merchant Marines are also eligible. In addition, some reservists and National Guard members who were called into active duty may also be qualified.
To support America's military families during difficult times of illness, free lodging may be provided at a Fisher House – a program that recognizes the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform and the needs of their families when patients must be hospitalized. At least one Fisher House comfort home is located at every major military medical center. Understandably, families are a huge part of the healing process, and veterans may find a cancer treatment center that has a Fisher House for their loved ones to use.
As evidenced, veterans with mesothelioma diagnoses are not without options. The VA has provided choices for those in need of cancer treatments. If you are a veteran with mesothelioma, now it is time for the U.S. government to provide for you. Seek out the closest veteran cancer treatment center near you for the tools needed to fight your condition.