For veterans, a mesothelioma diagnosis is life changing, especially after realizing that the exposure to asbestos occurred during their years of service. Regardless of how the disease started, though, they must focus on the realities of the diagnosis, primarily how to get adequate medical support.
While mesothelioma has no cure, many treatments are available, particularly surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. When found during the early stages, surgery is the best option because surgeons can usually remove the damaged tissue. Doctors then follow that up with chemotherapy and radiation, which use drugs and technology to target and kill cancerous cells. Alternative treatments may be options as well.
As with most forms of cancer, early detection increases the rate of survival. Sadly, the 20- to 50-year latency period often leaves patients in the latter stages of cancer when the clinical diagnosis is made.
Veterans have many options when it comes to finding treatment and information. Not only can they visit a veterans hospital, but various veterans networks also have suggestions for high-quality mesothelioma specialists. In addition, veteran-run organizations, such as the Veterans Benefits Network, can help former military men and women find the necessary treatment centers and benefits. This organization can also offer contact information for further medical or legal assistance.
Additionally, veteran-specific chat rooms and discussion boards can help veterans discuss their conditions with other veterans suffering from the same condition. There, veterans may find more information as well as camaraderie among fellow servicemen and women who can give emotional support during this difficult time.
The Veterans Benefits Network is just one example of the many services available to veterans suffering from mesothelioma. Research the medical support systems that are already in place for those that have honorably served our country.