Mesothelioma is a rare disease accounting for 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses in the US. Asbestos exposure is one of the primary causes of the condition. More men than women are affected by mesothelioma. This cancer can stay latent for years before showing symptoms. That is why men who were exposed to asbestos in their youth are most likely to develop it in older years.

Of all the mesothelioma diagnoses, 30% are US military veterans. All military departments relied on asbestos for decades without knowing its harmful effects on health. Asbestos was considered a reliable material for fireproofing and other durability purposes. It was used to construct military ships, aircraft, and other equipment. Damage to any of these structures can release asbestos fibers, resulting in exposure. Several years later, it was removed from military structures once its damaging effects came to light. Nowadays, soldiers serving in the Middle East can get exposed to asbestos because many structures there still contain asbestos.

The US government has introduced various treatment options and benefits for veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma. Let’s look at those options and benefits.

Treatment Options for Mesothelioma

As mesothelioma is a prevalent asbestos-related disease in military veterans, several veteran affairs centers specialize in its treatment. You can receive your mesothelioma treatment at any of these centers. These centers are equipped with the best medical equipment and the most qualified doctors, providing you with the standard quality of care. However, if you choose to get treated outside of the VA system, you are eligible for financial assistance for your treatment. 

Treatment options for mesothelioma relieve symptoms, prolong life, and help control the further growth of tumors. The types of mesothelioma include Pleural, Peritoneal, Pericardial, and Testicular. A treatment plan is devised based on the type and stage of mesothelioma.

The various treatment options for mesothelioma include;

1. Traditional Treatment Options 

Mesothelioma can be treated using traditional cancer treatment methods. Which include;

  • Chemotherapy

It is a drug treatment that involves using strong chemicals to kill rapidly multiplying cancer cells in your body. It is the most commonly employed cancer treatment method.

  • Radiation

Radiation, also known as radiotherapy, is used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors using high doses of radiation.

  • Surgery

Surgery works best for solid tumor removal that is contained in one specific area of your body.

2. Palliative Treatment

This treatment focuses on providing supportive care and controlling symptoms. Palliative care improves the quality of your life by alleviating symptoms caused by cancer and its treatment. Some widely used palliative care procedures are paracentesis, pleurodesis, thoracentesis, PleurX catheter. These procedures are utilized to remove any fluid build-up in and around the lungs.   

3. Emerging Treatments

The military health care system offers existing treatment options as well as new treatment techniques still in trial. You can choose the treatment option that best suits you. Mesothelioma researchers develop and test new treatments in clinical trials. The goal of these trials is to find a cure for mesothelioma. Hopefully, these experimental therapies will become conventional treatment options. These experimental treatments include cryotherapy, gene therapy, virotherapy, and photodynamic therapy.

4. Alternative Medicine

Some veterans may use complementary medicine alongside their treatment to reduce pain and improve health. However, you must consult your doctor before using any alternative medicine. Common alternative options may include energy therapies, mind-body therapies, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and massages.

Mesothelioma Treatment Centers for Veterans

Several medical facilities offer mesothelioma treatment options specifically for veterans. Some of these veteran centers include;

  • West Los Angeles VA medical center
  • VA Boston health care system
  • Michael E. DeBakey VA medical center

Benefits for Mesothelioma Veterans

American military veterans are heroes of the nation. The US department of veteran affairs provides several benefits to veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma. These benefits can help you receive low-cost mesothelioma treatment at a VA hospital to file for a VA Appeal. If you choose to get treated elsewhere, you may also be eligible for monetary compensation. All compensation awards are based on a rating system. This system takes into account the severity of your disease and adjusts the amount of your compensation accordingly. 

Some VA benefits are listed below;

1. Disability Compensation

This VA benefit program helps cover basic living expenses and medical costs. Taxes are also exempt on disability compensation. Your income level can affect the amount of disability compensation you may receive. Mesothelioma has a 100% disability rating, which qualifies you for the maximum financial help from a disability claim. 

2. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

It is also a form of monetary compensation. Surviving family members of a veteran who died due to mesothelioma are eligible to receive this financial compensation. This compensation helps cover the living costs of surviving family members.

3. Special Monthly Compensation

SMC can be availed in addition to regular disability benefits. Veteran affairs consider mesothelioma to be a complete disability, which means that you may qualify for an SMC. Your spouse and other family members may also be eligible for this form of compensation. However, if given to family members, it is paid out based on need and is called aid and attendance.

4. Pension

A VA pension includes a monthly payment. It pays the difference between your current income and the maximum pension rate set by congress. You become eligible for VA pension if your income falls within a set limit. Legal help from VA-accredited attorneys can help you determine your eligibility for VA pension.

Wrapping Up

Veterans have various treatment and financial assistance options available to them. This article also provides an overview of the several treatment options available to you. You can research all available treatment options and opt for the best possible option. Your doctor can also help you design the best treatment plan for you. 

The various compensation benefits available to you can help you pay for your treatment and other living costs of you and your family. In addition, information about different treatment and benefit options can help you make a timely and informed decision.