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Frequently Asked Questions: Information for Families

My brother who is retired from the Navy has been having a lot of difficulty breathing lately. Is it possible that he has mesothelioma?

When you take the general population of the U.S. into consideration, mesothelioma is a relatively rare disease. Although there is somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of the disease reported annually, it is much more common among individuals working in certain industry or trade sectors. This is especially true where the maritime industry is concerned because at one time asbestos was being widely used in shipbuilding.

When you take the latency (incubation) period of mesothelioma into consideration, it is quite possible that your brother may have been exposed to asbestos when he served in the Navy on a ship that was constructed during that period in history when the use of asbestos was common in the shipbuilding industry.  Asbestos was widely used in the military between the 1940s and 1970s putting veterans at a greater risk of asbestos exposure.

Fortunately, there are now blood tests for mesothelioma and if there is a concern, we would highly advise your brother to contact his physician for a checkup.

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