We were delighted to have the Mesothelioma Guide staff reach out to us with interest to inform our readership of the effects of mesothelioma on the veteran and caregiver population. We hope that this blog post sheds more light on the legal rights of veterans affected by this illness, and what you can do to care for veterans with this condition:

devingolden Guest blogger, Devin Golden, is the senior content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin’s objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative content to help patients and their loved ones. He enjoys playing sports and video games, expanding his love of music, listening to podcasts, and traveling.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, one that leads to around 3,000 American deaths each year.

Around half of mesothelioma cases involve veterans, which is a highly disproportionate percentage. Unfortunately, military members are regularly exposed to asbestos, and they can develop mesothelioma decades after their service ends.

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Mesothelioma is a fast-moving cancer, one that quickly spreads to vital organs and can claim the patients’ lives just months after diagnosis. It forms primarily near either the lungs or abdominal cavity, both places occupied by important organs. Veterans with mesothelioma quickly lose the ability to perform daily tasks, struggle with breathing, and lose their usual energy.

For these reasons, caregivers have a heightened importance for veterans with mesothelioma.

The American Cancer Society’s definition of a caregiver is anyone not paid to provide a patient with medical care. A mesothelioma caregiver could be a spouse, child, parent, sibling or close friend.

No matter who they are, the caregiver of veterans with mesothelioma gives up much of their time. They play a vital role in the veteran’s comfort and survival.

Be a Mesothelioma Resource

Most veterans with mesothelioma aren’t able to grasp many of the scientific concepts related to their cancer. They don’t understand how treatment helps, what doctors are telling them, and more.

A caregiver can be a resource for veterans and help them understand their diagnosis. To become this asset, caregivers must research mesothelioma and learn the standard treatment methods and emerging options. They should learn about each type of mesothelioma — pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial — and which one the veteran has.

Becoming knowledgeable about the disease, from how it forms to where it spreads, is essential. It will help the caregiver attend doctor visits and ask pertinent questions, which only serves to benefit the veteran.

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Bring a Sense of Normalcy

When a loved one learns they have mesothelioma, their life is uprooted. They’re struggling with grief, on top of physical ailment and fatigue.

As a caregiver, you can help your loved one with the daily tasks they’re unable to complete. Simply washing clothes or dishes could bring a sense of normalcy. Other tasks you may help with as a caregiver include:
● Preparing meals
● Bathing
● Managing medication
● Providing transportation
● Communicating with friends or family members
● Paying bills

Remember, mesothelioma is a fast-moving disease. It’s unlike most cancers that take multiple years to significantly spread to organs and impact the patient’s physical abilities. As a caregiver, you may be integral in your loved one’s daily life.

Help With Veterans Benefits

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs provides numerous financial benefits for veterans with mesothelioma. As a caregiver of a veteran with this cancer, you should be aware of these benefits. You could offer support or insight to the veteran or their loved ones about ways to receive financial assistance.

Veterans make up the largest group of people diagnosed with mesothelioma because asbestos was so widely used by the military until the 1980s. The VA has a compensation rating for veterans with diseases caused due to their military service. Mesothelioma automatically qualifies for 100% due to the high levels of asbestos in military ships, aircraft, barracks, and more.

Veterans with mesothelioma are entitled to either Disability Compensation or Pension. The former involves monthly payments of more than $3,000, which vary depending on the veteran’s number of dependents.

Pension is for veterans with mesothelioma who acquired the disease due to exposure occurring outside of the military. Pension compensation has a set monthly rate for all veterans with mesothelioma. The amount is reduced if the veteran has a monthly income or other earnings. More information about veterans benefits relating to asbestos exposure can be found here.

We hope these resources will provide further insight into veterans’ legal rights who have been diagnosed with this illness. Feel free to contact the staff of the Mesothelioma Guide for more information.

 

 

 

 

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