World Lung Cancer Day 2022: Veterans and Asbestos Lung Cancer

3 Min Read

Graphic of doctors looking at lungs

World Lung Cancer Day 2022 takes place on August 1. U.S. veterans are encouraged to participate since they are at a higher risk of lung cancer. During their service, many veterans were exposed to substances like smoke and asbestos — both of which can cause lung cancer. Raising awareness and donating to find a cure are important ways to get involved on World Lung Cancer Day.

What Is World Lung Cancer Day?

World Lung Cancer Day is an annual event that raises awareness about the causes of lung cancer and the need to research new treatment options.

World Lung Cancer Day was established in 2012 by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and the American College of Chest Physicians.

World Lung Cancer Day 2022 is celebrated on August 1 each year.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. The overall goal of World Lung Cancer Day is to inform the public about the top causes of lung cancer.

Notable causes include:

  • Air pollution
  • Exposure to radon
  • Genetics
  • Industrial products linked to asbestos exposure
  • Smoking

World Lung Cancer Day honors and supports those diagnosed with lung cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that over 236,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2022, and over 130,000 people will die.

Those who served in the U.S. military have a high risk of lung cancer. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) diagnoses 7,700 veterans with lung cancer each year. An estimated 900,000 veterans remain at risk due to age, smoking, and exposure to toxins like asbestos during their time in the service.

Thus, it’s a good idea for U.S. veterans who are at risk of lung cancer (or who have already been diagnosed) to get involved on World Lung Cancer Day this year.

Veterans and Asbestos Lung Cancer Risks

Veterans have a higher risk of lung cancer from asbestos exposure than civilians. This is because the U.S. military used asbestos in many of its bases, vehicles, ships, and other assets between the 1930s and early 1980s.

Asbestos-based products can release microscopic fibers into the air if they are damaged or disturbed. Military service members could have inhaled or swallowed them without notice.

Once inside the body, asbestos fibers can get stuck inside the lungs, causing irritation. The body’s natural defense system is to cough up the particles to remove them. However, fibers can bypass this defensive reflex and get lodged deep within the lungs.

After 10-50 years, the irritation from asbestos fibers can trigger cellular mutations that cause cancer tumors to form in the lungs.

What's worse, asbestos does not only cause lung cancer — it can also cause mesothelioma (cancer that forms in the linings of organs like the lungs) and other cancers.

Makers of asbestos-based products knew the risks of asbestos back in the 1930s, but they hid the facts from the public to keep making money.

By the time the U.S. military started to remove asbestos-based products, thousands of service members had already been exposed.

Participating in World Lung Cancer Day 2022

It is important for those affected by lung cancer to participate in World Lung Cancer Day 2022. Participation helps to raise awareness around the global threat that lung cancer poses.

With increased awareness comes more research that can lead to treatment breakthroughs. The development of new treatment options is critical because it brings hope to veterans and their loved ones.

Veterans can participate in World Lung Cancer Day in a number of ways, as noted by the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA).

Ways to participate in World Lung Cancer Day include:

  • Joining the August 1 social media takeover featuring stories from survivors
  • Posting images and videos using the hashtag #LivingWithLungCancer
  • Creating live videos to share personal stories that provide hope to others

In addition to raising awareness, these activities can help patients feel less alone by connecting them with others battling lung cancer.

You can view the official LCFA website for the full schedule of events and learn how to participate. More events are being held by other organizations around the world.

Help for Veterans With Asbestos Lung Cancer

While asbestos lung cancer is very dangerous and often deadly, there are options for veterans who have been diagnosed.

Treatments are key: They can help veterans live longer and ease painful symptoms. Veterans can seek top treatments from both civilian doctors and those who work with the VA.

Qualified veterans can also pursue monthly financial payouts by filing for VA benefits. Veterans can access medical care through the VA Health Care System with these benefits as well.

Further, veterans may be entitled to even more financial compensation by pursuing a legal claim against the makers of asbestos-containing products. No branch of the U.S. military will be sued as part of this process.

Our team can help you connect with medical, financial, and legal options right now — get a free veterans packet for more information.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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