World Lung Cancer Day 2021: Veterans and Asbestos Lung Cancer

3 Min Read

Graphic of doctors looking at lungs

World Lung Cancer Day 2021 will take place on August 1st. Due to an increased risk for lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, veterans are encouraged to participate in the event. Raising awareness around lung cancer by sharing personal stories can lead to new research funding and treatment breakthroughs. These can bring hope to veterans and their loved ones across the country.

What Is World Lung Cancer Day?

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

The celebration 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 2021 will be celebrated on August 1st.

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 who have been affected by lung cancer. It also highlights the issues that a lack of funding for research can create. The American Cancer Society projects that over 235,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2021, and about 132,000 people will die from it this year alone.

Those who served in the U.S. military have a great 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 environmental exposures that occurred during and after military service.

Because of the known risk for lung cancer in veterans, they can greatly benefit from participating in World Lung Cancer Day.

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 frequently used asbestos on bases, vehicles, ships, and in many products. In fact, between the 1930s and early 1980s, the military heavily relied on asbestos-containing products.

Asbestos-based products can release microscopic fibers into the air if they are damaged or disturbed. Veterans can then inhale or swallow 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 20-50 years, the irritation from asbestos fibers can trigger cellular mutations which cause cancerous tumors to form in the lungs.

What’s worse, asbestos does not only cause lung cancer — it can also cause mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive, and deadly cancer of the lining around the lungs or other organs. It can also cause ovarian cancer, along with other cancerous and non-cancerous diseases.

The risks of asbestos were well-known back in the 1930s, but major corporations that made asbestos-based products 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 2021

It is important for those affected by lung cancer to participate in World Lung Cancer Day 2021. 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).

These include:

  • Joining the August 1st 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, joining the activities can help patients feel less alone by connecting with others battling lung cancer.

You can view the official LCFA website for the full schedule of events and learn how to participate. Additional events are being held by other organizations located 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 essential: they can help veterans live longer and lessen the painful symptoms. Veterans can seek top treatments from both civilian doctors and those who work within the VA.

Qualified veterans can also pursue monthly financial payouts by filing for VA benefits. Veterans can access medical care through the VA Healthcare System with these benefits too.

Further, veterans may be entitled to additional financial compensation by pursuing a legal claim against the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. It is important to note that 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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