A Grave Repercussion of Veterans' Asbestos Exposure: Testicular Cancer

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The U.S. Navy used over 300 asbestos-containing products before the 1980s during the construction of naval vessels. As a consequence, the hazardous material was found nearly everywhere on the ships.

Navy members most likely came in contact with the toxic mineral during the building, maintenance, repair, or demolition of ships and through day-to-day operations onboard. It is why many of them developed debilitating diseases many years after their service.

Asbestos wasn't considered toxic; even more, it was "the miracle material" every manufacturer rushed to utilize. Its versatility and low price range were more than appealing for shipbuilding when the Second World War demanded an increasing number of naval vessels.

The mineral's microscopic fibers can go airborne if disturbed, may linger in the air for hours, and can be easily inhaled. Once inside, the tiny fibers will lodge deep in the lungs. At the same time, some can travel with the blood and reach major organs, where they'll cause an aggressive immune response as the body's natural defense system tries to remove them. Over time, the process results in scarring, chronic inflammation, and malignant cell mutation. Navy veterans diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer are eligible for claims and may receive compensation if their medical records show diagnoses such as:

Exposure to Asbestos Linked to Testicular Cancer

According to emerging studies that assess and describe the role of asbestos exposure in testicular mesothelioma, there is a causal role between this type of exposure and the incidence of testicular cancer. Moreover, occupational toxic exposure has been linked to various types of cancer. Given that asbestos fibers can travel through the body, it may also lead to cancer of the testicles.

Testicular cancer results from germ cells in the testicle growing out of control and forming a tumor. It is a type of cancer that usually affects middle-aged and older men but, in some rare cases, even young boys. There are two types of testicular carcinoma:

  • seminomas - a slow-growing form typically found in men in their 40s and 50s. It is located in the testes, but spreading to the lymph nodes is possible.
  • nonseminomas - comparatively rapid-growing cancer that can be further subdivided into four sub-types treated differently, so figuring out the type is very important in planning treatment.

Testicular seminoma is relatively rare, making up about 40% of all testicular tumor cases in older patients. The American Cancer Society's 2020 estimates show 9,610 newly diagnosed testicular cancer cases in the U.S. Testicular cancer rates have gradually increased worldwide over the past decades, most of which were seminomas. Germ cell cancer might not produce symptoms until a more advanced stage. Usually, it's just a painless mass in the testes, but if symptoms appear, they include:

  • discomfort or pain in the testicle
  • a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • pain or burning while peeing
  • pain in the back or lower abdomen
  • enlarged testicle
  • lump or swelling in either testicle

If the cancer has spread outside of the testicles, symptoms like pain or dull ache can appear in other parts of the body, such as:

  • lungs
  • abdomen
  • pelvis
  • back

It's imperative that veterans with a history of toxic exposure, including PFAS, regularly check up on their health and request testing from their healthcare provider if experiencing any of the signs mentioned above. Diagnosis of testicular cancer is based on:

  • CT or MRI scan of the belly
  • blood analysis
  • ultrasound
  • chest X-ray
  • bone scan
  • PET scan

When cancer of the testicles is early identified and treated, it has one of the most positive prognoses of all cancers. According to statistics, 95% of men with testicular cancer will survive for at least five years after the initial diagnosis if the tumor does not spread beyond the testicles.

Testicular Mesothelioma, a Rare Type of Testicular Cancer

In some unusual cases, patients with a toxic exposure history have developed testicular mesothelioma, a malignant mutation of mesothelial cells. Although research is scarce regarding this disease, asbestos exposure was associated with it, given that 35% of all patients diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos at some point.

Even though individuals with testicular mesothelioma usually have a short life expectancy, this type of mesothelioma has a slightly better prognosis than those developing in the chest or abdomen. Thus rare, testicular mesothelioma accounts for approximately 5% of all mesothelioma cases.

Considering that there are no specific symptoms of testicular mesothelioma, many people with this cancer initially receive a wrong diagnosis. Most doctors often mistake it for common conditions such as a hernia and recognize it only during or after surgery.

Misdiagnosis of Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure Is a Common Occurrence

Asbestos-related illnesses are complex due to biological mechanisms interacting on several levels, like genetics, immune reaction, and response to toxic elements. It's the cause behind doctors often misreading the symptoms and misdiagnosing these diseases.

That is why former Navy service members should ask for a second or third doctor's opinion outside the VA to ensure receiving an exact diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Veterans being transparent about their military service can significantly help a correct evaluation. Mentioning the chances of asbestos exposure during service could lead to the discovery of non-cancerous diseases like:

Although these conditions don't qualify veterans for compensation, they should be regularly checked, as they tend to develop into cancer. Chest X-rays and pulmonary function tests may discover them turning malignant early on, and a cancer diagnosis will qualify a veteran for compensation.

Former Navy Personnel Suffering From Asbestos-Related Cancer May Be Eligible for Compensation

Service members of the U.S. Navy who fulfilled duty on the vessels built before the 1980s risked asbestos exposure thanks to the mineral's abundant use in constructing naval ships. Veterans diagnosed with cancer due to exposure to asbestos during service are entitled to monetary compensation, qualify for filing claims, and can receive benefits from the asbestos trust funds and the Veterans Affairs.

If you wish to take the required legal steps to receive the deserved indemnification, we can be of assistance by connecting you with legal experts known for their success in asbestos claims.

If you have a cancer diagnosis please contact us

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