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Mesothelioma and PTSD in Military Veterans

I want to welcome Douglas Karr, a US Navy veteran and blogger for The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, to myincision. In his initial email to me in which he introduced himself, this statement captured my heart and mind: “The lack of awareness the general public has about how everyday civilians, not just soldiers, suffer from things such as PTSD is something that reminds me of the public’s knowledge about mesothelioma.” Thank you, Douglas, for increasing our awareness and caring deeply about people.

“There are thousands of military veterans in the United States, all of whom have proudly served for their country. While these individuals express integrity, honesty and bravery, they are often left dealing with some serious issues and side effects after their time in the service. Most people know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also referred to as PTSD, is a common problem that military veterans deal with. This type of disorder is known for being an anxiety disorder and it typically happens to people who have recently been involved in a traumatic experience, which may have even caused a serious injury to occur. While in the military, these service members may have witnessed many different traumatic events, including the deaths of innocent people. After witnessing such traumatic events, it can be hard to return to civilian life, especially if the PTSD begins to start up.

While there are many people who know about PTSD and the effect that it has on military members, many people do not realize that mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has become a huge problem for military veterans. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by the exposure of asbestos, a specific mineral that contains toxic materials. Those who have served their country may have been exposed to such toxic materials during their time in the service. There are millions of veterans who have served in their military and are also dealing with diseases that relate to asbestos exposure, mesothelioma being one of those diseases. In the past, asbestos was commonly used within the military, especially because it is basically fireproof and resists heat quite well. Unfortunately, due to the continuous use of such material, there are so many service members, especially those who served their service throughout the 1950s-1970, who are now dealing with asbestos-related diseases.

Dealing with such diseases can mix negatively with the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, causing even more of a problem for these military veterans. And, what makes matters even worse is the fact that some military members may have family members who are also dealing with asbestos-related diseases due to the exposure of asbestos that can be found on clothing and other materials. For example, a military man may have been around asbestos all day long, coming home to his wife and children with the asbestos material on his clothing. In that case, the family members may have also been exposed to asbestos and could now be suffering because of it.

There are certain signs and symptoms of mesothelioma that military veterans and their family members should be aware of. Some of the symptoms include constant sweating at night, chronic fevers and coughing. These symptoms may not seem alarming to some and are often confused with the flu, which only gives the cancer more time to spread around the body. Any military veteran who is suffering from one or more of these symptoms should seek medical assistance from their primary physician to find out whether or not they have, in fact, been exposed to asbestos and if they are suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.”

Bio: Honorably discharged from the United States Navy almost seventeen years ago, Douglas has collaborated with The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance to write for their Veterans Blog and is passionate about sharing his experiences with other veterans and members of the military community. In addition, Douglas maintains a social networking website exclusively for Navy vets, NavyVets.com, and runs his Online Marketing Agency, DK New Media. Douglas resides in Indianapolis, IN with his two children, Bill and Katie.

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