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Data Reveals Spike in Cancer over Last 20 Years of Military Service

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

New data suggests that there was a rise in certain types of cancer over multiple years of military service. Veterans and their families are curious to know whether their presence in toxic environments is the cause of their cancer diagnosis. A trusted publication company, McClatchy, examined the effects of active duty service on veterans’ health.

Correlating Data

McClatchy’s report analyzed the past 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and assessed the impact these wars had on the health of veterans. The number of veterans receiving cancer treatment for urinary cancers (bladder, kidney, and ureter cancer) grew 61 percent and 23 percent for prostate cancer between 2000 and 2018.

Additionally, medical care provided to veterans with blood cancer increased 18 percent, and reports of liver and pancreatic cancer among former servicemembers rose 96 percent. However, medical care given for brain cancer decreased 33 percent, testicular cancer dropped 22 percent, and respiratory cancer declined 13 percent.

Veterans’ Stories

Veteran Sergeant Mark S. Villamac Ho served as a firefighter in 2003. During his time in Al Numaniyah, Iraq, he came into contact with firefighting foam. Approximately 187,000 veterans reported that this substance made them ill during active duty service. At 38, Ho was diagnosed with blood cancer, which made him concerned for other military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan after him.

Additionally, former Air National Guard Captain, Shelia Frankenfield and her fiancé served in Iraq in 2008. Four years later, Frankenfield was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her future husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Frankenfield believes that the burn pit in Balad caused them both to become sick since they may have breathed in toxic waste fragments.

Government Intervention

In July 2019, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper initiated a task force to investigate the danger of biochemical compounds utilized on military bases. This evaluation will cover the cost of cleanup, evaluation of firefighting foam’s impact and how to ease the process of the VA covering veterans’ illnesses.

We will monitor Esper’s investigation and inform you of any major breaks in the case. Call our firm today for more details.