Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their time in the service.  Asbestos has unique and valuable properties, and so was used extensively in military applications for decades. Experts estimate that military exposure may account for up to 30 percent of all mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the United States.

 This form of cancer affects the mesothelium the membrane surrounding the lungs.  The early symptoms of mesothelioma   are not specific to this disease, and even experienced doctors often miss the diagnosis, believing the patient to have pneumonia or some other lung disease.  It is important that anyone who was exposed to asbestos mention the exposure to their doctor whenever they are being checked for problems in the chest or lungs.  Pleural mesothelioma  is the most common form of the disease, and is treated with surgery and chemotherapy.  Specialists in mesothelioma can advise patients with the best course of action for them.  The Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits for those exposed to asbestos and you may wish to contact a  Veterans Service Office   in your area if you have an asbestos-related disease.