Individuals who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or those who worked at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina could have been exposed to a serious health risk. If you were at Camp Lejeune, bladder cancer could be a real concern. It’s essential to know about your risks.
Camp Lejeune had a population of 170,000 people while active. Located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, the camp spanned 156,000 miles and had the task of creating combat-ready people for expeditionary deployment. As a result, active-duty individuals and retirees, their families, and civilians at the camp could have suffered exposure.
Bladder Cancer From Camp Lejeune’s Contaminated Water
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that some people working at Camp Lejeune may have had contact with contaminated drinking water.
After researching the area and risks of exposure, the CDC states that scientific and medical evidence exists that links exposure to those drinking water contaminants and the development of certain diseases later, including bladder cancer.
How Bladder Cancer Is Related to Camp Lejeune
According to the VA, those who were at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River between August 1953 through December 1987 could have suffered exposure. The reports from the CDC state there were two on-base water wells that could have been the source of the contamination. These wells had evidence of the following chemicals within them:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Vinyl chloride
Other compounds were also found. The camp shut down the operation of the wells in 1985. Evidence indicates that the contaminants in the water supply were due to the disposal practices of a dry cleaner located near, but not on, the U.S. base, exposing both military professionals and civilian workers to high levels of toxins.
Causes of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is not an uncommon type of cancer in the U.S., and its underlying cause is not always understood. This type of cancer, which ranges in stages from mild to severe, affects the bladder and often the urinary system. Many times, it targets the lining of the bladder, where it can develop over time, often unnoticed until it is advanced.
Bladder cancer, like most other types of cancer, is a disease in which an uncontrolled development of unhealthy cells occurs, often causing the development of tumors and growths. In this case, those growths develop in and on the bladder.
Over time, the bladder cannot function normally due to the presence of the tumor and the continued development of cancer cells, which makes it difficult for healthy cells to work.
It is possible for bladder cancer to spread to other areas of the body. When it reaches this stage, treatment for the cancer is more complex and, in some cases, may not be possible to contain.
Doctors are not always able to trace the source of bladder cancer development. It may be genetic or may be caused by environmental exposures. Not all people exposed to contaminants develop bladder cancer, and other forms of cancer and serious illness have been reported as well.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
The first signs and symptoms of bladder cancer typically occur as the condition worsens. They may include:
- Blood found in the urine
- Pelvic pain that’s otherwise unexplained
- Pain while urinating
- Frequent, unexplained back pain
- Frequent need to urinate, often more than once an hour
- Feeling as though urination isn’t leading to full elimination
Evidence Linking Bladder Cancer to Camp Lejeune Water
The most significant evidence in the Camp Lejeune case was a study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The study’s purpose was to determine if those who lived at the camp during the specific time frame noted faced exposure to the volatile organic compounds.
The study tried to determine if there was any evidence linking exposure to those contaminants and the development of cancers and diseases. The study looked at men and women, including military professionals, civilian workers, and their families.
The study directly stated there was contamination of the water at the base of volatile organic compounds. That includes TCE, PCE, DCE, benzene, trans-1, and vinyl chloride.
To conduct the survey, the organization contacted 247,000 people potentially impacted to complete a health survey. Of those, 76,000 were completed. The information contained data about diseases, including bladder cancer and other cancers, that individuals had.
This included the type of disease as well as the person’s age at the time they were diagnosed. It also gathered information on smoking and alcohol use, age, and other data.
The results of the study showed a direct link to exposure to PCE and TCE led to a higher risk for kidney cancer and bladder cancer (with kidney disease) in those at the camp.
The study compared people who were at the camp to those who were in a similar population and did not have exposure to determine if there was a link between the water source and the development of the disease. The study also completed an internal analysis focusing on those who were exposed at the camp with the severity of their disease, if any, compared to their level of exposure to the toxic chemicals, determining if more exposure led to an increased risk of disease.
Camp Lejeune Bladder Cancer Lawsuits Under New Federal Law
A new federal law provides people who were exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune and developed bladder cancer, among other conditions, the means to obtain financial compensation due to damages.
The law called the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, includes verbiage from the previous Camp Lejeune Justice Act, allowing for lawsuits to be filed by individuals in U.S. federal court. The new law puts in place a way for people and families impacted by this contamination to potentially receive compensation for their losses.
Prior to this law, only veterans were covered with VA benefits due to exposure to the toxic Camp Lejeune water supply. Camp LeJeune veterans and now civilians may qualify under this law to file a Camp LeJeune lawsuit!
Camp LeJeune Bladder Cancer Lawsuits
The bill allows people to file a lawsuit in federal court to recover damages resulting from harm caused by contaminated water at the camp. It is only available to people who were at the camp between August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987. Individuals must have been in the camp for at least 30 days.
This law makes it impossible for the U.S. government to assert immunity from water contamination claims if a lawsuit is filed.
Those who were at the base and suffered from Camp Lejeune bladder cancer, or their family members if those individuals are no longer alive, have the legal right to pursue financial compensation for the losses they had.
Keep in mind that bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and other diseases were found in those who were exposed to the toxic chemicals in the water at Camp LeJeune. Seek help if you have these or other health conditions that could come from exposure at the military base.
What Cancers Are Associated With Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The CDC reports a higher mortality rate for those at Camp Lejeune who had various types of cancer, including breast, kidney, rectum, prostate, oral cavity, and lungs. These individuals, along with those suffering from leukemias and Parkinson’s disease, were at a significantly higher rate than people who worked as civilians at the location.
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