Email to a friend

Study Examines Impacts of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma on Vets

By Greg T. Rinckey

A new study sheds light on the impact of a lethal cancer on veterans.  The study covers Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) and its effect on veterans, particularly Caucasians in their early 70s.

The study illustrates the devastating impact this disease has on veterans. Researchers at the VA-Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System, Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska, and the Thomas Jefferson School of Medicine in Pennsylvania found that the median survival time for veterans with MPM was a little over seven months.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in conjunction with annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists in early June. It examined how tobacco and asbestos exposure and treatment options play into the survival rates of veterans. The researchers analyzed 928 patients in the Veterans Affairs Central Cancer Registry between 1995 and 2009. The median age of these patients was 71 years old, with 87.6 percent of them being Caucasian, 8.72 percent being black, and 3.66 percent being other races.

MPM is a cancer that usually starts in the chest with tumor cells growing on the thin membrane known as the mesothelium that covers internal organs. Cancer-causing asbestos is inhaled and tumors develop on the pleural membranes lining the outer lungs or inner chest. Then, MPM can spread, or metastasize, to organs elsewhere in the body. Fire-resistant asbestos was a common component in naval vessels, piping, and adhesives from the 1930s through the 1970s. Many Navy and Coast Guard shipyard workers and machinery repairmen were exposed to the fibrous material.

Up to 50 years can pass from when a veteran was first exposed to asbestos to when he or she develops MPM. The disease is treatable, but not curable. The study found that non-metastatic MPM patients who underwent surgery, with or without chemotherapy or radiation treatment, tended to live 11.7 months. However, those who underwent no surgery only tended to live 7.5 months. The researches concluded, “Younger age, histology, stage of disease and receipt of surgical therapy are associated with improved outcomes whereas race, grade, asbestos or tobacco exposure did not impact the survival.”

While medical treatments for MPM are costly, veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service could sue the asbestos manufacturers under legal theories such as negligence, warranty, and strict liability.  They can also apply for special benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans diagnosed with any type of mesothelioma should contact a military law attorney.

Greg T. Rinckey, a former military and federal attorney, is managing partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. He concentrates his practice on military law, federal employment and discrimination litigation and national security clearance mitigation. He can be reached at


Attorney Locator

Find an attorney near you.
Click below.

Contact Us

  • Tully Rinckey announces new hires and promotion

    Derrick T. Hogan was promoted to senior associate, overseeing the criminal defense practice in Albany. Hogan joined as a law clerk in 2009. Morgan Smith joined as recruitment manager. Smith has more than 14 years of staffing and recruitment experience and previously …

  • Albany Police Officer Arrested

    Officer Caught on Camera Slamming 15-Year old Girl Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox says on July 26th, Officer Ervis Miftari was called to St. Anne Institute, a rehabilitation center for troubled girls, to help with one of the residents, who …

Read All

  • Free Download: EEOC 2016 Update White Paper

    You Could Be Sharing Confidential Info and Not Even Know It Tully Rinckey’s white paper details the Equal Employment Opportunity’s (“EEOC”) nationwide change to procedure that has gone largely unnoticed. The new procedure applies to Charges filed on or after …

Read All

Read All

  • Tully Rinckey PLLC Binghamton Office Ribbon Cutting

    You’re Invited: Tully Rinckey PLLC Binghamton Office Ribbon Cutting Tully Rinckey PLLC, an upstate-wide coast-to-coast 70 attorney full-service law firm, is holding a ribbon cutting for its new office space at 4100 Vestal Road, Suite 104, Vestal, NY 13850 on …

Read All