Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Administration’

Military veterans at high risk for mesothelioma

21 Jun 2017 by under News

KoreanWar recover Seoul 100x100 Military veterans at high risk for mesothelioma While U.S. military veterans from all wars and service branches account for just 8 percent of the U.S. population, they comprise 30 percent of all known mesothelioma deaths that have occurred in the United States, according to (more…)

LCA Chairman Coady has died

1 Jul 2008 by under News, People

coady 150x150 LCA Chairman Coady has diedI was very sad today to learn that , U.S. Navy (Ret.) passed away yesterday, June 30. Admiral Coady served as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, and was kind enough to share his story with this blog in April. A non-smoker, Coady was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2005. The diagnosis spurred him to advocacy, particularly on behalf of Veterans.

Although Coady didn’t suffer from mesothelioma, he was very much aware of the risks posed by asbestos. His work during his time in the Navy very often put him in contact with the substance, he said, and seven of his friends died from mesothelioma since his retirement. In addition, for 10 years following his retirement, Coady worked as president of the Navy Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit veterans benefit group and life insurance service, where he said he saw what he thought was a disproportionate amount of lung cancer deaths.

When he began investigating lung cancer research efforts, Adm. Coady was shocked at the relatively few dollars spent by the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense, considering the number of veterans affected by the disease. He also was disappointed at the overall lack of funding for lung cancer research in comparison to spending on other cancers, especially since lung cancer is the leading cancer killer.

He dedicated himself as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, fighting the battle for lung cancer and funding under the organization’s motto “No More Excuses. No More Lung Cancer.” He led efforts in lobbying Congress to make lung cancer a national health priority.

Just last week, Coady saw some of the first fruits of his efforts, when Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate creating and authorizing at least $75 million for lung cancer research. This is the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at reducing lung cancer mortality.

Perhaps the best memoriam Adm. Coady could receive is for supporters of lung cancer awareness and research to contact their U.S. Senators NOW and ask them to add their support to S. 3187, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act. Remember him and take action for those to come after him! You can view his obituary here.

Blessings to Adm. Coady’s family at this time of loss.

Complicated path for veterans with mesothelioma

14 May 2008 by under Legal, News

navy logo Complicated path for veterans with mesotheliomaThe prevalence of asbestos, especially through the mid-1970s, has put millions of Americans at risk for mesothelioma, a painful, usually lethal cancer almost always related to asbestos exposure. Among the hardest hit are U.S. veterans who were exposed occupationally, especially in Navy ships and shipyards.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are currently 25 million living individuals who have served in the United States’ armed forces. It is believed that a great number of them were exposed to toxic asbestos-containing materials during military service.

Every ship and shipyard built by the Navy before the mid-70s was fitted with numerous asbestos-containing materials. These materials were extensively used in engine and boiler rooms and other areas below deck for fire safety purposes, as well as in other areas of the ship. In fact, virtually no portion of a naval ship was asbestos-free between the 1930s and mid-1970s.

Unfortunately, veterans have little recourse when diagnosed with mesothelioma they believe to be the result of asbestos exposure during their time of service. Because asbestos use was so widespread before the first bans in the 1970s, it is very difficult for veterans to prove that asbestos exposure occurred only in military service.

Veterans are not legally allowed to seek compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases from the U.S. government through the court system. Ailing veterans must file a claim against the asbestos manufacturer, and they also have the legal option to seek assistance through The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The VA is a government-run benefit system that is responsible for administering benefit programs to veterans, their families, and survivors. It is an incredibly complex system that comprises the second-largest federal department, after the Department of Defense. A search of the organization’s web site turns up no information about asbestos or mesothelioma. However, there are some organizations, such as Veterans Assistance Network (, that can help veterans wade through the VA benefits system.

Lung cancer is usually an indolent cancer that takes years to develop, thus the burden of treatment is falling most heavily on the VA. Late stage lung cancer is twice as costly to treat as early stage.

In February the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) announced that for the second year in row a coalition of top veteran organizations is calling for a screening program for veterans at high risk of lung cancer, to be included in the Independent Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09). This highly regarded comprehensive alternative budget addresses the most urgent needs of veterans, and urges Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to initiate a $3 million pilot screening program for veterans at high risk.

The AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign wars are the four co-authors of this document. More than 50 organizations support the Independent Budget.

A program carried out by the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program at 40 centers in 26 states and 6 foreign countries during the past 13 years indicates that CT screening can detect lung cancer at Stage 1 in 85 percent of cases, and those treated immediately had a 10-year survival rate of 92 percent. By partnering with these types of programs, the Veterans Administration could quickly implement a pilot screening program for veterans at high risk, with a broad geographic reach and significant cost savings.

Rear Admiral Philip J. Coady, USN, (Ret.), chairman of LCA’s Board of Directors said, “Lung cancer continues to kill more men and women every year than all the other major cancers – breast, prostate, and colon – combined, and our veterans are at even higher risk, especially those whose active duty service exposed them to Agent Orange, asbestos, spent nuclear fuels, propellant gases and other carcinogens.”

Admiral Coady, a 34-year Navy veteran who never smoked, was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago.

“Because there are usually no specific symptoms, most people are diagnosed so late they die within a year,” he pointed out. “Yet advanced CT technology that can diagnose lung cancer at its earliest, most curable stage is available right now, and high-risk veterans not benefiting from this is wrong,” he said.


A daughter remembers Dad

9 May 2008 by under People

I received an email a few days ago from Nancy Wagner, in Jacksonville, . She found our site through the Lung Cancer Alliance message and journal sites, over at She wanted some mesothelioma awareness materials, like our awareness bracelets, to share with people around her, in memory of her father, Bill, who passed away with mesothelioma in 2004. Nancy was kind enough to share her Dad’s story with us:

My Dad, Bill [Hackett], was a master mechanic and boilermaker from the time he was 25 until he retired on disability at age 61. During this time he dismantled and rebuilt or built boilers to run some of the company’s largest factories and businesses. He started out at Maryland Ship Building and Dry Dock and then went on to become an independent contractor.

Over the years he was exposed to asbestos hundreds of times, not knowing back then that it would be what eventually claimed his life.

From the time he was retired due to this disability until his death in 2004, he suffered tremendously with breathing disorders from mesothelioma. He faced several surgeries and had to have fluid removed from his body numerous times. There were days he could hardly breathe at all, but he kept going. How I will never know.

Because he had been self employed, there was no insurance because he could not afford it. And social security did not pay very much on a monthly basis. Being a decorated WW II veteran, he was entitled to some treatment through the Veterans Administration.

My father was a very independent man and refused to give up or give in to anything that stopped him from doing what he wanted and going where he wanted. And he refused to be a burden on any one, especially his daughters. Until the week he died he continued to serve as Chaplain of the American Legion Post and made arrangements for former veterans’ funerals and assisted their families.

But he never told us about the cancer. He went to all of his chemo appointments and never told us anything. It wasn’t until after his death and the Death Certificate was issued did we know this is what took him. He died alone, 2 weeks before Christmas, in the house where we grew up.

My dad was truly a great man. I believe the reason he never told any of us was because we lost our Mom to cancer when she was 34 and he was 36 and he didn’t want us to have to face losing him to cancer, even though it was a different kind.

Almost 2 years after his death, I found out that I have stage IV lung cancer.

Cancer in any form is life threatening. The more people are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, the better off they will be. Annual checkups are vital. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Cancer caught early can be cured. The later the stage, the more intense the treatments and the less chance for remission.

I’d just like to thank Nancy for sharing her Dad’s personal story with us, and for helping to raise awareness and urge for early detection and research. God bless you.