Camp Lejeune Liver Cancer Cases
The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated for decades, exposing veterans, civilian workers, soldiers, and their families to harmful chemicals. The effects of this contamination are still being felt today, as liver cancer cases have been linked to the exposure.
The risk factors for liver cancer are well-known, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set strict limits on the level of chemicals that can be present in drinking water. However, those limits were not followed at Camp Lejeune, and the resulting health problems are now eligible for disability benefits.
Liver cancer is a serious illness, and the contamination at Camp Lejeune has devastatingly affected the lives of those affected. Contact our personal injury attorneys at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, if doctors diagnosed you with a severe medical condition years after you were stationed at Camp Lejeune.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
The History of Contaminated Water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
For years, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with various chemicals, including benzene, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene. This contamination has been linked to an elevated risk of liver cancer.
A recent study found that people exposed to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune were nearly three times more likely to develop liver cancer than those who were not.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Initially ATSDR identified high levels of industrial solvents, including tetrachloroethylene (TCE), and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at four times higher than the safety standards set by the EPA.
The study also found that the risk of liver cancer increased with the length of time spent at Camp Lejeune. As a result, the EPA has classified the Camp Lejeune water contamination as a “likely human carcinogen.”
If you or a loved one developed liver cancer after exposure to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, you might be eligible for VA benefits. Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing liver cancer, and exposure to hazardous materials is one of them.
What is Liver Cancer?
Cancer begins in the liver when the liver cells begin to grow out of control. It is when something goes wrong in the normal cell process and the cells continue making new cells but the old or abnormal ones don’t die when they should. It is the fifth most common type of cancer in men and the ninth most common in women.
The liver is a large organ on the abdomen’s upper right side. It weighs about 3 pounds and is roughly the size of a football. The liver has many functions, including filtering toxins from the blood, producing bile to help digest fat, storing energy reserves, and producing proteins essential for blood clotting and other functions.
Liver cancer starts when liver cells develop changes in their DNA, where the changes allow the cells to grow out of control and to continue living when healthy cells would die.
Cancer cells usually form in the lining of blood vessels or bile ducts within the liver. However, it can also develop in other types of liver cells. Liver cancer usually takes many years to develop, and most people who develop liver cancer do not have any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
The liver has significant reserves and can continue to function even when a large portion of it is unhealthy. Sometimes, liver cancer may not cause symptoms until it is very advanced. By the time symptoms develop, cancer may have already spread (metastasized) beyond the liver.
What Causes Liver Cancer?
Liver cancer can be caused by exposure to certain chemicals, such as TCE and VOCs, or by drinking water that has been contaminated with these substances.
The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is one of the most well-known examples of water contamination in the United States. For many years, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride and other carcinogens.
As a result of this contamination, thousands of Marines, sailors, and their families were exposed to these dangerous substances.
Studies have shown that people exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have an elevated risk of developing liver cancer.
In addition, the National Cancer Institute has found that people who drink the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune laced with vinyl chloride have an elevated risk of developing bladder cancer.
Liver Cancer Symptoms
Liver cancer symptoms will differ from person to person and will also depend on how far cancer has progressed. In its early stages, liver cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms.
As the disease progresses, it may cause a feeling of fullness or pain in the upper right abdomen. Other symptoms include:
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stools
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Unexpected weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Increased fatigue
- Abdominal swelling
- Itchy skin
- Enlarged blood vessels on the surface of the liver (spider angiomas)
- An enlarged liver or spleen
- White, chalky deposits in the nails (lunula)
- Hepatic encephalopathy – a condition that can cause confusion, drowsiness, and coma
Other liver diseases can also cause these symptoms, so you must consult with a doctor if you are experiencing any of them. Liver cancer is usually diagnosed with blood tests, imaging tests, and a biopsy.
If you have liver cancer, treatment options will vary depending on the stage of the disease. A liver transplant may be an option for some people with early-stage liver cancer.
Risk Factors Other Than Contaminated Water
There are several risk factors associated with liver cancer, including:
- Exposure to certain toxins and chemicals – People exposed to certain toxins and chemicals, such as vinyl chloride and arsenic, have an elevated risk of developing liver cancer.
- Chronic infection with hepatitis B or C – People with chronic hepatitis B or C infection are at a heightened risk of developing cancer of the liver.
- Cirrhosis – Cirrhosis is a condition that occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. It is often caused by chronic alcohol abuse or viral infections, such as hepatitis C. Cirrhosis can lead to liver problems, disease, or cancer.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition that occurs when fat builds up in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. NAFLD can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
- Hemochromatosis – Hemochromatosis is a condition that causes the body to absorb too much iron. People with this condition are at an elevated risk of developing liver cancer.
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency – Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is an inherited condition that can lead to liver damage. People with this condition are at an elevated risk of developing liver cancer.
- Type 2 diabetes – People with type 2 diabetes have a heightened risk of developing liver cancer.
- Exposure to aflatoxin – Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by certain types of mold. It is often found in food that has been stored in warm, humid conditions. People exposed to aflatoxin have an elevated risk of developing liver problems, disease, or cancer.
Treating Liver Cancer
Treatment options are available for liver problems, including cancer that involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The type of treatment that is best for a particular person will depend on the cancer stage, the person’s overall health, and other factors.
- Surgery is often the best treatment option for early-stage liver cancer. Surgery aims to remove the cancerous tissue and any surrounding healthy tissue that may contain cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays to kill cancer cells. It is often used to treat cancer that has spread to other body parts.
- Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used to treat cancer that has spread to other body parts.
Preventing Liver Cancer
There are several things that you can do to help prevent liver cancer, including:
- Limit your exposure to toxins and chemicals – You can help reduce your risk of developing liver cancer by limiting your exposure to toxins and chemicals, such as vinyl chloride and arsenic.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis B – Hepatitis B is a liver virus that can cause cancer.
- If you have hepatitis B or C, get treated – If you have hepatitis B or C, it is vital to get treatment. Treatment can help reduce your risk of developing liver cancer.
- Avoid alcohol abuse – Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to cirrhosis, a significant risk factor for liver cancer. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Obesity is a risk factor for liver cancer. You can help reduce your risk of developing liver cancer by maintaining a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet – Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of developing liver cancer.
- Exercise regularly – Exercise can help reduce your risk of developing liver cancer.
If you are at increased risk for liver cancer, you may need to be screened for the disease. Screening tests can help find liver cancer early when it is most likely curable. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened for liver cancer.
Did the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cause My Liver Cancer?
For years, veterans and their families have been wondering if the Camp Lejeune water contamination was to blame for their liver cancer. The body of scientific evidence is growing.
Studies have shown that exposure to certain chemicals can increase the risk of liver disease and that those who served at Camp Lejeune are more likely to develop liver cancer than the general population.
Recently, the federal government and the Veterans Affairs (VA) have acknowledged that the hazardous substances in contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune are associated with various diseases, including:
- Brain cancer
- Cardiac defect
- CNS cancer (central nervous system cancer)
- Esophageal cancer
- Fatty liver (hepatic steatosis)
- Female infertility
- Immune disorders
- Liver failure
- Lung cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
- Multiple myeloma
- Nerve damage
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Ovarian cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer (colon and colorectal cancer)
- Renal toxicity
- Other Cancers
The Research That Supports The Association Between Camp Lejeune Water Contamination And Liver Conditions
Scientific evidence suggests that exposure to certain toxic chemicals can lead to cancers and other health problems. For example, research has shown that exposure to benzene can cause leukemia, and exposure to chloroform can cause liver cancer. This is why the contamination of water supplies at Camp Lejeune is so concerning.
According to the ATSDR, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with benzene, chloroform, and other toxic chemicals for many years. As a result, millions of individuals over the decades have been exposed to these harmful substances.
While the full extent of the health effects is not yet known, there is growing evidence that the contamination at Camp Lejeune may have contributed to cancers and other liver conditions in some of the people exposed.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
Since President Obama first signed the Camp Lejeune Justice act in 2012, The United States Congress has updated the law, merging it into the PACT Act (Honoring Our Pact Act).
The new Federal law benefits Camp Lejeune veterans and their family members exposed to contaminated drinking water while stationed at Camp Lejeune.
Under the law, qualifying individuals may be eligible for free medical care from the VA for certain conditions, including cancers and liver conditions.
VA Disability Compensation for Liver Cancer
Veterans diagnosed with liver cancer may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA. To qualify, veterans must show that their cancer is related to their military service.
The VA will consider scientific evidence when deciding whether or not a veteran’s cancer is service-connected. Veterans approved for disability compensation will receive a monthly payment from the VA.
The payment amount for disability benefits will vary depending on the severity of the disability. Camp Lejeune veterans with liver cancer may also be eligible for other benefits, such as health care and housing assistance.
Presumptive Service Connection for Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuits
The VA has recognized a presumptive service connection for these conditions associated with water contamination. This means that veterans do not need to prove that their cancer was caused by their time at Camp Lejeune.
Instead, they only need to show that they were stationed there during the relevant time for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, including fetuses, in-utero during that time.
The VA provides disability compensation for Camp Lejeune veterans with these conditions and their surviving spouses and dependent children. If you believe that you or a loved one may be entitled to benefits, it is crucial to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Hire a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer to Resolve your Disability Benefits Claim
Were you recently diagnosed with a severe medical condition and believe it is likely caused by exposure to toxic chemicals while stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune?
The personal injury attorneys at Injury Lawyer Team can serve as legal advocates on your behalf to ensure you receive the VA benefits you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss how the Camp Lejeune water contamination injured you.
We accept every personal injury case and wrongful death lawsuit on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial verdict.