According to estimates, more than 1,000,000 people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune have been affected by water contamination over the past 30 years. This includes military personnel and civilian workers on the base, and their families (including infants and children).
From the 1950s to 1980s, Camp Lejeune workers and residents suffered from a high number of serious illnesses. By law, the federal government was not responsible for these conditions. Today, many decades later, the toxic effects are still felt by veterans, former Camp Lejeune workers, and residents who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s and other diseases.
After a final vote by the House this summer moved the Camp Lejeune Justice Act along, it was then passed by the U.S. Senate. If Biden now signs this Act into law, the legislation will eliminate unacceptable North Carolina legal loopholes and provide Camp Lejeune water victims and their families with long-overdue recourse to seek justice.
What Are the Health Effects of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Numerous serious health problems have been linked with toxic chemicals that were found in the water at Camp Lejeune. Toxic chemicals can cause multiple types of cancer.
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a cancer of lymphatic systems)
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Multiple myeloma, also known as cancer of the body’s plasma cells, is a form of multiple myeloma.
- Leukemia is a form of blood cancer.
- Brain cancer
- Lung cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Esophageal cancer
What is Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer refers to a form of cancer that results from the growth of cells in the thyroid. The thyroid gland is a large, butterfly-shaped gland that lies at the base and just below the Adam’s Apple. The thyroid produces hormones which regulate heart rate and blood pressure as well as body temperature.
Thyroid cancer can cause no symptoms at first. It can eventually cause symptoms like swelling and voice changes, difficulty swallowing, and even loss of consciousness.
There are several types of thyroid carcinoma. Although most forms grow slowly, some may be extremely aggressive. Thyroid cancer can almost always be treated.
Thyroid cancer rates appear to be on the rise. The rise in thyroid cancer rates could be due to better imaging technology which allows healthcare providers to spot small thyroid cancers on CT or MRI scans performed for other conditions (incidental gland cancers). This is a good way to find small thyroid cancers, which are often well-treated.
The majority of thyroid cancers do not cause symptoms or signs in its early stages. It can cause:
- A lump (nodule), that is felt under your skin.
- The feeling that tight-fitting collars on shirt are becoming too restrictive
- Your voice may change, and you might become hoarse.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Pain in the neck or throat
Thyroid cancer occurs when cells within the thyroid experience changes in their DNA. The instructions in a cell’s genome are what tell it how to behave. Doctors call these mutations. They tell cells to multiply and grow quickly. These cells live on when normal cells would cease to exist. The tumor is formed when the cells accumulate.
The tumor can spread to other tissues and may metastasize to lymph nodes in the neck. Sometimes, the cancer cells spread beyond the neck to other parts of your body such as the bones, lungs and other organs.
Types of thyroid carcinoma
Thyroid cancer can be divided into three types according to the type of tumor cells. When a specimen of your cancer tissue is examined under a microscope, it is possible to determine which type you are. When determining the treatment and prognosis for you, it is important to consider your type of thyroid carcinoma.
Thyroid cancer that comes back
Thyroid cancer can return even after successful treatment. It can also come back if your thyroid has been removed. If cancer cells spread to other parts of the thyroid after it was removed, this could happen.
Thyroid cancers, such as the most common ones — papillary or follicular, are unlikely to recur. Based on the details of your case, your doctor can inform you if your cancer is at greater risk of recurring.
Your chances of recurrence are higher if you have an aggressive form of thyroid cancer or if the tumor grows beyond your thyroid. Thyroid cancer recurrence is most common within the first five year after diagnosis.
The prognosis for thyroid cancer is good even if it comes back. It is often curable and most people will receive successful treatment.
Thyroid cancer may recur in:
- Lymph nodes in your neck
- Small bits of thyroid tissue are left behind from surgery.
- Other areas of the body, like lungs or bones
Your doctor may recommend that you have periodic thyroid scans or blood tests to determine if your cancer has returned. If you have experienced signs or symptoms of thyroid cancer, your provider will ask.
- Neck pain
- A lump in your neck
- Trouble swallowing
- Voice changes, like hoarseness
- Thyroid cancer that spreads (metastasizes).
Sometimes thyroid cancer spreads from the thyroid gland to nearby lymph nodes to other parts. Sometimes, the spread of cancer cells can be detected when you first get diagnosed. Most thyroid cancers never spread.
The most common place where thyroid cancer spreads is lymph nodes in the neck, lungs, bones, brain, liver, skin
If you are first diagnosed with thyroid carcinoma, imaging tests like CT and MRI might detect the spread of the disease. Following successful treatment, your doctor might recommend you go back to your doctor for follow-up to see if your thyroid cancer has progressed. These appointments may include nuclear imaging scans, which use radioactive forms of iodine to detect the presence of thyroid cancer cells.
Free Legal Consultation
Matthews & Associates attorneys are monitoring federal legislation closely to help Camp Lejeune water-contamination victims pursue compensation. Call (888) 923-7001 or email us if you have been living or working at Camp Lejeune and are now suffering from an illness due to toxic exposure.
- Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorneys
- Camp Lejeune Water Facilities were Contaminated
- U.S. Senate passes Camp Lejeune Justice Act
- Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement may be possible
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