Cancers Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Over one million veterans, family members or contractors who worked or lived at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to contaminated drinking water containing toxic chemicals and solvents.
It is known that many of these substances in the Camp Lejeune water are linked to cancer and other diseases. As a result, financial compensation may be available through a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit for individuals diagnosed with:
- Brain Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Central Nervous System Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Colon Cancer/Colorectal Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Prostate Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. can help determine if you or a loved one may be eligible for a cancer settlement from Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations for individuals throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with cancer after exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
All Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits are pursued by our lawyers under a contingency fee agreement, which means that there are never any out-of-pocket costs to hire our law firm and we only receive an attorney fee or expenses if a settlement or recovery is obtained for you and your family.
Contact our Camp Lejeune cancer lawyers for a free case evaluation by phone at 1-800-522-0102 or request a free case review online.
What are the Cancer Symptoms of Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water?
While research and studies into the Camp Lejeune cancer risks are still on-going, there is strong evidence that one or more causal relationships exist between exposure to the chemicals in Camp Lejeune water and multiple forms of cancer.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has already issued data highlighting the link between the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and cancers listed below. However, the agency is still conducting a Cancer Incidence Study, which is expected to be concluded by 2023, and it is widely expected that additional forms of cancer will be linked to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
For more than 30 years, military members, their families and employees stationed at Camp Lejeune were put at increased risk of developing liver cancer from exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE), Tetrachloroethylene (PCE or PERC) and Vinyl Chloride (VC) and other toxic chemicals in Camp Lejeune water.
The liver is a vital organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, beneath the rib cage. It aids in digestion, stores nutrients, and filters toxins from the blood. Liver cancer begins when healthy cells in the liver develop changes (mutations) in their DNA, which the toxins in water at Camp Lejeune have been confirmed to cause.
Liver cancer can be either primary or secondary. Primary liver cancer starts in the liver, while secondary liver cancer starts in another part of the body and spreads to the liver. The most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which accounts for about 80 percent of all cases.
Symptoms of liver cancer may include weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), pain in the upper abdomen on the right side, and swelling in the abdomen. Although the survival rate for liver cancer is rising due to early detection methods, still, only about 20% of people with liver cancer live 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Camp Lejeune water may cause kidney cancer from the exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE), Tetrachloroethylene (PCE or PERC) and other toxins.
Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a type of cancer that starts in the kidney. The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that are located in the middle of the back. They filter waste products from the blood and produce urine.
Symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, weight loss, fatigue, and pain in the side or lower back. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove one or both of the affected kidneys. In some cases, radiation or chemotherapy may also be used.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for kidney cancer is 63 percent. This means that 63 percent of people diagnosed with the disease are still alive five years after their diagnosis. The 10-year survival rate is 53 percent.
Individuals were put at increased risks of developing Multiple Myeloma from TCE and PCE in Camp Lejeune drinking water supply, which ranged between 43x and 280x the allowable maximum contaminant levels.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that helps you fight infection. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells build up in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. This can lead to symptoms like fatigue, bone pain, frequent infections, and increased thirst and urination.
Multiple myeloma is considered a cancer of the blood, but it can also affect other parts of the body such as the bones, kidneys, and nervous system. While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant can help extend life expectancy and improve quality of life.
According to the American Cancer Society, the average five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 40 percent. However, there are a number of factors that can influence a person’s individual prognosis, such as the stage of the disease at diagnosis, age, and response to treatment.
Similar to the exposure risk of Multiple Myeloma, Camp Lejeune residents may have developed Hodgin’s Lymphoma from excessive amounts of TCE and PCE in the military bases drinking and bathing water.
Hodgkin lymphoma, also called Hodgkin’s disease, is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of nodes and vessels that helps to rid the body of toxins, wastes, and other unwanted material. Hodgin’s lymphoma most often develops in the lymph nodes, but it can also affect other parts of the lymphatic system, such as the spleen or bone marrow.
Symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma can include fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, and enlarged lymph nodes. Treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both.
According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for Hodgkin lymphoma is now about 87 percent. This is a significant improvement from the 75 percent five-year survival rate that was reported back in the 1970s. While there is still no cure for Hodgkin lymphoma, advances in treatment have helped to improve the outlook for many people with this disease.
Non- Hodgin’s Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. There are many different types of NHL. The most common types caused by Camp Lejeune water are diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. NHL can occur at any age, but is most common in people over the age of 60.
Symptoms of NHL can include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue. NHL is usually treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
The chemicals found in Camp Lejeune water have been found to cause disruptions of the immune system and disrupt normal cell function, which has led to a risk of the military personnel developing Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Bladder cancer has one of the strongest links to the contaminants found in Camp Lejeune water, specifically two man-made chemicals known as TCE and PCE, which are carcinogens used in degreasers.
Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that affects the urinary bladder. The bladder is a muscular sac that stores urine produced by the kidneys. When cancerous cells form in the tissues of the bladder, they can grow and spread, causing problems with urination and eventually lead to more serious health complications. Bladder cancer is more common in men than women, and risk factors include smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, and a history of urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of bladder cancer may include blood in the urine, pain during urination, and frequent urination. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Bladder cancer is treatable if caught early, so don’t delay in seeking medical help if you think you may have this condition.
Breast cancer has a strong link to contaminants identified in both the Camp Lejeune Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant. In fact, the ATSDR specifically studied the link between Camp Lejeune water and breast cancer, finding an elevated risk to veterans, their family members and others stationed on the military base.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. The cancer can happen to both men and women, but it is much more common in women. There are several different types of breast cancer, and the symptoms can vary depending on the type.
If you have breast cancer, treatment will depend on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, and your overall health. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump or mass in the breast, which can feel hard, irregular, and painless. Other symptoms may include changes in the size or shape of the breast, nipple discharge, and skin changes such as redness or dimpling. In some cases, breast cancer may cause no symptoms at all. If you notice any changes in your breasts, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Studies have linked chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE), which was found in Camp Lejeune water, to an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. Specifically, a study published in the Annals of Occupational Hygiene found a regular exposure to TCE was linked to an increased rate of women who had developed cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. The vast majority of cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. HPV is very common, and most people who are infected with it do not develop cancer. However, some types of HPV can lead to changes in the cells of the cervix that can eventually lead to cancer.
Lung cancer can be caused by many different environmental factors. However, service men and women and their families at Camp Lejeune were routinely exposed to the known carcinogen Benzene, which may cause an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lungs. The lungs are a pair of organs in the chest that are responsible for breathing. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control. Lung cancer can be caused by smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, and exposure to certain chemicals.
Symptoms of lung cancer include coughing, shortness of breath, and pain in the chest. Treatment for lung cancer may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Studies have provided a strong link between chemicals found in Camp Lejeune water and esophageal cancer, specifically perchloroethylene (PCE).
Esophageal cancer is a condition in which cancerous cells form in the esophagus, the long, thin tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer can be either squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma.
One of the more common symptoms of esophageal cancer is trouble swallowing, also known as dysphagia. This occurs when the cancerous tumor causes the esophagus to narrow, making it difficult for food and liquids to pass through. Other symptoms may include weight loss, chest pain, and hoarseness. In some cases, a person with esophageal cancer may also experience vomiting or coughing up blood. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away for a diagnosis.
Individuals exposed to Camp Lejeune water may also be at an increased risk of developing Adult Leukemia due to the high volume of volatile organic compounds found in the military installations water systems. Past studies have provided a strong link between VOC disruption of cell growth and the development of Leukemia.
Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Adult leukemia typically develops in people over the age of 55, although it can occur at any age. There are several types of adult leukemia, which are grouped based on the affected cell type. The most common type of adult leukemia is acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Other types include acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Symptoms of adult leukemia may include fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath, and bone pain. Treatment options vary depending on the type and stage of the disease, but may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplantation.
Cancerous Chemicals Found In Camp Lejeune Water
Concerns about the cancer risks from water at Camp Lejeune first surfaced in 1982, after the military hired Grainger Laboratories to begin testing the water for chemicals in response to new safety standards enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The investigation found water at Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant and the Hadnot Point water system was contaminated with volatile organic compounds and over 70 other solvents and chemicals known to be toxic and linked to cancer.
As a result of the findings, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) began conducting extensive studies in adults and children to understand the extent of the health implications caused by the toxins. These studies have included several mortality studies of Camp Lejeune Marine, Naval and civilian employees as well as a Camp Lejeune Cancer Incidence Study.
While dozens of toxic chemicals have been found in Camp Lejeune water, which can cause a wide range of side effects, four specific cancerous chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune appear to be most likely to be responsible for the long-term cancer risk among individuals who previously lived or worked on the base.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) In Camp Lejeune Water
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile, colorless liquid organic chemical used as an industrial degreaser for heavy machinery and as a refrigerant.
ATSDR’s report found Trichloroethylene (TCE) was the primary toxic chemical found at Camp Lejeune’s Hadnot Point Treatment Plant at concentrations that were 280x higher than the acceptable EPA limits. The limit for drinking water is 5 ppb and the amount found was 1,400 ppb.
The National Cancer Institute has classified TCE as a Group 2A probable human carcinogen. Research has shown that TCE damages DNA, which can lead to cancerous cell growth. TCE has also been shown to interfere with the body’s ability to repair damaged DNA. This means that cells exposed to TCE are more likely to develop into cancerous tumors.
Studies have found prolonged exposure or repeated exposure of trichloroethylene causes an increased risk of;
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Lung Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
Tetrachloroethylene (PCE or PERC) In Camp Lejeune Water
Tetrachloroethylene, also called perchloroethylene, is an industrial chemical used for dry cleaning and as a brake cleaner for vehicles.
ATSDR’s report found PCE levels in Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace Treatment plant were 43x higher than the current EPA limit. The current maximum contaminant level for drinking water is 5 ppb. However, tetrachloroethylene in Camp Lejeune water was found to be 215 ppb.
While the exact mechanism by which PCE causes cancer is not fully understood, studies have shown that PCE can damage DNA and disrupt the normal function of enzymes involved in cell growth and repair. These changes can lead to the uncontrolled cell division that is characteristic of cancer. In addition, animal studies have suggested that PCE may boost the activity of certain genes that promote tumor growth.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes PCE as a confirmed human carcinogen, and has been linked to several types of cancer including;
- Bladder Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Vinyl Chloride (VC) In Camp Lejeune Water
Vinyl Chloride is a colorless gas used in the manufacturing of plastics including PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
ATSDR’s report found levels of vinyl chloride in the Camp Lejeune Hadnot Point Treatment Plant averaged 22 ppb, while these levels averaged 6 ppb at the Tarawa Terrace system. The current maximum contaminant levels (MCL’s) for vinyl chloride are 2 ppb due to its carcinogenic properties.
There are several ways VC in Camp Lejeune water can cause cancer, but the most well-known is through its ability to damage DNA. One of the ways that VC damages DNA is by causing oxidative stress. This occurs when there’s an imbalance between the production of harmful reactive oxygen species and the body’s ability to repair the damage. This oxidative stress can damage DNA, leading to mutations that can cause cancer.
Another way that VC can cause cancer after exposure to Camp Lejeune water is by disrupting the cell cycle. The cell cycle is the process that our cells go through as they grow and divide. When this process is disrupted, it can lead to DNA damage and the development of cancer.
Finally, VC can also act as an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it can interfere with the normal function of hormones in the body. This disruption can also lead to DNA damage and the development of cancer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies vinyl chloride as a likely human carcinogen and has been linked to multiple cancers including;
- Liver Cancer
- Brian Cancer
- Lung Cancer
Benzene In Camp Lejeune Water
Benzene is a highly flammable compound that is the main component of petroleum fuels including gasoline and diesel, and is commonly used to make lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents and pesticides.
While ATSDR’s report confirmed mildly elevated levels of Benzene in Camp Lejeune drinking water at 6ppb, the EPA classifies the chemical as a human carcinogen,and advises it should never be ingested due to its harmful effects on the bone marrow and ability to cause a decrease in red blood cells.
Benzene causes cancer by damaging the DNA inside of cells. DNA is the chemical that carries the genetic instructions for making proteins which are essential for the normal functioning of cells. This damage can lead to the formation of tumors or other abnormalities that over time, with repeated exposure, can lead to the development of cancerous cells.
Studies on cancers from Benzene have linked consistent exposure by way of air pollution or ingestion to multiple forms of blood-forming organ cancer including;
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Multiple Myeloma
Studies Linking Water at Camp Lejeune to Cancer
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is a federal public health agency for the Department of Health and Human Services, has performed several studies linking Camp Lejeune water contamination to cancer and other health problems.
2024 CDC Camp Lejeune Cancer Incidence Study
The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released the findings of its Camp Lejeune Cancer Incidence Study on January 27, 2024, revealing increased cancer risks among military personnel and civilian workers exposed to contaminated water at the base from 1975 to 1985.
This study compared cancer incidence in 154,821 Marines, Navy personnel, and 6,494 civilian workers at Camp Lejeune with 163,484 Marines, Navy personnel, and 5,797 civilian workers at Camp Pendleton, which served as a control group without known water contamination. Researchers drew on data from 54 U.S. cancer registries, covering cancer diagnoses from 1996 to 2017, and used survival analysis techniques to estimate hazard ratios for cancer incidence.
The study’s findings indicate a significantly higher risk for several types of cancer for those who were at Camp Lejeune compared to their counterparts at Camp Pendleton. Specifically, researchers found those stationed at Camp Lejeune faced a;
- Breast Cancer – 32% higher risk
- Esophagus Cancer – 27% higher risk
- Larynx Cancer – 21% higher risk
- Leukemia & Lymphoma – 38% higher risk
- Lung Cancer – 63% higher risk
- Myeloid Cancers – 40% higher risk
- Soft Tissue Cancers – 21% higher risk
- Thyroid Cancer – 22% higher risk
The Bove Study: Mortality Study of Marine and Naval Personnel
In 2014, the agency released its first study comparing mortality rates and cancer at Camp Lejeune among Marine and Naval personnel to those stationed at San Diego County Camp Pendleton marine corps base, where no excessive contaminants were found in the public water system.
When compared to personnel at Camp Pendleton, researchers found those stationed at Camp Lejeune faced cancer risks had elevated death rates from several causes, including;
- Liver cancer: 42%
- Kidney cancer: 35%
- Esophageal Cancer: 43%
- Cervical Cancer: 33%
- Multiple myeloma: 68%
- Hodgin’s lymphoma: 47%
Camp Lejeune Breast Cancer Study
The ATSDR performed a Camp Lejeune breast cancer study that was published in the medical journal, Environmental Health in 2015, which evaluated associations between exposure to drinking water at Camp Lejeune and male breast cancer risks.
The study found an association between those stationed at Camp Lejeune and a risk of developing early age onset of male breast cancer. The authors stated the reasoning for the elevated rate of breast cancer at Camp Lejeune was due to high and consistent exposures to trichloroethylene (TCE), PCE, DCE and vinyl chloride.
Presumptive Conditions and Cancers from Camp Lejeune Water
Prior to the enactment of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in August 2022, which specifically authorized lawsuits over cancer linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination, VA benefits were the only source of coverage available.
For decades, the Department of Veterans Affairs has faced sharp criticism for denying benefits for conditions and diseases from Camp Lejeune water. While many claims presented in the past were rejected, the VA has identified certain presumptive conditions linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water.
Through a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit, financial compensation may be available for a wide range of conditions and diseases for which there is established evidence linking the injury to toxins in the water. However, the VA Camp Lejeune presumptive conditions and cancers provide strong evidence of claims that the U.S. government is likely to accept and settle before trial.
Camp Lejeune Presumptive Cancers for VA Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs has listed the following eight presumptive conditions for veterans, reservists and National Guard who served at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, for a minimum of 30 days.
VA Presumptive Cancers
- Adult leukemia
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Other VA Presumptive Conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
For purposes of obtaining VA benefits, Camp Lejeune presumptive conditions mean that the individual only needs to establish that they were stationed at Camp Lejeune between the designated time-frame for 30 days to automatically receive VA disability. However, much more substantial Camp Lejeune cancer settlement benefits may be available through a lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
Camp Lejeune Cancers for Healthcare Benefits for Veterans and Family
The Janey Ensminger Act (H.R.1627), was passed in 2012 to extend medical treatment benefits to veterans and family members for conditions and cancers from Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Health care benefits and out-of-pocket reimbursements were provided for veterans and family members at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1953 through December 1987, diagnosed with any of the following qualified Camp Lejeune cancers and conditions;
Qualifying Camp Lejeune Cancers
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Other Qualifying Diseases and Conditions from Camp Lejeune Water
- Renal toxicity
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
Camp Lejeune Cancer Settlement Benefits Available
Through a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, substantial settlement benefits may be available for any cancer or conditions caused by exposure to toxins in the water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
This provides more than VA benefits or disability coverage, allowing veterans, surviving family members and others to obtain Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit payouts for:
- Past and future medical treatment for cancer caused by Camp Lejeune water;
- Reimbursement for lost wages or loss of earnings capacity;
- Pain and suffering experienced in the past, and which is likely to be experienced in the future;
- Loss of companionship, love and support for Camp Lejeune cancer deaths;
- Other disability benefits and compensation.
What to do if you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?
The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and claim evaluations to help eligible veterans, civilian employees and their families throughout the United States determine whether they may be entitled to Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit settlements.
There are never any out-of-pocket costs to speak with our personal injury lawyers, and we only receive an attorney fee or expenses if we are successful obtaining a settlement or recovery in your case. To request a free consultation and lawsuit evaluation, call 1-800-522-0102 or request a case review on-line.
Steps in a Camp Lejeune Act Claim Evaluation
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