Thyroid cancer caused by toxic exposure on military bases

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on September 09th, 2022

Thyroid cancer has multiple risk factors, including being female, radiation exposure, and having certain genetic syndromes. However, exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on heavily contaminated military bases was also found to increase the likelihood of developing this awful disease.

Cancer that develops in the thyroid gland, the endocrine gland in the neck, occurs in 33,000 women and 12,000 men annually in the U.S. The prognosis of this disease is relatively favorable, with 63% of the patients whose cancer has spread surviving for five years or longer. When thyroid cancer is found in the early stage, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100%. The earlier one receives the diagnosis, the better the outcome will be. Some of the most common symptoms of this disease are a lump beneath the skin of the neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, pain in the throat, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. These are the most frequently encountered thyroid cancer types:

  • papillary thyroid cancer: it is one of the most common types of thyroid cancer, developing slowly, and is generally found in one lobe of the gland
  • follicular thyroid cancer: along with papillary thyroid cancer, it accounts for up to 95% of all thyroid cancer cases and, unlike the former, it rarely spreads to the lymph nodes
  • Hurthle cell cancer: this is a rarer cancer affecting the thyroid gland and is more likely to metastasize to the lymph nodes

A study from the medical journal Clinical Thyroidology for the Public followed 70 individuals with papillary thyroid cancer and compared the group with 70 people without thyroid cancer. Researchers measured the polybrominated diphenyl ethers level both in the household dust and in the blood of the participants. These chemicals are flame retardants that were found to have a link to thyroid cancer. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers may have been present at Camp Lejeune, where more than one million people lived between 1953 and 1987. If you spent time at this military base and now struggle with thyroid cancer, please contact our law firm. Our skilled attorneys will help you file a Camp Lejeune toxic water claim or lawsuit to obtain the compensation you deserve.

The connection between thyroid cancer and toxic exposure

Two endocrine-disruptive chemicals were detected at military bases nationwide - polychlorinated biphenyls and perfluoroalkyl substances. The former are known as PCBs, while the latter are dubbed PFAS or "forever chemicals", as they require a very long time to break down in the environment. A study from the peer-reviewed medical journal Toxics found that PCBs may disrupt and alter thyroid homeostasis. Homeostasis is a self-regulating process by which the body maintains stability while adjusting to changing external conditions.

As for PFAS, a series of studies indicates that these dangerous chemicals may exert carcinogenic effects in multiple ways, such as through oxidative damage, immunosuppression, and cellular pathway disruption. Furthermore, PFAS can activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, which are a known component in the development of thyroid cancer. The PFAS that have a similar structure to thyroid hormones are mistaken for iodine and selenium and, as a consequence, accumulate in the thyroid gland, also being able to cause cancer.

File your toxic exposure claim with the assistance of our experienced attorneys

Since 1990, our law firm has been assisting toxic exposure victims in filing claims and recovering the compensation they were entitled to for the awful health problems they came to struggle with. If you were stationed at a contaminated military base during the last century and have a thyroid cancer diagnosis, we highly advise you to get in touch with our legal team. We will make the process as easy to navigate as possible for you, as we know how difficult it can be to suffer from such a serious disease. Therefore, if you want to file as a veteran, we will only need your military records, which you must retrieve, and your medical records.

As the family member of a veteran who lived at a military base and intends to file a claim, you will have to send our skilled attorneys proof of your stay at the installation and your medical records clearly stating your diagnosis. These documents will serve as a starting point for our legal team in evaluating your case and determining whether you qualify for compensation. If you do, we will begin working on your toxic exposure claim, and eventually, you will benefit from the maximum compensation available for your thyroid cancer diagnosis. Lastly, you should know that we operate on a contingency fee basis, so you will not have to pay anything unless we obtain money for you.