Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
An increased risk of Pancreatic Cancer has been identified by professionals who’ve studied the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and veteran medical records as a particularly common diagnosis.
About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer originates in the tissues of the pancreas, a small organ behind the stomach that produces enzymes that help with digestion and hormones that aid blood sugar management.
Cancer starts when cells in the pancreas experience abnormal changes and form tumors.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, as symptoms often go undetected until the disease has advanced to an incurable stage.
Pancreatic tumors in the early stage also don’t usually appear on imaging tests, making pancreatic cancer even more difficult to detect.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2023:
- Over 64,000 people will be diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer
- Over 50,000 people will die of Pancreatic Cancer
Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Common signs of pancreatic cancer include the following:
- Abdominal pain that extends to your back
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dark urine or pale stools
- Itchy skin
- Blood clots
- Bloating or gas
- The onset of diabetes or the worsening of existing diabetes
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to consult with a medical professional so they can rule out or diagnose pancreatic cancer.
Complications of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer can cause several complications, including:
- Infections because of a weakened immune system
- Malnutrition and weight loss because of difficulty in digestion and absorption of food
- Bowel obstruction from cancer blocking the small intestine
- Extreme pain or discomfort that may require medication
Additionally, pancreatic cancer can metastasize or spread quickly to nearby blood vessels, lymph nodes, and other organs, such as the liver and lungs.
At the time of initial diagnosis, pancreatic cancer is often advanced and has spread to other areas of the body, making it difficult to treat.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Overview
For approximately 35 years, Marine Corps veterans, active duty military personnel, civilian contractors and employees, private citizens, and their family members were exposed to toxic substances in the water at Camp Lejeune.
Camp Lejeune residents unknowingly used contaminated water for drinking, showering, cooking, cleaning, and other household purposes.
After years of exposure to toxic water contamination, many people living on or visiting the base developed various health problems, ranging from infections to cancer.
Unfortunately, pregnant women exposed to contaminated water gave birth to children with congenital disabilities or genetic disorders.
The primary sources of water at Camp Lejeune were water treatment plants on the Marine Corps base camp.
In 1982, the U.S. Marine Corps found certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxic substances in two water supplies, including the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant and the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant.
It was also discovered that one source of water contamination was ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry cleaning facility whose unethical waste disposal practices near the base camp contributed greatly to TCE and PCE contamination in the water supply.
A Brief History of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
For over 30 years, Camp Lejeune veterans and their families suffered from the toxic water without legal recourse.
The Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946 (FTCA) helped Camp Lejeune victims receive financial compensation for suffering a personal injury, property damage or loss, or death because of a federal employee’s negligence or act of omission.
Still, this act did not let them file Camp Lejeune lawsuits against the federal government.
Previous Attempts to Legislate Change for Camp Lejeune Victims
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program (CLFMP) for every family member of Camp Lejeune veterans who lived and were exposed to the contaminated drinking water at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
This is in line with the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, which was signed into law on August 6, 2012.
The Camp Lejeune Families Act compels the VA to provide health care benefits to Camp Lejeune veterans who served on active duty.
The VA must also reimburse eligible family members for the health care expenses incurred because of one or more of the 15 particular illnesses or medical conditions enumerated in the law, including:
- Female infertility
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
While veterans and their family members can receive health care benefits through the CLFMP, they still cannot file Camp Lejeune lawsuits against the federal government to seek financial compensation for the harm caused.
Enactment of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and its Implications
On August 10, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act or the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.
More commonly known as the PACT Act, this law establishes specific changes in the Department of Veterans Affairs laws to make it easier for veterans and their families to receive the help they need.
The PACT Act expands VA health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances and extends VA benefits to veterans of the Vietnam War, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras.
The PACT Act also includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a law that allows victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination to file administrative claims and receive compensation for damages incurred.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act also allows victims to file a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit if their claim is not adjudicated within six months.
Amending the previous version of the FTCA, Section 804 of the PACT Act or the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) finally allows Camp Lejeune veterans, their family members, and other victims to go after the federal government for economic and non-economic damages related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Toxic Chemicals Found in Camp Lejeune's Water Supply
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), over a million Camp Lejeune military and civilian residents were exposed to toxic chemicals in the drinking water.
Upon investigation, the ATSDR found several dangerous chemicals in two main water supplies. The two primary contaminants are the following.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a colorless liquid chemical created through chemical synthesis, primarily used to make refrigerants, degreasing solvents, household products, spot removers, and other commercial products.
It was the main contaminant of the Hadnot Point treatment plant, which supplied water to the main barracks and the family housing at Hospital Point, Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a maximum 5 ppb (parts per billion) limit for TCE in drinking water.
However, the TCE levels detected in Hadnot Point reached 1,400 ppb in May 1982.
Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is a colorless chemical often used in dry cleaning and industrial degreasing processes that can cause various irritations, respiratory damage, and liver damage.
It was the primary contaminant of the Tarawa Terrace treatment plant, which supplied water to the Tarawa Terrace family housing and Knox trailer park.
The maximum concentration level of PCE in February 1985 was 215 ppb, far from the EPA’s maximum PCE limit of 5 ppb.
Other Toxic Substances
Aside from TCE and PCE, the ATSDR found several other toxic chemicals in the Camp Lejeune drinking water.
These toxic chemicals include:
- Trans-1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
These toxic substances are known to be carcinogenic and can cause serious health complications, including damage to the reproductive system, neurological deficits, and cancer.
What Diseases Are Connected to the Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune?
Aside from the 15 illnesses the Camp Lejeune Families Act mentioned above, the ATSDR listed 16 diseases that can be caused by TCE, PCE, and other toxic chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s water supply.
These health conditions include:
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Multiple Myeloma
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney diseases
- Esophageal cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Brain cancer
- Cardiac defects
Camp Lejeune victims living with any of these illnesses may be eligible for compensation from the VA or may file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit if their initial administrative claim is not adjudicated within six months.
Do You Qualify to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Camp Lejeune veterans, civilians, and their family members who lived or worked at the Marine Corps base for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune claim.
If you have developed pancreatic cancer or any other illnesses linked to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination, talk to an experienced Camp Lejeune Lawyer to understand your legal rights and options.
Camp Lejeune attorneys can verify Camp Lejeune claims and stand beside you through legal procedures.
Your Camp Lejeune Attorneys will help guide you through the process of filing a Camp Lejeune claim form.
This process may require you to gather evidence and assess damages, which an experienced law firm can help you complete.
Gathering Evidence for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Quality evidence is the cornerstone of any successful personal injury or mass tort case.
Evidence relating to water contamination can include a number of documents relating to your or a loved one’s time spent at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Evidence in a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit may include:
- Documents proving residence at Camp Lejeune
- Military service records indicating dates and locations served
- Medical records and diagnoses
- Medical bills
- Travel records
- Health care information
- Records on disability benefits or VA compensation benefits
Hiring A Lawyer And Assessing Damages
When you have gathered pieces of key evidence, a lawyer will help you to refine your case and assess damages.
Damages are any losses, both physical and mental/emotional, that a person incurs as a result of an injury at no fault of their own.
Damages are the total amount the defendant is liable to pay to the plaintiff to compensate for the damage that they have caused.
Damages in a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit may include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Disability benefits
- Loss of companionship, consortium, enjoyment of life, and earning capacity
- Permanent disability
Camp Lejeune Lawyers will also establish liability in the case.
In a Camp Lejeune contamination case, the liable parties or defendants may include, but are not limited to:
- The federal government
- Other governmental or regulatory agencies
- Businesses that may have contributed to tainted water supplies
- Any other person or group that acted in a negligent manner that contributed to an injury or diagnosis
TorHoerman Law: Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer
If you’re looking for a top law firm staffed with expert Camp Lejeune Lawyers, TorHoerman Law is the place to go.
Our experienced Camp Lejeune attorneys can provide you with a free case evaluation and answer your questions to get the justice and compensation you deserve.
At TorHoerman Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice for the Camp Lejeune injuries and losses they have suffered.
With extensive experience in Camp Lejeune claims, we can help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
If you or a loved one lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between 1953 and 1987, you may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit.
Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.
You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit instantly.