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Myelodysplastic syndromes, affecting Camp Lejeune veterans and family members

As cancers in which blood cells in the bone marrow fail to mature or become healthy blood cells, myelodysplastic syndromes develop in approximately 20,000 people every year nationwide.

While the most common cause of these malignant diseases is exposure to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, benzene exposure was also found to be a major risk factor.

During the last century, over 800,000 gallons of benzene leaked from Camp Lejeune's fuel farm, which resulted in tremendous contamination. According to medical studies, daily exposure to 10 ppm of benzene can lead to the development of myelodysplastic syndromes.

Myelodysplastic syndromes often develop before leukemia, which is why it is crucial for patients to have their health constantly monitored by medical professionals. The earlier leukemia is found, the better the prognosis will be, especially since it is a very aggressive cancer. Exposure to benzene, typically used to clean aircraft and ground support equipment metallic parts at military bases, has been known for over a century to damage the bone marrow, which results in a lower-than-normal number of circulating blood cells and, eventually, myelodysplastic syndromes. It is worth noting that 1 in 3 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes will develop acute myelogenous leukemia.

In a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the scientists found that low-level exposure to benzene was associated with a higher risk of myelodysplastic syndromes but not acute myeloid leukemia, which suggests that myelodysplastic syndromes might be a more relevant health threat to benzene exposure victims. If you are a Camp Lejeune veteran or a family member of one and worry you might have developed myelodysplastic syndromes, these are the symptoms you should look out for and for which you should seek medical attention immediately:

  • easy or unusual bruising or bleeding
  • pinpoint-sized red spots beneath the skin
  • shortness of breath and fatigue
  • frequent infections and fever
  • unusual paleness
  • frequent nosebleeds

Frequent benzene exposure is one of the most common risk factors for myelodysplastic syndromes. Benzene-containing products such as fuels, paints, and degreasers have been known to cause cell mutations that can ultimately result in myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia. Lastly, according to another study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, increasing cumulative benzene exposure was associated with a higher myelodysplastic syndrome risk. For the first exposure before age 30 years, the exposure response was stronger. The strongest effects were apparent for myelodysplastic syndromes arising within 10 years of benzene exposure.

Are you a Camp Lejeune Marine or a family member of one struggling with myelodysplastic syndromes? If so, we encourage you to get in touch with our team of professionals, who will gladly help you determine whether you are eligible to file a claim and recover financial compensation for your suffering. Because we understand how difficult having cancer can be, we will strive to make the process as simple as possible so that you can keep focusing on your health and treatment.

File your Camp Lejeune myelodysplastic syndromes claim with our expert assistance

With over 35 years of experience in evaluating toxic exposure claims, our expert team is ready to provide you with the assistance you need if you lived at Camp Lejeune and have myelodysplastic syndromes. The only documents necessary to assess your case are your military records or evidence of your stay at the military base and your medical records. If you are entitled to compensation, we will direct you to a specialized attorney.