The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, often simply called the VA, strives to provide quality care and treatment to brave veterans facing health-related conditions. The VA offers care at 172 medical centers and serves more than 9 million enrolled veterans each year.
Unfortunately, veterans account for approximately 30 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the chest or abdomen and is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was widely used throughout World War II, especially by the Navy, putting thousands of military personnel at risk. It has also been linked to a less severe lung condition called asbestosis. For veterans facing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, the VA can be a very helpful resource.
Because mesothelioma is so rare, it’s important to seek treatment from an experienced specialist. Fortunately, veterans have access to some of the country’s leading mesothelioma doctors through the VA health care network.
VA Treatment Centers for Mesothelioma
Although there are VA health care systems across the country, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, not all facilities specialize in treating this type of cancer. The VA hospitals below specialize in treating mesothelioma, but they are by no means the only VA facilities that offer care to mesothelioma patients.
VA Boston Healthcare System
The VA Boston Healthcare System is home to Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal. Dr. Lebenthal is one of the leading mesothelioma surgeons in the United States. He is the director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery at VA Boston Healthcare System-West Roxbury Campus and is an instructor in surgery at Harvard Medical School. Patients facing a mesothelioma diagnosis can receive treatment from Dr. Lebenthal and his team through the VA network.
West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
For patients living near the West Coast, The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, part of VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, is home to Dr. Robert Cameron. Dr. Cameron is another renowned mesothelioma surgeon lending his specialized skill set to veterans through the VA network. He serves as the facility’s chief of thoracic surgery, as well as director of the mesothelioma program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Miami VA Healthcare System
Miami VA Healthcare System offers treatment to veterans facing asbestos-related conditions. Both Dr. Donald Williams and Dr. Dao Nguyen offer thoracic surgery and treatment options to veterans with mesothelioma.
Veterans Choice Program
In certain cases, the VA’s Veterans Choice Program can provide veterans with financial assistance to receive care from a community provider. If the VA is not able to provide the necessary care, this program helps veterans receive the care they need. Veterans must receive authorization from the VA to participate in this program.
If you have an asbestos-related condition and aren’t able to get the care you need through your local VA hospital, the Veterans Choice Program may be an option. Visit the VA website to learn more.
Additional VA Resources
The VA provides numerous resources to support veterans. There are programs to assist with travel, hospice care, and even funeral costs. The VA also has resources for veteran families and caregivers. Visit the VA website for more information.