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Camp Lejeune Legal Options for Bladder Cancer

Military service members and civilians lived and worked at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina, unaware of the danger that lurked in the highly contaminated waters. As they ingested toxic substances in the base’s water supply, changes to their health began appearing. Over a million people were exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOC) associated with severe health conditions. One of the health conditions that have been connected to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water exposure is bladder cancer. Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits and other legal options are available for those suffering from or for family members of those who died from bladder cancer caused by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water. 

About Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is one of the many diagnosed illnesses in people who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. The bladder is a balloon-shaped, hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen. Its chief function is to store and squeeze urine out of the body. Typically, bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder start to grow out of control. The five-year relative survival rate is 77 percent. A bladder cancer diagnosis accounts for 4.2 percent of all new cancer cases. Of all the cancer deaths this year, two percent were related to bladder cancer. 

doctor touching a bladder icon with other treatment icons in the foreground

Symptoms of bladder cancer vary from person to person. One of the most common symptoms is blood in the urine. Sometimes, the blood present can be slightly rusty to bright red. A person with bladder cancer may experience blood in the urine and then not again during urination. Trace amounts of blood may be present but may be undetectable to the eye unless medical testing is performed. Other symptoms can include frequent urination during the night and feeling the need to urinate, even though the bladder may not be full. Burning or pain during urination and frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate could also be a sign of bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer may spread beyond the bladder and grow quite large. In cases where this has occurred, additional symptoms like feeling tired, being unable to urinate, and pain in the abdomen may be present. Other symptoms can include swelling in the feet, weight loss, loss of appetite, bone pain or tenderness, and lower back pain on one side of the body. Some minor ailments like bladder or kidney stones and urinary tract infections may present similar symptoms. If you have several of these symptoms, consult with your doctor. 

Bladder cancer may originate in the urothelial cells – which line the bladder, urethra, ureters, renal pelvis, and other organs. Typically, most bladder cancer tumors are urothelial carcinomas. These cells can change shape and stretch. While the bladder is full of urine and stretches, these cells also stretch. There are three other types of bladder cancer that are far less common. Small cell carcinoma of the bladder begins in the neuroendocrine system, which releases hormones into the blood. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in glandular cells that line the bladder. These cells make mucus and other substances in the bladder and can grow out of control. After a schistosomiasis infection, which can irritate the bladder or cause chronic irritation of the bladder, cells can change and grow into squamous cells, which may develop into squamous cell carcinoma. Schistosomiasis is a tropical parasite that rarely is present in the United States but is native to the Middle East and Africa.

Bladder cancer can also be described in two ways. Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer occurs when cancer cells have not grown to the bladder’s muscle wall and are contained within the bladder. Most incidents of bladder cancer are this variety. Muscle-invasive bladder cancer is a type of bladder cancer where cancer cells have spread through the lining of the bladder and into the muscle wall of the bladder or beyond this wall. Sometimes, bladder cancer can spread beyond the bladder to other parts of the body.

Bladder Cancer Treatment

Treatment for bladder cancer can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other targeted treatments. Treatment options will be presented depending on the diagnosis and staging of the cancer. The most common method of treatment is surgery to remove the cancerous mass. In some cases, additional treatment, like chemotherapy, may be conducted before surgery. Preoperative treatment may shrink the mass while reducing the amount of tissue needing to be removed during surgery. In other cases, surgery may occur first, and potential treatment may be conducted after recovery.

Radiation may be suggested as a way to treat bladder cancer. This less invasive treatment option uses high-energy X-rays or radiation to keep cancer cells from growing and can kill existing cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be recommended depending on the stage and type of cancer. Sometimes, chemotherapy may be used alone or as part of several treatment methods. In bladder cancer, intravesical chemotherapy may be used. This type of chemotherapy flushes the bladder with chemotherapy medication that can kill cancer cells. This type of treatment may be recommended to decrease the likelihood of cancer cells returning.

Camp Lejeune Elective Option Payment for Bladder Cancer

As a way to settle Camp Lejeune claims and lawsuits, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Navy introduced the Camp Lejeune Elective Option – a payout process that prioritizes resolving Camp Lejeune claims to reduce the number of claims that go to court. While the Camp Lejeune Elective Option may be beneficial for some, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine whether it is suitable for your individual case.

For those with bladder cancer linked to their time at Camp Lejeune, you are eligible for the Elective Option settlement. A Camp Lejeune attorney can help file a Camp Lejeune claim and can review any settlement offers. Whether you or a loved one has bladder cancer, survived it, or passed away, you may be eligible for compensation. Consulting a Camp Lejeune attorney can help guide what the next steps may be. Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, there is a two-year window in which you can file a claim. With the window closing on August 10, 2024, a Camp Lejeune attorney can make sure your claim is filed on time, moves forward in the claims process and determine the best settlement offer, or if it’s necessary to proceed with a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.