Veterans represent an outsized percentage of victims of malignant mesothelioma. This is a result of the extensive use of asbestos, the mineral that causes the rare and fatal form of cancer, in the construction of Navy vessels, Army barracks, weaponry and other military applications. This is true in the United States and in other locations around the world, including those who served as part of the Allied Forces. The United Kingdom’s veterans were not immune from this fate, and many of them are suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Now the UK’s national mesothelioma charity has begun funding the hiring of specialized mesothelioma nurses to provide care for this deserving population, and was recently behind the hiring of the 18th of these professionals.
Helen Wilkes has over ten years of working with lung cancer and mesothelioma patients, and she is excited at the prospect of working for the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust as a mesothelioma nurse specialist. Her patients will be military veterans and personnel who have been diagnosed with the disease, and in talking about her new position she says, “The role is hugely important with its armed forces personnel and veterans focus, even the particularly high incidences of mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos that we’ve seen from patients in the local area, with people employed at the dock yards, based here during Navy service or at Fawley Power Station. With the developments in research through the clinical trials program and dedicated centers such as the immunology center set to open in Southampton in 2018, we’re getting ever closer to offering real hope to patients for their treatment and care.”
Ms. Wilkes will be responsible for a wide variety of patient interactions and public education. She will be the primary contact for armed forces information, advice and support services, working with patients from the point where they are first seeking diagnostic services to confirm suspicions of the disease through all points in their care journey.
If you or someone you love has been affected by a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact us for help. We can be reached at 1-800-966-2244.