The Long-Term Effects of War: Napalm and Agent Orange

The Vietnam War, which lasted from 1955 to the Fall of Saigon in 1975, was notorious for many things: a long, weary war against Communism that many Americans didn’t support, launching a widespread anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States.

But there were other, more long-lasting effects: atrocities committed against Vietnamese civilians who were killed, abused, or made to serve against their will as Korean comfort women, and- perhaps most horrifying- the use of chemical weapons that are still affecting people to this very day.

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US riverboat using napalm in Vietnam“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Napalm, a jelly-like mixture of gasoline, polystyrene, and hydrocarbon benzene, is a powerful firestarter that U.S. troops used to fight guerrilla fighters by burning down forests and bushes. One Vietnamese survivor of a Napalm attack describes the experience, describing it as,

“… the most terrible pain you can ever imagine. Water boils at 212°F. Napalm generates temperatures 1,500°F to 2,200°F.” (Kim Phuc, survivor and burn victim of Napalm)

Because it is impossible to remove Napalm from human skin, its victims usually were severely burned, or died from asphyxiation. It is estimated that about 388,000 tons of Napalm bombs were dropped in Vietnam during the war.

US-Huey-helicopter-spraying-Agent-Orange-in-Vietnam.jpg
US-Huey-helicopter-spraying-Agent-Orange-in-Vietnam” by Originally from U.S. Army Operations in Vietnam R.W. Trewyn, Ph.D. , (11) Huey Defoliation National Archives: 111-CC-59948, originally found in Box 1 Folder 9 of Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files. – Item Number: VA042084. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

But perhaps even worse was Agent Orange, a herbicide initially developed to destroy crops and deprive Vietnamese guerrilla fighters and farmers of food and water. The intensity of the herbicide was unexpected, however- of the 4.8 million Vietnamese exposed to Agent Orange, about 400,000 were maimed or killed, and over 500,000 children were born with birth defects. Another direct result of the herbicide? Skin disease, cancer, digestive problems, and respiratory disorders- among both the Vietnamese it was initially targeted at, and the U.S. soldiers who were exposed to the chemical.

It’s estimated that the United States sprayed 20 million gallons of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, using helicopters or low-flying aircraft. Today, many veterans’ diseases are associated with Agent Orange.

Gentle Surgery for Lung Cancer Patients

medium_6869336880For Lung Cancer patients, going through surgery is no joke. The norm of the procedure used to be a lot my dangerous, complex, and difficult. Surgeons had to slice a considerably large cut into the skin, rib bones had to be spread out, and this meant the patient would be ultimately far too weak to go into chemotherapy and other treatments right away. This would take the patient a few more weeks to heal, and precious time was slipping by.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, surgeons now have a new, efficient method of surgery. Thoracoscopic surgery only needs three tiny incisions made where a miniscule camera is inserted to guide other tools to do their work. After the surgery, the patient now does not need to rest as much as with the previous method of surgery, and can benefit much more from the treatments to follow. This type of surgery might even be beneficial to elderly patients.

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Lung Cancer and Dying Alone

small__6288549739 When a family member becomes diagnosed with lung cancer, the patient is not the only person who suffers. The patient may choose to keep quiet about the illness – keep it to himself or herself, in the thought that his or her loved ones need not know or suffer from the knowledge. Other times, a patient may feel it is best that he or she die slowly in silence as a way of “culling” himself or herself from the human gene pool. However, no matter how well-kept a secret the disease is, the truth will eventually out.

Lung cancer is not only a disease that eats away at your health, but can also crush your spirit and make you lose the will to live. Lung cancer can come hand-in-hand with depression,. Suicidal thoughts, cutting, and other heavy negative feelings. We want to tell you that you are not alone. Seek help. Reach out to people who love you.

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Dealing with Lung Cancer

If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you and your family may feel distraught. But the good thing is that lung cancer does not necessary means death sentence. There are several treatment options available and a wealth of resources both online and offline designed to teach you how to live with lung cancer.

First, you have to be well- knowledgeable about the disease. According to the National Institute, there are 180,000 new cases recorded every year having lung cancer due to smoking. Second, you have to know the different treatment operations suitable for you. Treatment can be through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, photo dynamic or laser light therapy depending on the type and stage of your lung cancer. All these treatments can definitely help be cured from the disease. In some cases, you will experience difficulty breathing, thus, you have to find out how to deal with it and learn how to control your breathing process. Lastly, you may want to consider joining a clinical trial. You can consult your doctor regarding this treatment, or you can search for them yourself at the National Cancer Institute Web site.

Most importantly, have support from your loved ones, family and friends while dealing with lung cancer. Lean on them and don’t be fearful in telling your emotions.

Silicosis

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Silicosis goes many other names – grinder’s asthma, potter’s rot, or miners pthasis. It has killed many an illustrious and hard-working potter and lens-grinder, and is an occupational hazard that knows no cure. It is caused by inhaling silica dust, causing the irritation and inflammation of the lungs interiors, with the silica dust scarring the upper half of the lungs and causing nodules to form. It is later followed by shortness of breath, fever, coughing, bluish skin, and eventual death.

While this disease is not a lung cancer, it is still important to understand the ramifications of having this disease, as there is currently no known cure for Silicosis. Some ground-breaking methods are currently being tested, such as corticosteroid therapy, application of the herbal extract tetrandine, and inhaling a combination of powdered aluminum, d-penicillamine, and polyvinyl piridine-N-oxide. However, until these methods are irrevocably proven to work, it is still best to keep safe against this lung-damaging disease.

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The Dangers of Passive Smoking

In the last post, we focused on the dangers of smoking. It has been established that smoking is undeniably dangerous for the smoker, and will eventually lead to many complications and diseases, not the least of these being lung cancer. However, have we ever stopped to consider other people who may also be affected by smoking?

Passive smoking or second-hand smoking is the other form of smoking that more people need to be aware of. It is the inhaling of cigarette fumes and ea smoker’s exhalation by other people in the area. Although the first crop of carcinogens have been absorbed by the smoker, second-hand smoke nonetheless carries just as much toxic materials and carcinogens to the next person in the room.

Often the victims of second-hand smoke are the smoker’s children. While some smokers might consider this harmless, what they don’t know is they’ve officially just introduced nicotine, tar, and other carcinogens into the child’s system. To top this, second-hand smoke also carries the same addictive properties of cigarette smoking, so essentially the child is now gradually made to crave cigarettes, and will likely take up the nasty habit earlier than others.

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Lung Cancer Treatment

Suffering from lung cancer can be a life threatening. Although, it is true that there are many different treatments options available, sometimes these treatment can only be applies when your sickness was been detected during the early stage.

In most cases, lung cancer is determined when it has spreads to a great extent. During this time you will be provided with treatments that can give you relief from the pain, discomfort and suffering, and of course of a treatment that can give you high chance of survival. Among these treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, lung surgery, clinical trials and other targeted therapies that can definitely prove to be of great help to the patient, as a whole. Your treatment option will vary depending on the stage of your cancer and also to your body’s condition and health. You should know that for every treatment, there might be different side effects that you will experience. This thing should also be your deciding factor when choosing for the best treatment.

Can It Be Prevented?

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Smoking termination is the most significant or vital measure that can stop or preclude lung cancer. A lot of products are now available in the market such as nicotine gum, nicotine sprays, or nicotine inhalers. These products were established helpful for people who are trying to quit smoking. Plummenting exposure to passive smoking is also a obliging and preventive measure. With the use of home radon test kit one can determine and permit improvement of increased radon levels in the home. Processes that allow early discovery of cancers, such as the helical low-dose CT scan, may also be of worth in the classification of small cancers that can be cured by surgical resection and deterrence of widespread, deadly metastatic cancer.

What Really Cures Lung Cancer

a1.jpgSurgery can cure lung cancer, but only one in five patients are suitable for this treatment. If the tumor has not spread outside the chest and does not involve vital structures such as the liver, then surgical removal may be possible, but only if the patient does not also have severe bronchitis, heart disease or other illnesses. These additional complications put too great a strain on the patient for them to be able to stand surgery. Chemotherapy, on the other hand has many research trials are going on. Patients who are asked for their consent to take part in a trial should not be frightened. Hundreds of patients take part in trials to detect any benefit between one treatment regime and another. This research must be done if cancer chemotherapy can continue to improve.

E-cigarettes

small__6637290587E-cigarettes, or personal vaporizers, now have quite the presence in more places where the traditional cigarette now is not welcome. It’s pretty common to see people huffing and puffing on their pen-like devices, heads veiled in a cloud of smoke smelling of unusually pleasant aromas, like mocha latte, popcorn, or strawberry cheesecake. These e-cigarettes used to be marketed as means to wean oneself away from traditional smoking and to eventually kick the habit, but now, many people are taking up this new type of smoking for the sheer pleasure of it. Alice’s Caterpillar would have been proud.

However, with these e-cigarettes, is there still a potential risk for lung cancer? There is still much debate surrounding this in the medical community. The World Health Organization recognizes that there haven’t been a lot of studies on the potential health risks that these personal vaporizers entail, but that doesn’t mean that these are truly-risk-free.

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