Camp Lejeune Cancer

From 1953 to 1987, Camp Lejeune’s water was tainted with toxic chemicals. As a result, military service members, civilian workers, and their families were put at risk of many types of cancers. Common Camp Lejeune cancers include bladder, kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and more. Thanks to new laws, Camp Lejeune water cancer victims may finally be able to seek compensation, no matter what form of illness they have. Learn more about the cancers associated with Camp Lejeune’s water and what options you may have for financial relief.

How Did Camp Lejeune Water Cause Cancer?

A water quality technician wearing safety gloves collects a sample of surface water.

Camp Lejeune’s water caused cancer because it was contaminated with dangerous chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many VOCs are carcinogenic, which means they can cause cancer.

When people drank or used Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water, chemicals got inside their bodies. Over time, the chemicals can harm healthy cells by damaging their DNA, changing them into cancer cells.

Cancer-causing toxins can affect different parts of the body when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Additionally, gender can play a role in the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer, with some more common in men or women.

The combination of chemical exposure and individual factors contributes to the development of an alarming rate of Camp Lejeune cancers.

Historically, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) only placed several types of cancer on the presumptive Camp Lejeune cancer list.

However, thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022, anyone harmed by the polluted water after spending at least 30 days on the base can file a new claim. This includes filing a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit if you lost a loved one.

If you or a loved one developed any form of Camp Lejeune cancer, check your eligibility right now with a free claim review.

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What Is the Camp Lejeune Cancer List?

The Camp Lejeune cancer list involves multiple types of cancer. The risk depends on the duration of exposure to contaminated water and which specific chemicals you were exposed to.

Find more information on the various types of Camp Lejeune cancers below.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer usually begins in the cells that line the bladder, kidneys, and ureters. This form is on the VA’s presumptive Camp Lejeune cancer list.

Symptoms of bladder cancer often include:

  • Back pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent or painful urination

When doctors diagnose bladder cancer early, it is often treatable. However, bladder cancer often comes back, even after treatment.

Camp Lejeune water contamination victims diagnosed with bladder cancer may face a lifelong battle with the condition.

Watch this short video from our founder, who lost his father to Camp Lejeune bladder cancer.

Camp Lejeune Claims Center: John’s Story Video Thumbnail

Hear from our founder, Chris Carberg, on how losing his dad to Camp Lejeune bladder cancer became the driving force behind our relentless pursuit of justice for every Camp Lejeune victim.

Duration: 02 min 43 sec

I used to ask my dad, “What was it like when you were a Marine, or when you were formerly a Marine?” And he would correct me every time, he’d say, “You’re never formerly a Marine. It’s never something in the past. Once you’re a Marine, you’re a Marine for life.”

My name is Chris Carberg and my father was United States Marine John Carberg, who passed away from bladder cancer.

My dad was 17 years old when he joined the Marines. And his dad was a Marine, his brother was a Marine. It was something in our whole family that we were proud of. He lived on a military base.

My father was at Camp Lejeune for, I believe less than 60 days. He had no idea that there was anything wrong with the water.

And to think that people were spending their last moments, before they were deployed to dangerous situations, being poisoned is absolutely infuriating. We had families at Camp Lejeune. We had families on the base. We had mothers who were pregnant drinking that water.

What changed with the PACT Act and with the Camp Lejeune Act of 2022, is that for the first time, the government lowered and dropped its own immunity to being prosecuted. Veterans, their family members, they are able for the first time to file lawsuits against the government.

My dad never cared about his legacy, but what he cared about was his family. He cared about my mom, he cared about me and my sister. He cared about us. and I think that what he would want is what he always wanted. For his family to be taken care of, for my mom to be taken care of. My dad would never do something like this for himself, but he would do it for my mom in a heartbeat.

When my son and daughter ask me eventually, “What happened to Pop-pop?” I have to tell them the truth, which was that, “Well, Pop-pop was serving his country proudly. He did everything the right way, doing that that he could.” And now it’s our turn, it’s our turn to care for him and while he was sick and alive, we fought for him. We did our very best.

It’s our job as families to honor the memory of our loved ones by fighting on their behalf when they can’t fight for themselves anymore.

Brain Cancer

Brain cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the brain form tumors. It disrupts normal brain function, making early detection crucial.

Symptoms of brain cancer include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Trouble speaking or understanding

Treatment options and prognosis vary depending on the cancer stage and location.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer starts in the breast cells and is one of the most common cancers in women, although men can also be affected.

For one male Camp Lejeune cancer victim who was born on the base, it wasn’t until age 39 that he was diagnosed with male breast cancer linked to the toxic water.

Symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Change in breast shape
  • A lump in the breast
  • Nipple discharge

Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve survival time for many patients.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus.

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Discharge with an unpleasant odor
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vaginal bleeding

Regular screenings can help detect precancerous cells and can help prevent cervical cancer.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer begins in the colon or rectum and is often detectable through regular screenings.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss

Early detection followed by prompt treatment can help manage colorectal cancer effectively.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer occurs in the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Difficulty swallowing

Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing esophageal cancer.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is a presumptive Camp Lejeune health condition, according to the VA. The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma. This cancer is often discovered in the early stages when it is still tiny.

Kidney cancer can be symptomless at first but may eventually lead to:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the back or side

If you or a loved one developed kidney cancer or another kidney disease after spending time on the base while the water was contaminated, you could be entitled to compensation.

Filing for relief under the CLJA for Camp Lejeune cancer will not affect existing or future VA benefits.

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Leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissues like bone marrow. It leads to an overproduction of abnormal white blood cells, affecting the body’s ability to fight infections.

Leukemia is a VA-recognized Camp Lejeune cancer.

Symptoms of leukemia include:

  • Easy bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can improve the prognosis for those with leukemia.

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer begins in the cells of the liver. The most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma.

This form of cancer is on the VA’s Camp Lejeune presumptive conditions list.

Symptoms of liver cancer may include:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • White, chalky stools

It is more likely that cancer from another part of the body will spread to the liver rather than beginning in the liver.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer starts in the cells of the lungs. It is mainly caused by smoking, but other factors like exposure to the chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s toxic water, asbestos, and radon can also cause lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath

Early detection and appropriate treatment are vital for managing lung cancer effectively.

If you have questions about any form of Camp Lejeune cancer, talk to one of our trained Camp Lejeune claims advocates right now at (866) 473-4764.

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is recognized as a presumptive Camp Lejeune cancer by the VA.

It forms in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. Cancerous plasma cells gather in the bone marrow, forcing healthy blood cells out.

Multiple myeloma can be symptomless at first but may eventually cause:

  • Bone pain, especially in the chest or spine
  • Confusion or mental fogginess
  • Constipation
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Infections
  • Nausea
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs

There are many treatment options for people with multiple myeloma.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer that starts in the lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue, part of the body’s immune system.

With this form of cancer, white blood cells called lymphocytes can grow and form tumors throughout the body.

There are many types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including:

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
Did You Know?

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a VA presumptive condition and Tier 1 Camp Lejeune cancer that could pay out $150,000-$550,000 or more. Don’t miss your opportunity to be compensated for your family’s suffering. Every Camp Lejeune victim deserves justice.

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma often include:

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Chest pain, coughing, or trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • Unexplained weight loss

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of the pancreas, an organ in the abdomen that releases enzymes aiding digestion and hormones that manage blood sugar.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Jaundice
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Upper abdominal pain

Early detection is crucial as pancreatic cancer often spreads rapidly.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland in men, usually growing slowly and initially confined to the prostate, where it may not cause serious harm.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Blood in semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Trouble urinating

Early diagnosis can help manage prostate cancer and prevent further complications.


Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones and soft tissues like muscles and fat.

Symptoms of sarcoma include:

  • Bone pain
  • A lump that’s often painless
  • Swelling and tenderness near the affected area

Timely detection and treatment are critical to managing sarcoma effectively.

RELATED: Get the latest Camp Lejeune lawsuit updates here to stay informed.

Camp Lejeune Cancer in Children Born on Base

Children born at Camp Lejeune were found to have higher rates of childhood cancers, including leukemia.

According to an NBC News investigative report, Marines have complained for years that Camp Lejeune’s water caused their children to suffer from cancer and birth defects.

Reports of children harmed are especially troublesome because the military didn’t warn families that children born on the base were at increased risk of Camp Lejeune water cancer.

In one heartbreaking example, a Camp Lejeune Marine and his family lived at the Tarawa Terrace housing complex from 1973 to 1975, where his daughter was conceived.

They returned in 1982, residing in Jacksonville, NC, near the base. Because there was no town recreation area, his daughter often swam in base swimming pools.

She was diagnosed with childhood leukemia in July 1983 at age 6. She endured multiple bone marrow extractions and spinal taps, battling cancer for over 2 years before passing away.

While her death led to the creation of H.R.1742, known as the Janey Ensminger Act, nothing can reverse her family’s pain.

“I want the truth. I want accountability. And I fully recognize they will probably pat me in the face with a shovel and blow Taps over me before I get that.”

—Jerry Ensminger, Retired USMC Master Sergeant

What Causes Camp Lejeune Cancer?

Camp Lejeune cancer is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in the contaminated water. The water treatment plants at Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point were the main sources of contamination.

Learn more about which chemicals were involved and when the water was contaminated.

What Chemicals Were in Camp Lejeune Water?

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) found VOCs in the water. All VOCs are known to cause Camp Lejeune cancer.

VOCs in Camp Lejeune water included:

  • Benzene
  • Dichloroethylene (DCE)
  • Tetrachloroethylene — also known as perchloroethylene (PCE)
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Other contaminants

What Is the Time Frame for Camp Lejeune Contamination?

According to ATSDR, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated from the 1950s through the 1980s.


Camp Lejeune Founded

1953 to 1987:

Camp Lejeune residents are exposed to toxic chemicals in the water supply

Anyone who lived in base housing or worked on the base during this time frame may have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water.

This includes active duty service members, civilian workers, and reservists. Even children who were born on the base up through the mid-1980s could be at risk of Camp Lejeune cancers due to exposure to the toxic water.

RELATED: Learn about Camp Lejeune cancer settlement amounts here.

Can I File a Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuit?

Yes, you can file a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit if you or a loved one were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and developed cancer as a result.

The CLJA has made it possible for victims and their family members to seek justice and compensation for their suffering through Camp Lejeune claims.

Claims under the CLJA aim to compensate for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other damages

You don’t have to have a specific type of Camp Lejeune cancer to file a claim — all cancers are included under the act, provided that they can be linked back to the toxic water.

Find out if you qualify right now with a free and simple claim review.

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Getting the right legal help for your Camp Lejeune cancer case is important. An experienced lawyer can make a big difference in getting the financial relief your family deserves.

The best Camp Lejeune cancer lawyers know which chemicals are involved and how each could cause specific forms of cancer. They will work hard to get a successful settlement for you.

Even if the exposure happened long ago or your illness is not on the Camp Lejeune cancer list, you can still pursue justice.

File a free Camp Lejeune water claim now or call (866) 473-4764 to learn more.

Camp Lejeune Cancer FAQs

What type of cancer did Camp Lejeune have among its residents?

Camp Lejeune cancers that affected residents include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Many other forms

We may be able to help pursue justice and compensation if you or a loved one has any of these Camp Lejeune cancers. Call (866) 473-4764 to learn more.

What was the cancer rate in Camp Lejeune?

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comparing Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton Marines found that the cancer fatality rate at Camp Lejeune was 10% higher.

There was an increased risk for kidney cancer, liver cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. The Camp Lejeune cancer rate is 16% higher for kidney cancer than the U.S. average.

Is lung cancer a presumptive for Camp Lejeune water contamination?

No, lung cancer isn’t a VA-presumptive condition for Camp Lejeune’s water contamination, despite links to trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and vinyl chloride.

However, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 enables anyone with lung cancer potentially linked to the contamination to file a lawsuit.

The Camp Lejeune Claims Center can help. Find out if you are eligible right now with a free and simple claim review.

What cancers qualify for Camp Lejeune water contamination?

The Tier 1 Camp Lejeune cancer list is:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

This list is based on a system set up by the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice to classify certain Camp Lejeune illnesses into groups called tiers.

But you do not need to have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 illness to file a claim under the CLJA. You can file if you have any type of cancer linked to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water. Contact us now to find out your eligibility.

Is skin cancer part of the Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Skin cancer and any other form of cancer may allow you to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, provided that you were at the base for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 and your condition is linked to the water contamination.

Brian CookeReviewed by:Brian Cooke

U.S. Marine Corps Veteran & Partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Brian Cooke is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest mass tort firms. He has dedicated over 20 years to fighting for justice on behalf of his clients and their families, including many veterans harmed through no fault of their own.

The Camp Lejeune Claims Center exists to help military veterans harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to get the financial compensation they deserve. We're ready to help you — at no out-of-pocket cost to you or your family.

  1. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). (2017, January). Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  2. ATSDR. (2014, January 16). Chemicals involved. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  3. Bove, F., Ruckart, P., Maslia, M., & Larson, T. (2014, February 19). Evaluation of mortality among Marines and Navy personnel exposed to contaminated drinking water at USMC Base Camp Lejeune: A retrospective cohort study – environmental health. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  4. National Research Council (US) Committee on Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune. (2009). Contaminated water supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing potential health effects. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  5. NBC News. (2014, February 19). Camp Lejeune study finds higher cancer death risk. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  6. Olsen, K. (2013, January 8). Camp Lejeune’s toxic legacy. American Legion Magazine. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from’s%209%2Dyear%2Dold,followed%20its%20own%20testing%20regulations
  7. US Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, September 07). Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from

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