It has long been known that mesothelioma, asbestosis and asbestos related lung cancer are all caused by exposure to asbestos. It’s been suspected for hundreds of years and was made clear by the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s. Since that time, the companies accused of negligently exposing their employees to the hazardous material and causing their illnesses have tried defending themselves in myriad ways, including by asserting that the chrysotile type of asbestos that was frequently used in construction settings is not dangerous and does not cause mesothelioma. But now a study conducted by researchers at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital has contradicted that claim. The scientists found that chrysotile asbestos does indeed cause mesothelioma and is no safer than any other variety of the mineral.
Month: September 2017
Mesothelioma is a disease that is so rare that very few people are familiar have heard of it. Though it’s a good thing that it is diagnosed in fewer than 3,500 people per year, it’s scarcity has a downside, in that the condition doesn’t get the same kind of attention, fundraising, educational efforts or support as other diseases do. For that reason, members of the mesothelioma support community created Mesothelioma Awareness Day back in the year 2004, and the event has grown in recognition and participation ever since then. In the 13 years since it was created, Mesothelioma Awareness Day has seen more and more people engaging and learning about the disease. It has even been featured every year on the Today Show at Rockefeller Plaza, where advocates can be seen wearing their blue shirts and educating the public about this rare and deadly form of cancer.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and there are other forms of lung cancer that are also. Though most of the people who have been diagnosed with these diseases were exposed to the toxic substance on the job, that is not always the case. Some are wives and family members who were exposed to asbestos dust that their loved ones brought home on their clothes and skin. Some are people who lived close to asbestos processing plants and mills. And it is becoming increasingly apparent that some were sickened by asbestos in the filters of the cigarettes that they were smoking. Two recent court decisions have brought cigarettes’ deadly effects back into the public eye, and the people who have suffered are being awarded damages of several million dollars.
If someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, you’d do anything to ease their suffering and extend their life. Unfortunately, this asbestos-related disease is always fatal. Depending upon the patient’s physical condition and priorities, they may choose an aggressive approach that involves extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy with an eye to the longest possible survival time, while others may choose a palliative approach whose goal is simply to provide the maximum comfort and quality of life in the time that remains to them. Whichever approach is chosen, there’s a good chance that the mesothelioma patient will experience the pain and discomfort caused by pleural effusion – in fact, the pressure and difficulty breathing that it causes may have even been the first indication that something was wrong. Now a study has shown that one of the simplest procedures offered to mesothelioma patients – the removal of excess fluid from the lungs and pleural space – is the one that may bring the greatest relief and biggest improvement in their quality of life.
The incidence of malignant mesothelioma among America’s working people represents one of the most infamous examples of corporate greed in U.S. history. It has been well established that companies were aware of the dangers posed by asbestos, and that it caused the fatal illness, but owners and management kept the information secret in order to continue using it and making big profits. One of the most notorious cases involved W.R. Grace & Co., which operated a vermiculite mine that was contaminated with asbestos, and which has caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses. The site of the now-closed mine continues to be heavily contaminated and has been the object of extensive EPA cleanups over the last few decades, and now it is cause for concern again as the area is in danger of sending plumes of toxic smoke into the air as a result of Montana’s West Fork Fire.
Researchers at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center have recently completed a study looking at the various protocols used to treat patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, and have concluded that the use of a multimodality approach provides patients with the longest survival times. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and provides some of the most comprehensive analyses done to date on the various therapies that have been developed to help those diagnosed with this rare and fatal form of cancer.
Common sense tells us that when we’re sick, we need to keep our strength up through good nutrition, and that is especially true for people with malignant mesothelioma. Yet there has never been a definitive scientific study that have specifically looked at whether a patient’s nutritional profile can tell physicians anything about how well a patient is likely to hold up in the face of aggressive cancer treatments. But now a group of researchers from the Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan have taken an already-existing nutritional index and tested its predictive powers on patients diagnosed with the rare asbestos-related disease, finding it is an extremely effective way of anticipating patient outcomes.
We’ve all been told that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but now Italian scientists are wondering whether the compounds in that apple may help to prevent malignant mesothelioma from forming in people who have been exposed to asbestos. A group of researchers are taking a close look at phytochemicals, which are found in plants, to determine whether they have an impact on how cancer cells are formed at the molecular level, as well as how they respond to traditional treatments including chemotherapy.
The malignant mesothelioma study conducted by doctors from the Polytechnic University of Marche in Ancona, Italy was recently published in the journal Biomedicine an Pharmacotherapy. Over the course of their research the physicians looked at numerous types of dietary phytochemicals in order to determine whether any of them had an impact on how our molecules shape themselves. Phytochemicals are biologically active compounds found in the fruits and vegetables that we eat, as well as in other plants.
Though the researchers’ exploration included a large number of different phytochemicals, their research yielded only one that had a definitive impact on malignant mesothelioma cells. They found that ursolic acid, which is found in the peels of apples, seemed to regulate microRNAS in the asbestos-related disease, but they also indicated in their report that they believe that there will be many more of these plant-derived compounds that will be useful in the treatment of mesothelioma in the future.
This is by no means the first study that has been done on the impact of these powerful compounds on malignant mesothelioma cells. Because it is well known that phytochemicals boost our immune system and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on our body’s systems, researchers have been closely examining whether they can also help mesothelioma victims. A great deal of attention has already been paid to curcumin, a chemical found in the spice turmeric, which is part of the ginger family. Other studies have looked at compounds found in chamomile, in red wine, in broccoli, and in parsley. The Italian study indicates that there are many more possibilities available.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, eating fresh produce and paying attention to your diet is important, but there are other steps you need to take as well. For information about how we can help make sure you have all the resources you need, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244. We’re here to help.