Up until a few months ago, mesothelioma was something that most people had only heard of from attorney’s ads on television. They thought that it couldn’t happen to them. But the rare and deadly form of cancer has been very much in the news recently, as people have reported having been sickened by trusted household items like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, and a steam pipe explosion in a busy section of New York City spread asbestos particles into the air and may have contaminated nearby buildings. The renewed attention has many people wondering exactly what their risk level is, and what they should do if they have been exposed to asbestos.
Month: July 2018
The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) always offers researchers and physicians the opportunity to hear of promising new research into finding better treatment options, and few attend with more hope than those working to cure malignant mesothelioma. The rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos has presented enormous challenges: it has an extremely long latency period that allows the disease to spread unabated long before it is diagnosed and it is extremely resistant to traditional protocols like chemotherapy. But according to a presentation provide this year by Anna Nowak, MD, PhD, of the University of Western Australia, a study that goes by the auspicious name of DREAM has offered some new hope for the combined use of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Adventure travel is all the rage, inviting thrill seekers to tempt fate in numerous ways, but risking mesothelioma seems to be taking it to an absurd extreme. That is exactly what is happening in a western Australia town that has been shut down over its asbestos contamination.
When a person is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, they are quickly thrust into a whole new world of asbestos statistics. They’re told how many people are diagnosed with their disease each year, as well s the impact of asbestosis, lung cancer, and other illnesses caused by exposure to the carcinogenic material. But according to a recent study conducted by the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH), those numbers that they’re given don’t tell half the story – in fact, the study reveals that the impact of the deadly material is far greater than originally thought.
Despite the fact that it is well known that improper handling of asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other serious diseases in those who have breathed the material in, a Washington state asbestos removal company has repeatedly violated safety rules. Though they have previously been cited and fined, they have continued to act with willful disregard towards the law, and the latest episode has resulted in fines totaling $229,700.
Most types of cancer arise from a wide variety of causes and exposures, including genetics, poor diet, and other lifestyle choices, but that is not the case with malignant mesothelioma. The rare and fatal form of cancer comes from just one thing – exposure to asbestos – and in the majority of cases, that exposure takes place on the job. But as more has been learned about the disease’s risk factors, it has become painfully apparent that those who worked in close proximity to the carcinogenic material often unwittingly exposed their family members via fibers they carried home on their work clothes, hair and skin. This is known as secondary asbestos exposure, and it often strikes families that have already suffered a mesothelioma loss. Vivienne Swain’s family knows this all too well.
Vivienne Swain is the second person in her family to die of mesothelioma. The first was her husband, who worked with the material on a day-to-day basis in his years working construction. It wasn’t until after he had passed that she began having a hard time breathing, and was eventually diagnosed with mesothelioma herself. She learned that like many other family members of people lost to the disease, she had been exposed to asbestos fibers for all of the years that he had worked with the material, breathing it in when she laundered his dust-covered overalls at the end of each work week.
After her diagnosis, Vivienne became an advocate for those exposed to asbestos, raising awareness about mesothelioma and second-hand exposure. In the United Kingdom, asbestos-related diseases have claimed many lives, with roughly 2,500 mesothelioma victims lost each year. Her partner fondly recalled her work on behalf of victims, saying, ‘It’s opened my eyes – I didn’t known what mesothelioma was before. When you used to look at the statistics it was always an old man’s disease – something that affected joiners, carpenters and railway workers. When Vivienne was diagnosed she was the youngest in her support group.”
If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, whether on the job or anywhere else, it is important for you to know your risks and your rights. For information, contact us at 1-800-966-2244.
Mesothelioma is a unique and always-fatal form of cancer that most commonly forms in the pleural lining and involves the lungs. Though it is very different from lung cancer, the two diseases do share some characteristics — most notably, lung cancer can also be caused by exposure to asbestos. read more
Imagine being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, mesothelioma, or some other asbestos-related disease, knowing exactly where you got it and who is responsible, and being unable to do anything about it. That is exactly what has happened to Richard Cook, a Maryland resident and veteran of the Navy who was exposed to asbestos while serving onboard the USS Willard Keith. Though most veterans are able to receive free medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Cook was shocked to learn that because his service was between 1958 and 1961, during years considered peacetime, the benefits he is eligible for are dramatically reduced, and do not include the hospital coverage that he so desperately needs. read more