Helping you take care of your family

Category: Mesothelioma Attorneys

9/11/2001 First Responders Added To Compensation Plan For Mesothelioma

The September 11, 2001 tragedy took many lives, and a huge effort on the part of first responders made a big impact on many lives. Unfortunately, many of the first responders were exposed to toxins that could cause cancers and other illnesses. One potential hazard that first responders might face is Mesothelioma.

The NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) added 50 cancers including Mesothelioma to the 2010 Zadroga Act. The fund was specifically set up to help people who responded to the 9/11 disaster, and have since contracted illnesses and diseases related to exposures from the catastrophe. The $4.3 billion fund will cover expenses and medical bills for those who need it. There were many cancers that were not on the list until June of this year. Mesothelioma was one of the types of cancer added to the list following a dust and debris analysis performed by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The report following the analysis noted that Asbestos was one of the many types of hazardous dust and debris found in the samples from the 9/11 disaster.

It is believed that approximately 400 tons of Asbestos were used to build the World Trade Center in the 1970’s. At the time of the explosion, Asbestos dust exposure was not a primary concern. However, it is now coming to light due to issues that are arising with first responders who worked during the 9/11 disaster. Once Asbestos dust is inhaled, it can trigger changes in the body that have been known to surface up to 40 years after the initial exposure.

The World Trade Center Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which consists of 15 members, advised Dr. John Howard, the NIOSH Director, to add Mesothelioma to the list of covered conditions. They based this decision on the fact that Asbestos dust was found in the debris that first responders entered into in an effort to save lives during the 9/11 disaster.

Many people responded without hesitation to the 9/11 disaster including police officers, EMS workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire fighters, and many more. To date, there have been no Mesothelioma cases reported related to 9/11. However, the committee believes that adding Mesothelioma is necessary due to the amount of Asbestos exposure that occurred during rescue efforts. It is believed that rescuers may come forward in years to come who are suffering from Mesothelioma. One complication that may become evident is that rescuers suffering from cancer related to 9/11 may not get any compensation, because the deadline for filing claims is just 2 years away. It is likely that Mesothelioma could present many years from now, and responders will not be diagnosed by the time the deadline comes around.

Diagnosing Mesothelioma Just Got Easier For Pathologists

A group of independent scientists, physicians, and researchers known as The International Mesothelioma Interest Group have determined that using both positive and negative markers of immunohistochemical panels can help assist with diagnosing Mesothelioma. These panels allow for the differentiation of Mesothelioma from other forms of cancer. In most cases, the prognosis for Mesothelioma is not good. In part, this is due to the fact that the disease is difficult to diagnose due to its location and the fact that it presents like many other cancers.

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer that attacks the mesothelium. In many cases, the disease begins in the tissue around the lungs. However, it has also been known to start in the lining of the heart or intestines. Immunohistochemical panels can be helpful because they can pinpoint the organ where the cancer is located. This in combination with other diagnostic measures, can help pathologists diagnose Mesothelioma earlier, before it metastasizes. Diagnosing the condition before it begins to spread will allow for early treatment, which can help slow the disease in the early stages.

The International Mesothelioma Interest Group has developed a list of guidelines to help streamline the diagnostic process and help ensure earlier diagnosis for patients around the globe. The list of guidelines, which were developed using their own research in conjunction with private research, text books, and peer-reviewed publications, will help pathologists distinguish Mesothelioma tumors to make an early and adequate diagnosis.

The guidelines will help pathologists distinguish between malignant and benign Mesothelioma tumors, and peritoneal and pleural Mesothelioma. They will also help determine key histologic features, specific characteristics of sarcomatoid mesothelioma, and molecular chemical markers.

Considering that early diagnosis could potentially help treat Mesothelioma in an earlier stage, the benefits of these guidelines could be life altering for many patients. Pathologists and researchers have been focusing on diagnosing and treating Mesothelioma in all stages. However, treating the disease in the first or second stage will benefit the patient immensely, as compared to treating it in stage four, after it has metastasized.

On average, people diagnosed with Mesothelioma live between 12 and 18 months from the date of diagnosis. This is largely due to the fact that the disease gets easier to diagnose as it spreads throughout the body. Unfortunately for the patients, as it gets easier to diagnose it gets much harder to treat. The goal of the new diagnostic guidelines for Mesothelioma is to turn this around. The International Mesothelioma Interest Group hopes that these guidelines will allow for earlier diagnosis, more effective treatment, and much better prognosis and outcomes for patients suffering from this disease.

Antibody Monoclonal May Be Beneficial In Treating Mesothelioma

The drub Monoclonal, which is used to treat neck, head, and colorectal cancer, is being studied for the treatment of Mesothelioma. In the most recent studies, which were conducted by a team of researchers in Japan, they found that the drug Monoclonal did inhibit the growth of Mesothelioma cells when used in baseline studies and in mice who were infected with Mesothelioma cells.

Mesothelioma is a fast acting and aggressive cancer that attacks the mesothelium tissue, generally around the lungs. However, other places that this cancer originates can be in the mesothelium surrounding the heart or the intestines. The disease is extremely resistant to most treatments for cancer, and is often times fatal. In most cases, it is linked to exposure to asbestos. As many countries around the globe continue to develop, the number of annually diagnosed Mesothelioma cases continues to rise. In the United States alone, there are about 2500 new cases diagnosed each year. In most instances, people newly diagnosed with Mesothelioma live between 12 and 18 months from the date of diagnosis.

The new treatment using the antibody Monoclonal works by creating an antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). This fights against the increased production of cancerous cells caused by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Researchers recently developed a new drug, cetuximab, which has been derived from the human/mouse hybrid cells. During research studies, this drug was effective because it inhibited the growth of cells by decreasing EGFR using ADCC.

According to the International Journal of Oncology, the drug cetuximab inhibited tumor growth in the thoracic region significantly and increased the lifespan of the mice who were infected with Mesothelioma and given the drug as treatment. This study has lead to a phase II multicenter study, being conducted in Belgium. In this study, the drug cetuximab is being used as first-line treatment in Mesothelioma patients who have undergone radical surgery to have the cancer removed, yet it has returned. In this particular study, cetuximab is being combined with a minimum of one chemotherapy drug. The drug combinations could include cetuximab with carboplatin, cisplatin, and/or pemetrexed.

As research continues and scientists become more and more knowledgeable about potentially effective treatment options for Mesothelioma, the chances of a better quality of life and increased lifespan after diagnosis continue to grow. Treatment options for Mesothelioma continue to increase. However, many of them are still in the research phase. Proper treatment of Mesothelioma depends on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis and the condition of the body to be able to handle and endure the chosen treatment. Options for treatment are typically determined by the physician, specialists, and the patient.

Are Mesothelioma Patients Getting Psychological Support?

Mesothelioma is a fast moving and extremely aggressive cancer that can go from one small tumor to metastasized all over the body in a matter of months. The treatment options for this type of cancer are aggressive, and a relatively healthy and active person can go from their normal life to bedridden and in excruciating pain in a matter of weeks.

Science and research have made great strides in treating the cancer. However, since the treatment options are aggressive and can change a persons lifestyle drastically and in a relatively short period of time, psychological and psychosocial support systems need to be in place to keep a patient in good spirits and motivated to live through the difficulties they will encounter with the disease.

Unlike many other illnesses and diseases people are diagnosed with, Mesothelioma does not go away and it does not stop progressing without serious intervention. This is a rapid growing cancer that requires intense therapy to even slow it down. The prognosis for Mesothelioma is not good, and many people die within 12 to 18 months of initial diagnosis.

Considering that most people realize they have just received a death sentence when they get diagnosed with Mesothelioma, it is imperative that they receive the psychological help and counseling necessary to get through it. A good support system of family, friends, and colleagues can go a long way in helping the Mesothelioma patient conquer treatments and bad days.

In rare instances, people do beat the disease. In the case of Margie Levine, who was diagnosed at the age of 43, she has lived 12 years and currently lives symptom free, after initially being diagnosed with malignant pleural Mesothelioma. She was told by 4 different specialists that she only had months to live after she was diagnosed. She has since published a book about her journey, her chosen treatment options, and the wonderful support system she had along the way to help her persevere.

Thus, Mesothelioma does not necessarily have to be a death sentence. For those people who have the will to live, a driving determination to fight, and a solid support system, it is possible to live many active years after receiving a Mesothelioma diagnosis.

The support in the first few months is crucial. This is the time when people newly diagnosed with Mesothelioma are going through the stages of grief. It is normal to go through a time of denial and a time of mourning for the life they once had. However, due to the fact that this disease moves so quickly, the normal grief stages are seriously shortened because treatments need to start almost immediately. Thus, it is extremely important for patients with Mesothelioma to have an excellent support system right away to help with the psychological aspects of coping with the disease.

Early Asbestos Exposure Can Be Deadly

Many people do not realize this, but scientific research is beginning to prove that early exposure to toxins increases the risk of cancers and other potential hazards later in life. The same holds true with Asbestos exposure and the development of the cancer Mesothelioma.

Almost all of us have seen the commercials of the toddler in the back seat with mommy smoking in the front seat. The windows are up and the child is inhaling the dangerous second hand smoke, with captions about how dangerous second hand smoke is to children. However, there do not seem to be any commercials of young children standing outside a building filled with Asbestos or a young child walking into an Asbestos mine.

Yet, the implications are the same. Young bodies that are still developing are at higher risk of becoming ill from exposure to toxins than adults are. Asbestos is extremely dangerous to anybody who is exposed without the proper safety equipment. However, the lungs, heart, intestines, organs, and mesothelium of a child are still developing. The cells are still growing and multiplying, and the risk of damage from exposure to toxins is much higher than it is in adults.

A study that took place in Australia followed 2,400 people who were regularly exposed to Asbestos under the age of 15. The study followed people who lived in an Asbestos mining town during their childhood. The results of the study showed that of the over 2,400 people who were followed, 217 people were suffering from some form of Asbestos related cancer and another 218 people had died.

Mesothelioma was not the only form of cancer that affected the people involved in the study. Other forms of cancer that the study participants suffered from included breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and brain cancer in women. Men suffered from a variety of cancers including Mesothelioma, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia, and brain cancer. Other conditions that were elevated in both males and females included nervous system diseases and heart disease.

There are similar studies taking place at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Adults who grew up in Libby, Montana, between 1950 and 1999 are being evaluated for damage caused by Asbestos exposure early in life. Libby, Montana, is home to vermiculite mine that produced Asbestos. The study is evaluating over 13,000 participants who grew up around the mine. It is being funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, (ATSDR). They are also funding a study of 600 children who lived in Libby and participated in a lung study in 2000 and 2001, but were not old enough to have chest x-rays done at the time of the study.

As research continues to be collected, it is becoming more and more evident that early exposure to toxins causes severe and long-lasting damage to developing bodies. The case seems to be true with Asbestos exposure and cancer, as well.

Asbestos Still Exists In Many Places

Believe it or not, the battle continues with Asbestos exposure. It seems that the public has known for many years now that Asbestos exposure can cause health concerns, and it is linked to cancer. However, there are still places around the world that are dealing with Asbestos in buildings, cars, testing sites, railroads, roofs, and more.

With all of the knowledge that Asbestos is dangerous and damaging, why is it still used and present in so many places? Part of the reason may be because Asbestos was used for a long period of time when these things were being built or manufactured. Many of the buildings and such that contain Asbestos have been around for half a century or more.

It is true that Asbestos is still being mined and sold to some countries around the world. Unfortunately, this continues to happen because Asbestos is a cheap building and insulation material, and many underdeveloped countries cannot afford safer products. However, in a majority of the world, Asbestos is no longer being used.

In recent years, studies and research has shown that Asbestos exposure is the cause of Mesothelioma, which is an aggressive and severe cancer. This cancer begins in the mesothelium, which is the double lining that surrounds and forms a sack around most of our internal organs. Asbestos exposure causes tumors to form in the mesothelium, which most often starts around the lungs, heart, or intestines. Due to the aggressiveness of this cancer, the average time from diagnosis to death is usually 12 to 18 months.

Thus, with the severity and fast spreading nature of Mesothelioma, it is becoming more and more common to have Asbestos removed from places where people may become exposed to it. However, due to the danger of exposure, it is expensive to have it removed. Many places are beginning to make it mandatory to have Asbestos removed from public buildings. In fact, in some places housing codes are requiring that it is removed and properly disposed of before a home can be sold.

Nonetheless, even with all of the new regulations regarding Asbestos, over 2,500 new people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma in the United States each and every year. Treatment for the disease varies depending in the stage of the cancer. However, most first line treatments involve aggressive chemotherapy and surgical removal of the tumor, if possible.

There have been promising studies done regarding successful treatment of Mesothelioma, and in a couple cases, Orphan drug status has been granted. However, there is no current cure for this disease, and in many cases, the prognosis is not promising.

Understanding The Symptoms And Types Of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to Asbestos. This type of cancer starts in the mesothelium, which is the lining that surrounds the organs in the body. This double lining forms a sack that holds fluid that protects the organs. When cancer tumors form in the mesothelium, the cancer Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed.

There are several different types of Mesothelioma. The type depends on where the tumors are located in the body. Different mesothelium lining has different names inside the body. The three most common types of Mesothelioma include:

1. Pleural Mesothelioma – This type of cancer begins in the lining of the lungs.

2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma – This type of cancer begins in the lining of the intestines.

3. Pericardial Mesothelioma – This type of cancer begins in the lining surrounding the heart.

The symptoms of Mesothelioma are generally caused by the increased fluid buildup in the sack that surrounds the organ. This causes pain and discomfort, which are generally the first symptoms of this type of cancer. The symptoms can vary depending on the type of Mesothelioma. General symptoms include:

* Chest pain

* Shortness of Breath

* Difficulty breathing

* Night sweats

* Weight loss

* Changes in the voice

* Diaphragm complications

* Decreased appetite

The general symptoms can be accompanied by more specific symptoms related to the specific type of Mesothelioma. Specific symptoms related to Pleural Mesothelioma include:

* Chest/rib cage pain

* Continuous cough, ranging from mild to severe

* Difficulty breathing/ Shortness of breath

* Quick and unexplained weight loss

Peritoneal Mesothelioma symptoms can include:

* Tissue/mass formation in abdomen

* Swelling in abdomen, anemia

* Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation

* Continuous fever

Pericardial Mesothelioma symptoms can include common symptoms plus:

* Constant sleepiness

* Irregular heart beat

* Difficulty breathing

* Regular and continuous cough

* Chest pain, mild to severe

Many of the symptoms of Mesothelioma are similar regardless of the disease type. This type of cancer spreads (metastasizes) quickly. This is one of the fastest moving types of cancer. On average, the survival rate of people diagnosed with Mesothelioma is 12 to 18 months from the date of diagnosis.

The symptoms of metastatic mesothelioma can include:

* General aches and pains

* Neck/face inflammation

* Difficulty swallowing food

The symptoms and types of Mesothelioma can be confusing and overwhelming. There are many different treatment options for patients with Mesothelioma. However, the best treatments depend on the type and stage of Mesothelioma at the time of diagnosis and at the time of treatment. There is no cure for Mesothelioma at this time. However, researchers are working hard to find options to help slow the progression of the disease and increase quality of life.

Researchers Investigate High Dose Radiation To Treat Mesothelioma

As research continues to find viable treatment options for the aggressive cancer Mesothelioma, all avenues are being explored. Mesothelioma is fast to metastasize and move to different areas of the body, and the prognosis for this form of cancer is generally not good. Asbestos exposure is believed to be the primary cause of Mesothelioma. This aggressive cancer starts out in the mesothelium, which is the lining that covers and surrounds most of the organs in the body. Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor or tumors that start in this lining. Most commonly, it starts in the lining around the lungs, intestines, or even the heart.

Depending on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, first line treatment is often times chemotherapy. Recent research performed and presented by a team of Australian Researchers at the European Lung Cancer Conference suggests that high dose radiation may show some promise in treating stage 3 and stage 4 Mesothelioma when advanced targeting technology is used during administration.

Over the past several years, radiation has not been used to treat Mesothelioma in most cases because of the odd shapes of the tumors and the fact that the disease spreads so quickly. The amount of radiation necessary to treat malignant Mesothelioma would be considered toxic to healthy tissue in most cases.

The research presented by Dr. Fiegen and his team at this conference suggests that Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and 3D conformal techniques could very well help doctors overcome these obstacles when treating Mesothelioma patients.

In this particular referenced study, 44 patients diagnosed with stage 3 or stage 4 Mesothelioma were given 3d conformal or IMRT over a 6-week period of time. The median survival rate for the participants was 22 months, which is significant considering that the survival rate for stage 3 and stage 4 Mesothelioma patients is generally 12 to 18 months from the time of diagnosis. Even more significant is the fact that 15 out of 44 patients are still alive, seven years after the study and high dose radiation took place. It is also important to note that none of the patients who participated in the study died because of radiation toxicity.

Many physicians continue to debate whether or not this technique is safe due to the increased likelihood of radiation toxicity. Other researchers and scientists question the interaction that this type of radiation might have with other, more common, first line treatments, such as chemotherapy.

Even with the questions that are being raised about the potential risks of this type of radiation, researchers believe that it is definitely worth studying more to determine whether or not this is an effective and viable treatment option for Mesothelioma patients.

Phase II Trials Of Cediranib Fail For Mesothelioma Treatment

Astra Zeneca has been doing phase II clinical trials on the drug Cediranib for the treatment of Mesothelioma. Unfortunately, researchers have not gotten the results they were hoping for. Not only did the oral cancer drug not pass this phase as far as results related to treating the cancer, it also produced severe side effects and was not tolerated well by patients who took the drug.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and fast moving cancer. This malignant cancer starts in the mesothelium (tissue sack that lines almost all human organs) and moves quickly throughout the body. Often times, the prognosis for Mesothelioma is not good. This cancer is believed to be caused by Asbestos exposure. Thus, the use, mining, and removal of Asbestos have gotten much less prevalent over the past several years. In the United States alone, this disease ends in death for over 2,500 people each and every year.

Extensive research and studies have been done to determine how this cancer moves, what causes it to be so aggressive, and what slows it down. Researchers have found that there are certain protein markers that give doctors an indication of the progression of the disease, which in turn helps them to determine the best route of treatment.

One particular protein, VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), is a good indicator of fast progression of the cancer. This particular serum protein signals the growth of these fast moving cancer cells, and indicates a decreased chance of survival.

Recently, scientists at the University of Chicago conducted phase II trials of the drug Cediranib in 51 patients in 9 different testing centers. The patients tested had inoperable malignant Mesothelioma and had undergone some level of Chemotherapy. The results of the trial were not good for participants.

Only 15 percent of the patients survived after one year of treatment. The median progression rate was only 1.8 months, and the average survival rate was 4 months. Researchers also found that higher dosages of 45 mg, which was more adequate to fight the cancer, caused severe side effects and was intolerable for patients. Thus, in most cases, the dosage was scaled back to 30mg.

Some of the drug side effects included hypertension, fatigue, angioedema, and pulmonary embolism. The drug also caused reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy, which has its own host of horrible side effects including vision loss, seizures, confusion, and headaches.

In the case of the drug Cediranib for the treatment of malignant Mesothelioma, phase II trials have shown that drug is not as useful in treating the condition as scientists, physicians, and Astra Zeneca had hoped.


Food Compounds May Help Treat Mesothelioma

In recent studies, researchers have found that a food compound found in various teas, red onions, and red apple skins may play a powerful role in fighting against Mesothelioma, especially malignant Mesothelioma.

These compounds have been found in many different fruits, vegetables, grains, and leaves. The flavonoid Quercetin, which is found in these foods, helps with cell death in certain types of cancers. This flavonoid has been shown effective in the fight of malignant Mesothelioma cells.

Recently, researchers in Korea have been testing these compounds in samples of pleural Mesothelioma. This type of cancer is believed to be related to Asbestos exposure. There is no known cure for Mesothelioma, and it is extremely aggressive. According to the researchers, the compound made from this flavonoid reduced the viability of these aggressive cancer cells.

Researchers have noticed that Quercetin is effective against Mesothelioma because it binds with a specific cellular protein known as Sp1. This specificity protein is linked to several crucial functions at the cellular level.  The study, which was published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, concluded that Sp1 should be considered as a “novel molecular target” in the treatment of pleural Mesothelioma.

Another study at Indiana University showed that a compound made by a botanical formula that contained this flavonoid reduced and destroyed breast cancer cells. The botanical formula also helped stop the metastasis of lung cancer in lab rat samples.

Of course, as with any treatment option for Mesothelioma or any other type of cancer, patients should consult their physicians before adding this natural treatment. It is possible that this and other natural remedies could interact with other medical treatment and cause more harm than good. Drug interactions can always occur, even if the substance is made or extracted from natural sources.

There are many treatment options for Mesothelioma and other cancers. It is best to decide on a treatment plan under the supervision of doctors and disease specialists. This is necessary because treatment options vary depending on the stage and severity of the cancer.

This recent discovery of the use of the flavonoid Quercetin in the fight of Mesothelioma is one more arsenal in the fight against this progressive and deadly disease. Researchers and doctors are hopeful that continued research and studies will allow for the discovery of a cure for Mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. Considering that medicine is always changing, evolving, and improving, it is likely that additional treatments for this and other cancers will continue to improve.