Archive for January, 2011

Mesothelioma Diagnosis Help

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating, not only for the afflicted patient, but for that person’s friends, family, and dependents.  That’s because mesothelioma, once diagnosed, spreads rapidly, and is very often lethal.  The life expectancy of someone unfortunately given a mesothelioma diagnosis is often measured in months, not years.

Such a brief time period means there isn’t very much time, relative to other diagnoses one might get, to fight the disease, let alone to marshal the finances necessary to do so.  (It’s times like these that securing a mesothelioma settlement can help after receiving the stunning news of a mesothelioma diagnosis.)

Given its rapid advancement after a mesothelioma diagnosis, it might be surprising to learn that the visible symptoms of mesothelioma manifest themselves after decades of dormancy.  That’s right, mesothelioma is the result of a long latency period, during which inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers embed themselves in the pleural lining of the lungs or stomach.

Asbestos fibers, historically, have often been inhaled by workers handling them, or by family members handling that worker’s clothing or living with him or her.  Asbestos is a mineral that has very feathery, fibrous, low-density physical characteristics, so when it’s handled, it’s easy to become airborne, which is when it becomes dangerous.

These characteristics, incidentally, are what made asbestos such a prized mineral in the shipbuilding and construction industries, where it was most often employed for its insulating and fire retardant properties.  Its low density also made it a useful additive in concrete, which lowered transportation and construction costs while simultaneously strengthening the concrete.

Unfortunately, asbestos has subsequently proven that it can be a killer.

If you or someone you love has a mesothelioma diagnosis, it might be in your best interest to consider securing a mesothelioma settlement.  It may help defray the staggering costs associated with such an unfortunate turn of events.

Mesothelioma: 3000 US Patients

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Mesothelioma, as many of you who read this blog regularly may know, is an incredibly lethal yet rare disease often afflicting former workers in the construction and shipbuilding industries.  Estimates of its rarity put it somewhere between seven and 40 cases per 1,000,000 people, which makes it significantly less common than more prevalent forms of cancer.  (No matter how rare it is, however, it’s a profoundly dangerous cancer, since there is no cure for mesothelioma.)

Nevertheless, on FrenchTribune.com, we found an article about a forecast for mesothelioma prevalence in the United States this year that offers what may be surprising findings.  The report states that the Mesothelioma Victims Center has issued a report suggesting that there may be 2500-3000 mesothelioma patients this coming year.  This, combined with the National Cancer Institute’s findings (also reported on FrenchTribune.com) that one-third of all U.S. victims of the disease are retired Navy veterans.

Both of these pieces of news are saddening.  However, while the latter one may seem surprising (and it undoubtedly is unfortunate), the fact of the matter is that asbestos, the friable form of which can cause mesothelioma, was used extensively in the shipbuilding industry earlier this century.  That means many shipbuilders and workers on the ships themselves may have come in contact with asbestos-laden pipes and insulation.

There are several reasons asbestos was used on shipbuilding.  For one, it was an excellent fire retardant and insulator, which means it was often prized as a construction material in areas where heat transference and safety were paramount.  For another, it was an incredibly light material, which made it even more highly valued in areas where conserving weight (such as on a floating ship) was of extreme importance.

Unfortunately, its widespread use means widespread exposure to it by workers.  Asbestos inhalation is, unfortunately,linked with mesothelioma contraction.

Asbestos Pipes Removal

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Asbestos is a scourge we often associate with the mid-century construction industry.  Sadly, it continues to affect many even today.  Consider this recent asbestos article, noted on MesotheliomaNews.com, which reports that pipes covered with asbestos were found in an area due to be repurposed into a park located in Davie, Florida.  Since exposure to asbestos can be considered a devastating public health hazard, Judy Paul, the mayor of Davie, intends to have the pipes removed.  She’s asked for over $30,000 in order to ensure that the pipes are removed properly, not in some haphazard way.

Proper removal of asbestos-laden materials is essential because asbestos is an incredibly light material that easily becomes airborne, especially when disturbed.  Asbestos’s lightweight, feathery texture makes it very useful for certain applications in the fields of shipbuilding and construction.  For example, it’s an excellent fire retardant and insulator, so it was commonly utilized in the development of buildings.  On ships, its exceptionally low density, combined with the aforementioned properties, made asbestos particularly valuable.  In particular, it was used to insulate and coat boilers, pipes, and other structures.

Unfortunately, some of the properties that allow for asbestos to be such an exceptional insulator also allow it to become airborne and inhaled, which can, in turn, lead to mesothelioma.  When inhaled, the asbestos fibers can embed themselves into the pleural lining of the lungs, where they can remain dormant for a long period of time that may last anywhere from 10 to 50 years.  Once this latency period is over, however, symptoms of mesothelioma begin to develop rapidly.  The life expectancy of someone afflicted with mesothelioma is, sadly, often measured in mere months.  While there are many treatments available for mesothelioma, a significant portion of them are risky and/or experimental.  Ultimately, there is no cure for mesothelioma, which makes it a rare, but particularly grievous, disease.