Archive for February, 2011

Pneumonectomy to Chemo Therapy

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

It’s a relatively comforting fact to point out that mesothelioma treatment is progressing, slowly but steadily.  One wishing to make such a case can point to the myriad studies regularly being published pointing toward novel, promising methods in various stages of the research process.  This news is indisputably good.  However, behind this obvious upward trend is a larger, sadder truth regarding mesothelioma treatment.  Which is this: despite all the generally upward-pointing arrows on the trend chart, mesothelioma treatment has not yet gotten over the hump.  There is no cure for this devastating disease.

Current, common methods of cancer treatment revolve around three methods of attack.  These are, in no particular order, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.  These treatments have demonstrated little or limited success as mesothelioma treatments.  Some mesothelioma treatment methods that have been researched recently include combining several of these common treatments in specific ways.  One such example of a combined treatment is referred to as a pneumonectomy.  A pneumonectomy involves a period of intense chemotherapy, combined with the removal of either a portion of or an entire lung.  This mesothelioma treatment has potential to increase the life expectancy of a person afflicted with mesothelioma.  Unfortunately, it does not cure the disease.

There’s a classic, tragic, double-edged sword regarding developing mesothelioma treatments.  Since mesothelioma is so rare (with approximately somewhere between seven and 40 victims per 1,000,000 population in the United States), relatively few people suffer from it.  However, there’s less of an impetus to develop proven methods of treatment for it for that very reason.

If you or someone you know is undergoing mesothelioma treatment due to a contraction caused by asbestos exposure, it could be a good idea to think about contacting a mesothelioma law firm to determine if it’s possible to secure a mesothelioma settlement.  Though a settlement can’t cure anyone of mesothelioma, it has the potential to help with the exorbitant medical costs and hardships associated with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Coming in Contact With Asbestos

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Mesothelioma is a potentially brutal cancer that targets the pleural lining of the stomach and lungs of its victims.  It’s a relatively rare disease, with somewhere between seven and 40 people per 1,000,000 in the US.  However, for those who suffer from it, it’s a devastating illness.  What’s more, it’s one that can often easily be prevented, but by the time symptoms manifest themselves, it’s too late.

In the United States, mesothelioma is most often associated with asbestos exposure.  Rates for naturally occurring mesothelioma, that is, mesothelioma caused by factors other than asbestos exposure, is rarer, occurring with the frequency of about one per 1,000,000.  The reason asbestos affects many more people than would be naturally afflicted is because of the widespread use of asbestos in a variety of industries, such as the construction and shipbuilding industries.

Asbestos was so used because the properties this low-density, feathery mineral exhibited were useful for a variety of applications.  For example, in the construction industry, asbestos was often mixed with concrete.  This made the concrete both lighter and stronger.  In addition to directly improving the material, the addition of asbestos to concrete also reduced the amount of concrete needed to build structures.  That, in turn, lowered transportation costs.

Asbestos was also often used for purposes of insulation.  Since it was light and fibrous, asbestos trapped significant amounts of air.  This made it very effective at keeping temperatures stable.  This property, combined with its lightweight nature, made it especially prized on ships, where weight was a premium.  On board, it was used to insulate pipes and boilers while contributing nominal gain to the ship’s overall mass.

Its widespread use, however, meant that a great number of people came in contact with it.  That, in turn, meant that a great number of people were put at risk for contracting mesothelioma.

Libby, Montana Mesothelioma Study

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

We’ve written about the sad history of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma contraction due to the Libby, Montana mines on several occasions before.  On occasion, we’ll give you updates to this sad, developing story.

Today, we came across an article posted to Asbestos.com about the results of a recent study about the respiratory issues of citizens living in Libby, Montana.  Entitled “Exposure to Asbestos-Containing Vermiculite Ore and Respiratory Symptoms among Individuals Who Were Children While the Mine Was Active in Libby, Montana,” the study kept track of people living in the area who were youngsters at the time of the mine closing.

After testing for a variety of exposure factors and comparing those to rates of respiratory illness, the researchers concluded that exposure to the W. R. Grace mine did indeed create heightened incidence of issues for the citizens of Libby, including an increased risk of mesothelioma contraction.  The study, published in 2010, suggested that the rate of lung cancer symptoms in Libby is 10 percent higher than the national average.

The Libby, Montana incident is a noteworthy tragedy due to its scale, but many other Americans suffer from mesothelioma and other asbestos-derived diseases.  Somewhere between seven and 40 people per 1,000,000 United States citizens, many of whom worked in the construction and shipbuilding industries earlier in the 20th century.  The industry connection is important because asbestos is a prime cause of mesothelioma, and asbestos was widely used in those industries as a fire retardant and and insulator.  It was even mixed with concrete to make the important construction material both stronger and less dense.

As the sad tale of Libby’s residents shows, however, not everyone who contracts malignant mesothelioma through asbestos exposure is a former dock worker or construction worker.  It’s possible to inhale asbestos fibers without ever directly handling the mineral for a day in your life.

Pneumonectomy and Other Treatments

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Understanding mesothelioma treatment is critical for both those who are currently suffering from mesothelioma as well as for that friend’s loved ones and friends.  Being armed with knowledge is often helpful in trying medical times, so it’s often helpful for a patient to understand what sort of options may be available for him or her.

Mesothelioma treatment is a medical field that is showing progress.  New kinds of treatments are being devised, researched, and tested with some regularity  Oftentimes, these treatments involve combining previously existing methods of combating mesothelioma in new ways.  However, despite the good work being done in research institutions all over, the stark fact remains that there is no cure for mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma treatment, sadly, does not often result in the cancer’s remission.  What’s more, once a patient becomes diagnosed with mesothelioma, their life expectancy is often measured in mere months, not years.

Though many of the standard cancer treatments—including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy—are currently used to treat mesothelioma, none of them has exhibited high effectiveness in turning the tide against this particular form of cancer.  The previously mentioned method of combining existing treatments has resulted in options like a pneumonectomy, which consists of an intensive regimen of chemotherapy in tandem with the partial or total removal of a lung.  Again, however, though this method provides positive results on occasion, and will sometimes extend the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient, the result is rarely a cure.

The silver lining, if it can be called that, is that mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer.  Somewhere between seven and 40 people per 1,000,000 U.S. citizens contract it, which is a rate much lower than for some other, more common forms of cancer.  That means fewer people are likely to suffer from it.  However, that rate isn’t zero, which means it still strikes down people.

If you or someone you know is undergoing mesothelioma treatment, it might be a good idea to consider consulting a law firm with a history of mesothelioma experience to attempt to secure a mesothelioma settlement.