Posts Tagged ‘mesothelioma lawyer’

Mesothelioma Legal Help: Part 1

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Mesothelioma can be a devastating disease. Typically linked to exposure during uses of asbestos, this rare type of cancer affects the pleural membrane surrounding the lungs or the lining of the abdomen. Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that has been used for thousands of years in a variety of materials, when disturbed, can become airborne and find its way into the mesothelium lining the lungs or stomach. Once there, asbestos can irritate this lining, resulting in the development of cancerous tissue. Because mesothelioma has an unusually long latency period of 10 to 50 years, many of the people who develop mesothelioma were exposed decades prior. Characterized by shortness of breath and a persistent cough, once diagnosed, mesothlioma is typically a rapidly progressing disease.

In addition to causing pain and suffering, mesothelioma causes economic hardship for victims and their families. People who develop mesothelioma are often retired and on a limited income, making proper health care and other experiences very challenging on victims and their families. And for people who are still working, mesotheiloma may well leave them physically unable to fulfill on their job requirements, leading to loss of income and additional stressors. At the same time that so many mesothelioma victims become unable to work, they also face staggering medical bills from things like mesothelioma treatment. The experience can be more than challenging, and many families, already dealing with these hardships and their own grief, just need someone to help them find much needed financial assistance.

Many mesothelioma victims and their families find it necessary to turn to the court system to obtain the funds necessary to pay for their extremely high expenses and also to provide much needed assistance to their families in this time of great need. Next week, we will explore that role that an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can play in assisting with this process and helping you understand mesothelioma victim’s rights.

 

Complementary or Alternative Therapy

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When diagnosed with mesothelioma, many patients are faced with a difficult prognosis. Because mesothelioma remains latent for many years, by the time symptoms are clear enough to warrant a diagnosis, the patient’s life expectancy is, in many cases, less than a year. While mesothelioma therapy and treatment may help, to date there are no known cures for mesothelioma. In the process of dealing with mesothelioma and its symptoms, many patients look for alternatives to mainstream mesothelioma treatment. To avoid costly and even harmful effects, it is important for people to understand more about complementary and alternative therapies.

Complementary therapies refer to methods that are used along with current medical care. They are not represented as cures, but instead are used to help alleviate symptoms. Some of the complementary therapies available are safe and can be quite helpful. Some people report that acupuncture can help reduce the experience of pain, and that certain teas can counteract nausea. According to the Mayo Clinic, several such therapies, including acupuncture, breath training, relaxation and meditation techniques have all shown promise in helping to relieve patients’ experience of breathlessness that is common to the disease. They also advise that sitting next to a fan can also help reduce the experience of breathlessness.

Alternative treatments refer to those that would replace mainstream or traditional therapies and treatments. While the idea of an alternative treatment can be very appealing to someone who has a debilitating disease like mesothelioma, there are currently no known treatments that cure mesothelioma. What’s more, many of the alternative treatments available have not been clinically tested for effectiveness or safety. Using these treatments in place of standard care can have many unfortunate consequences. Delaying standard treatment may have in impact on insurance coverage, while at the same time allowing the cancer to grow more quickly and become harder to treat.

The American Cancer Society recommends that anyone considering complementary or alternative mesothelioma treatments take certain steps to ensure that they are well informed of the known benefits and risks. Be aware of the possibility of fraudulent claims, and carefully research any products or therapies you are considering. Be sure to discuss these options with your medical professional, as they may have more information that could be critical to your health and well being.

The National Cancer Institute offers a online guide for people considering Complementary or Alternative medicine. The guide reviews several types of therapies, with examples of each, and offers links to several useful resources.

 

Chrysotile Asbestos and Vermiculite

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

In recent years, Do-It-Yourself home improvement projects have become more popular. Homeowners are using the Internet to educate themselves on how to do anything from electrical work and small plumbing projects to drywall repair. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of the potential risks of exposure to asbestos. While some homes today do contain some asbestos, little attention is given to the potential dangers because undisturbed, asbestos-linked materials may pose little or no risk to health.

According to the EPA, 70% of all vermiculite sold in the US between 1919 and 1990 came from a mine in Libby, Montana, which was later discovered to be contaminated with asbestos. When tearing down walls or working in the attic, disturbing vermiculite insulation may result in exposure to asbestos. If you have a question about whether your insulation is vermiculite, visit the EPA’s website on vermiculite, where they have photos showing the various forms of vermiculite insulation.

Some older homes contain vinyl floor tiles, which also contain chrysotile asbestos. When left alone, this form of asbestos poses little risk, because it is sealed inside the mastic, or adhesive matrix. However, when these vinyl floor tiles are removed without proper precautions, asbestos may be released into the air. When taking on a DIY project that involves the use of mesothelioma-linked materials, it is also important to consider asbestos disposal.

There are, in fact, many uses of asbestos in construction materials. Asbestos is still used as an additive to some cement mixes, as well as certain roofing tiles. With DIY projects on the rise, people working in older homes may inadvertently damage an asbestos-containing material. For that reason, it is critical that all DIY projects start with research and planning. If you have any questions about mesothelioma or the uses of asbestos, visit our mesothelioma and asbestos FAQ page.

 

The Mesothelioma Diagonsis

Friday, April 1st, 2011

mesothelioma diagnosis can be a particularly terrible misfortune for those directly and indirectly affected by this terrible disease.  Obviously, a patient afflicted with mesothelioma may suffer a great deal; additionally, loved ones, relatives, dependents, and friends can also suffer misfortune.  Not only is the disease very often lethal, which means those who rely on a victim of mesothelioma for financial or familial support are left woefully adrift, mesothelioma is also remarkably fast-moving, once its symptoms manifest itself.  Indeed, the life expectancy of someone given a mesothelioma diagnosis is often, if not always, measured in mere months.  That often leaves precious little time for a sufferer of mesothelioma to make necessary arrangements to care for his or her dependents.

On a more direct note, such a short time frame means that the patient with a mesothelioma diagnosis has very little time to get the financial and medical resources needed to mount a fight against this terrible disease.  Because of this, it may be helpful to try to secure a mesothelioma settlement to try to combat this rare but brutal form of cancer.

And yet, despite mesothelioma’s often apparently rapid onset, the noticeable physical manifestations of mesothelioma are often the result of a decades-long period of latency.  Mesothelioma is most often caused by exposure to asbestos in the form of inhalation and ingestion.  This moment, where the patient first encounters asbestos, can happen anywhere from 10 to 50 years prior to the physical manifestation of symptoms.  Asbestos fibers often find their way into the lungs or stomach of the victim-to-be, where they embed themselves in that organ’s pleural lining.

One historically common way for people to come into contact with asbestos occurred when that mineral was used in a commercial capacity, such as in the construction or shipbuilding industries.  Alternately, and perhaps more insidiously, asbestos fibers can settle on the clothing of those handling the minerals.  It can then be transported and, conceivably, be inhaled or ingested by anyone coming in close contact with those clothes.

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.

Uses of Asbestos

Friday, August 27th, 2010

If we look to the history of asbestos as a commercially utilized mineral, there were many uses of asbestos.  That’s because this mineral, at one time very widely mined throughout the world (and still mined to a large degree today), had many properties that made it incredibly useful to many industries, especially the shipbuilding and construction industries.  Back at asbestos’s peak, in the middle of the 20th century, it was widely used despite concerns that it had ramifications for the health of workers exposed to it, concerns that had existed in one form or another since Greeks first mined and used the material over two millenia ago.

As previously mentioned, asbestos found its utilization highest in the construction and shipbuilding industries.  Within the field of construction, asbestos was used as an insulator.  Since it was such a fibrous mineral, asbestos can have significant amounts of air within it, which makes it a great insulator.  It was also used as a flame retardant for similar reasons.

Primarily, however, asbestos was utilized as an additive to cement.  Adding asbestos to cement had several advantages.  Of significant importance was that it increased the strength of cement by up to tenfold.  Because of this, less cement needed to be used for construction projects, which allowed for a) greater efficiency on the construction site and b) lowered transportation costs for the cement.  It worked wonderfully for those reasons.

In shipyards, asbestos had somewhat similar applications.  It was used as insulation for piping.  In this capacity, asbestos was ideal because it was cheap, lightweight, and excellent at the task needed.  Its use was not limited to pipes, as engines and boilers were often encased in asbestos as well.

Despite its apparent excellence as a construction supply, however, asbestos ultimately declined due to its incredibly negative side effect, namely, as the primary cause of mesothelioma.

If you or someone you love worked with asbestos in their line of work and has contracted mesothelioma, it might be a good idea to consider contacting a mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success.  A mesothelioma settlement won’t cure the disease, but it may help making the quality of life of a victim suffering from the disease a bit better.

Vermiculite and Asbestos

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Vermiculite and asbestos are two minerals used for similar purposes.  Both have been historically used as excellent insulators, since they have highly effective heat resistance properties.  They are also both wonderful fire retardants, which makes them useful in the construction and shipbuilding industries.

That could be where the similarities end, however, because vermiculite is generally considered to be harmless to humans who are mining or working with it, while asbestos exposure can lead to many life-threatening diseases.  These diseases include mesothelioma, which has no known cure and can kill someone with terrifying quickness once symptoms manifest themselves.

Vermiculite is mined all around the world, with particularly large concerns operating in China, Brazil, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe.  Within the United States, the largest mines are in the Appalachian mountain range, especially around Virginia.  It resembles mica, another mineral sometimes used for insulation in electronic devices, and has a brownish, vaguely metallic and glassy hue.

Since vermiculite has some similar properties as asbestos, it is often associated with mesothelioma.  However, there does not appear to be any evidence linking the mineral with the brutal cancer, or with any other diseases typically associated with asbestos exposure.  The major causal association between vermiculite and mesothelioma, at least in this country, appears to have stemmed from the asbestos-tainted vermiculite mines of Libby, Montana.  The case of asbestos in Libby, Montana is a well-documented and devastating one which has affected the lives of many in the area.

Due to the fact that vermiculite is generally considered harmless, it’s still used for construction today.  However, vermiculite from the Libby mines is considered suspect, since much of the mineral mined there also contains traces of asbestos.  That isn’t considered harmless.  If you have been exposed to vermiculite from Libby, Montana, there’s a chance that you might have also been exposed to asbestos.  If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to contact a mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success.

The Mesothelioma Treatment Field

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Mesothelioma treatment is a rapidly advancing field.  Improvements and promising steps forward are made on a regular basis, as modern science does its best to catch up with this ravaging cancer.  Despite what appears to be a constant, if gradual and experimental, march of progress, however, there unfortunately remains no cure for mesothelioma.

Of the three primary methods of treatment for most cancers—surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy—none has proven particularly effective.  One of the more effective treatments used by surgeons is a procedure known as a pneumonectomy, which involves intense chemotherapy combined with the removal of a lung.  Although this treatment does not typically result in a cure for the patient, it can extend that patient’s life.

Any extension of a mesothelioma victim’s life can be a pretty big deal, especially since the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with this cancer is less than two years.  From the onset of symptoms, the disease moves very rapidly.

Mesothelioma, thankfully, is a very rare disease.  Only somewhere between seven and 40 in a 1,000,000 get it in the United States of America, which is a blessedly low rate.  However, this low rate of prevalence is yet another reason why it’s so difficult to treat effectively.  That’s because there is very little comparative data on mesothelioma out there.  There are projects that attempt to compile disease data, like the Cornell University Mesothelioma Program, which works to establish a national registry of all mesothelioma cases, but the sheer lack of victims results in a lack of studies, which, in turn, means fewer big steps forward.

No matter what happens, it might be a good idea to consult with a mesothelioma law firm about securing a mesothelioma settlement.  When looking for one, think about the amount of experience that law firm has when dealing with cases of that nature, along with the track record it’s amounted.  Gathering those two bits of information will help you make a more well-informed decision, because a mesothelioma lawsuit or settlement is not something that can easily be taken lightly.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit $14 Million-Plus Award

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Another mesothelioma lawsuit has recently been settled in the plaintiff’s favor.  According to a blog post published today (May 24) on Asbestos.com, a 59-year-old man in the Miami area has been awarded over $14 million because of asbestos exposure he was subjected to while working.  This asbestos exposure later caused the man to develop peritoneal mesothelioma.  (The “peritoneal” element of this particular mesothelioma indicates that this cancer had attacked the lining of his abdomen, not necessarily the pleural lining of his lungs.)

The judgment decided against the defendant, Union Carbide, who was found to be negligent for selling asbestos fibers to companies, such as construction equipment companies, who then used the fibers in the manufacturing of their products.  The man came into contact with these asbestos fiber-laden products in the 1970s, when he worked for his family’s construction company.

Though mesothelioma is an incredibly rare disease, it much more strongly affects those in an certain industries, especially the fields of shipbuilding and construction.  That’s because asbestos used to be a prized ingredient in many of the products used in those areas.  Asbestos uses in these disciplines was varied.  The mineral has excellent insulation and flame-retardant properties, and its light density set it apart from other similar additives.   Unfortunately, when inhaled, it also causes mesothelioma, a grievously lethal disease for which there is no cure.  In addition to workers in the aforementioned industries, the families of those laborers also were at higher risk of coming into contact with asbestos fibers, since they often got trapped in hair and clothing and taken home.

Once inhaled, asbestos fibers can remain relatively harmless in the lungs for anywhere from 10 to 50 years before triggering mesothelioma. Despite such a long latency period, however, once the disease is diagnosed, life it advances rapidly.  The life expectancy of a mesothelioma victim is often measured in months, and as previously mentioned, there is no cure for this devastating disease.

Libby, Montana Asbestos Tragedy

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Asbestos exposure has been a widespread, well-documented, and sadly devastating concern in the isolated mining community of Libby, Montana.  The issue began in 1919, when a vermiculite mine, called the Zonolite Company, opened in the area.  The mine soon grew to become a primary employer in the area, with many of the area’s population employed in the mining of vermiculite, and, in 1963, the mine was purchased by W. R. Grace and Company.  Unfortunately, the vermiculite that was proving to be a boon to the people of Libby also appeared to contain asbestos fibers, which, unbeknownst to the local populace, was causing an abnormally high number of deaths from asbestos-related ailments, including mesothelioma.

Once the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a series of articles (called, collectively, “A Town Left to Die”) linking the unusual number of asbestos-related deaths in the area to the mine formerly run by W. R. Grace and Company, federal investigators stepped in to determine the veracity of some of the claims made.  Their investigation turned up a disheartening result: there was an alarmingly high level of asbestos fibers found in air samples taken from around the area.  The authorities subsequently linked this finding to the asbestos-related illnesses that plagued the town.

Once the connection was made, the wide-ranging nature of Libby’s asbestos problems was made clear.  Nearly 300 deaths in the town and its surrounding are suspected to be related to asbestos.  This figure, already shockingly high, is even more tragic when taken in context of the town’s population of under 3,000.  Subsequent criminal charges were brought against employees of W. R. Grace & Company, all of whom were found not guilty on all counts.

Nothing can undo the disaster that transpired in Libby, Montana, a good mesothelioma lawyer—or, more likely, a  team of them—could theoretically help intercede on their behalf.  Let’s hope that environmental disasters such as this one neither transpire nor go unpunished in the future.