Thursday, September 27, 2007

Asbestos could have caused man's death

EXPOSURE to asbestos while training as an electrician could have caused the death years later of an East Bergholt man.

Michael Trinder, 61, of Hadleigh Road, East Bergholt, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2006 and died on June 26 this year at the St Elizabeth's Hospice, Ipswich.

During an inquest held yesterday at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, coroner Dr Peter Dean read from statements from his family which said he had trained as an electrician during his youth.

Since then he had studied at Loughborough University and the University of Essex, before working as an acoustic consultant to the air conditioning industry.

Following his death, the cause was given as mesothelioma, which can be caused by asbestos exposure, by consultant respiratory physician Nicholas Innes.

Dr Dean said: “While he was ill Mr Trinder said the only exposure to asbestos he could recall was when changing soffit boards.

“However he could not rule out that he may have encountered it during his earlier training as an electrician, although he had no recollection of contact.

“We are left with the question of whether this was industrial exposure or domestic exposure, or one of the very small percentage of cases where there was no exposure at all.”

Dr Dean recorded an open verdict and extended his sympathy to the family who were present at the inquest on Tuesday .


National Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness Day- September 26th

Meso is a Rare Form of Cancer Caused by Asbestos Exposure. While It's Survival Rate is Dismal, More People Should Become Aware of This Form of Cancer.

September 26th is National Meso (mesothelioma) Awareness Day. Begun by the Meso Foundation, this day is dedicated to raise awareness of the problems, symptoms, and need for research into mesothelioma, one of the lesser-known forms of cancer.

In simplest terms, the tissues that line our lungs, heart, stomach and other organs are called "mesothelium." When these cells develop cancer, it's called mesothelioma, or meso for short. Meso is very painful because as the cancer cells grow, they crush the lungs. A person with mensothelioma may eventually be suffocated so that breathing is painful, or the heart or other organs can be crushed as the cancer grows. Most people who are diagnosed with meso die within 4 to 14 months.

Meso is caused by asbestos exposure. It can take years (30, 40, or even 50 years) to develop. According to the Meso Foundation, the U.S. EPA identified asbestos as," one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings."

The Navy, shipyard workers, household products, and many appliances, residential and commercial construction have all used asbestos. It's still around and in many schools, homes, and businesses. Even small exposure to asbestos particles can cause meso. Although the air was declared "safe" after 9/11, rescue workers and first-responders may have been exposed to high amounts of particulates in the air, including asbestos. Some people estimate that at least 400 tons of asbestos was released into the air in New York after the towers collapsed on 9/11.

The EPA estimates that over 20 million American workers have been exposed to asbestos particles. Every year approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma. While it's still a rare form of cancer, it is expected to affect more people since it takes so long to develop and so many, many people have been exposed to asbestos in recent years.

According to the Meso Foundation, treatments for mesothelioma were largely ignored. While asbestos was known to be a carcinogenic, businesses were allowed to continue using it. Developing treatments for meso were ignored, perhaps because of potential legal minefields.

With a myriad of reasons behind it, the bottom line is that funding for research into treating meso has lagged far behind that of other forms of cancer. The Meso Foundation hopes to change this by drawing awareness to this rare, but painful, form of cancer. Todays treatment consistes of chemotherapy and radiation.

There is a growing need to understand more about meso. It can be difficult to diagnose and is regularly missed. Once a meso diagnosis is finally made, survival rates are bleak.

Actor Steve McQueen died of meso only 11 months after his diagnosis in 1980. In 2003, singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was also diagnosed with meso. He died one year after being diagnosed with it. The treatment of meso has not changed much since 1980.


Fury at low cash awards for asbestos victims

FORMER York Carriageworks union leader Paul Cooper has blasted the levels of compensation paid to victims of the asbestos timebomb.

Mr Cooper, who has long campaigned on behalf of people killed because of their exposure to asbestos dust, claimed today that sufferers and their families were getting less in damages than criminals who injure themselves.

He said in a letter to York MP Hugh Bayley that the Government had failed to act on a Law Commission report of 1999, recommending increases in damages for victims of serious diseases such as abestosis and mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust.

He claimed the Government was currently looking at the law of damages, and was planning to study various Law Commission reports from the 1990s which had not been actioned - but the review had left out the crucial 1999 report.

"It would oblige our members, many of whom are your constituents, if you could investigate this new matter and press the concerns of our members and affected constituents," he said.

"We continue to have victims/sufferers of asbestos mesothelioma facing a death sentence, with wives and children receiving little more than £200,000 in compensation for their loss. Criminals who self-injure get £500,000, even though they suffer no losses whilst in prison. It is time for our workers to have real justice."

Mr Cooper, who received a Community Pride Volunteer of the Year award in 2005 for his work on behalf of asbestos victims, said he had written to the MP twice before on the subject, but the Government appeared still to be trying to avoid the issue.

"In the case of the victims from the Carriageworks, the state was responsible for their deaths, so the state should accept responsibility."

Scores of former Carriageworks employees have died from mesothelioma over the years, following widespread exposure to the deadly dust, particularly in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.

Hugh Bayley said he had been campaigning on behalf of carriageworks asbestos victims since becoming MP, and he had helped ensure that they remained entitled to compensation when the railway industry was privatised in the 1990s.

He said he had only recently signed a Commons Early Day Motion calling for people suffering from pleural plaques - scarring of lung tissues caused by exposure to asbestos - to be given more compensation.


Asbestos Claim won by Air Guard mechanic's widow

A Windsor Locks woman whose husband died of respiratory failure in 2003 while suffering from asbestosis, apparently stemming from asbestos exposure during his 32-year career as an aircraft mechanic for the Connecticut Air National Guard, will receive workers compensation benefits.

The woman, Rita M. Fredette, won the right to the benefits through a state Supreme Court decision this month, following an extended legal tussle with the state that turned entirely on procedural issues.

Fredette is the widow of John O. Fredette, who died at age 65 on March 25, 2003. He worked as a civilian mechanic for the Air National Guard from July 1960 until he retired at the end of 1992.

The medical validity of the claim never was litigated before the state Workers Compensation Commission because the state claims administrator missed a 28-day deadline for contesting Rita Fredette's claim. As a result, a workers compensation commissioner granted a motion by her lawyer to preclude the state from contesting the compensability of her claim.

But the state fought back, arguing that the Workers Compensation Commission lacked jurisdiction over the case because Rita Fredette filed her claim too late.

The case turned on the interrelationship of two provisions in the state's workers compensation law setting different deadlines for filing claims. The issue was technical and legally complex, but the state Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Rita Fredette filed her claim on time because it came less than three years after her husband's diagnosis with asbestosis of the lung.

It isn't entirely clear whether Rita Fredette's workers compensation claim would have succeeded if the state claims administrator had met the deadline for contesting it.

The notice of workers compensation claim filed in May 2003 by Rita Fredette's former lawyer, Richard L. Gross, lists the nature of John Fredette's injury as follows: "Occupational disease/pulmonary asbestosis from exposure to asbestos as an aircraft mechanic and death caused by complications of occupational disease."

Different picture

But in a death certificate on file at the Windsor Locks town clerk's office, Dr. Martin Forrest of Hartford, who was John Fredette's internist, certified the cause of death as respiratory failure due to "pneumo thorax," which, in turn, was due to "bullous emphysema."

Pneumothorax - which John Fredette suffered in the last three days of his life, according to the death certificate - is a type of lung collapse caused by leakage of air into the space between the lungs and the chest wall.

Bullous emphysema - which the death certificate says he suffered for more than 20 years - involves complete destruction of lung tissue, producing an air space greater than a centimeter in diameter.

Smoking is the most common cause of emphysema. A Hartford Hospital discharge summary from the September 2000 admission during which John Fredette was diagnosed with asbestosis of the lung says he "quit tobacco use approximately 10 years ago."

Asbestosis is listed on the death certificate under the heading, "Other significant conditions: Conditions contributing to death but not related to cause."

Manchester lawyer Brian E. Prindle, an emeritus member of the Connecticut Bar Association's Workers Compensation Executive Committee who isn't involved in the Fredette case, said death certificates aren't the final word on the validity of a workers compensation claim.

"The legal test for workers compensation is if asbestos exposure is a substantial factor in causing his death," Prindle said. He said doctors aren't trying to make that legal determination when filling out death certificates.

John Fredette's death certificate shows that no autopsy was done on him, and Prindle said that is common.

"Death certificates typically might carry some evidentiary weight but not typically very much," said East Hartford lawyer Robert J. Enright, who heads the bar association's Workers Compensation Section. He said the determination of cause is typically based on medical records and the deposition testimony of doctors.

Matthew Shafner, a partner in the Groton law firm representing Rita Fredette, said the death certificate would "not really" have been a problem if she had had to prove her case.

Combined cause?

"They both combined to cause significant problems," Shafner said of the emphysema and asbestosis. "The last person in the world who should be exposed to asbestos is a person who has an emphysema problem. They don't have much margin of tolerance for another pulmonary insult."

Rita Fredette declined requests for an interview, citing the emotion surrounding her husband's death.

The amount of compensation she will receive hasn't yet been determined, according to Betty Rainey, the administrator of the Workers Compensation Commission's 8th District office in Middletown, which handles asbestos cases from throughout the state.

But Prindle said the calculation of workers compensation benefits is usually a straightforward process based on formulas - and often can be accomplished without a formal hearing. He said a dependent would be entitled to 75 percent of the employee's after-tax earnings - or the earnings of someone doing his former job - plus a $4,000 burial allowance.

John Fredette was diagnosed with asbestosis in September 2000, when he went to Hartford Hospital with chest pains after painting a snow blower and spreading fertilizer on his lawn, according to the hospital discharge summary, which is part of the court record.

He told medical personnel at that time that he had experienced difficult or painful breathing on exertion for several years, with the condition growing progressively worse.

John Fredette also reported a history "of significant asbestos exposure in the National Guard," and Forrest agreed that he had "extensive asbestos exposure and asbestosis," according to the discharge summary.

At the time of the hospital admission, John Fredette had an "intermittent nonproductive cough" and couldn't complete sentences without shortness of breath, the discharge summary says. He was sent home on oxygen therapy.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

$3.4M asbestos verdict upheld

NEWPORT NEWS - The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a $3.4 million jury verdict to the family of a former Newport News shipyard worker who died in 2005 of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.

The court said Friday it unanimously rejected an appeal by John Crane Inc., the Illinois-based maker of gaskets and other asbestos parts that were handled by shipyard worker Garland F. "Buddy" Jones Jr. in the 1960s.

But the woman who spearheaded the case - Jones' wife of 41 years, Wanda T. Jones - won't see that money. She died of an unrelated cancer just three weeks ago. The couple's three children are the beneficiaries.

In July 2006, a Newport News jury determined that the family deserved $10.4 million in the wrongful death suit filed by Jones against three companies that made equipment with asbestos components.

Aside from John Crane, the defendants were Denver-based Johns Manville Corp., a maker of insulation industrial materials, and Garlock Sealing Technologies of Palmyra, N.Y.

A judge reduced the jury verdict to $10 million, the amount the family initially sought. John Crane, the jury said, was responsible for $3.4 million, with Johns Manville and Garlock Sealing each responsible for $3.3 million. However, Johns Manville and Garlock Sealing settled their cases before the verdict - for far less than the jury-determined amounts, Hatten said.

The $3.4 million award still ranks among the largest verdicts in a Virginia asbestos case, said Bob Hatten, the attorney with Patten, Wornom, Hatten and Diamonstein who handled the case.

Ansley Higginbotham, 29, Jones' daughter who lives in Orange, northeast of Charlottesville, said she and her two brothers are disappointed their mother didn't live to see the court uphold the verdict, but are grateful the "greatest legal minds in Virginia" found the award just. "It's a bittersweet day for our family," Higginbotham said. "It was important to our mother to receive justice in this case. She worked very tirelessly to make it happen, and I'm very proud of her for seeing it through during such a difficult time. She did not allow such a big company to intimidate her."

Because shipbuilding involved the use of asbestos for so many years, Hatten asserted, the Peninsula has one of the nation's highest rates of asbestos-related cancers.

Jones worked at Newport News Shipbuilding between 1963 and 1967, later becoming a computer programmer near Richmond. But he had enough exposure to asbestos fibers in those years to spur mesothelioma, a cancer that forms in the lungs, some decades later.

Jones was diagnosed with that cancer in January 2005 - 38 years after he last worked at the yard - and died within six months at age 60. He initiated the lawsuit in Newport News Circuit Court before he died.

Higginbotham testified that her father's death in a nursing home was an "absolute nightmare."

"It was intractable pain, pain that is not eliminated with any type of narcotics, and it's constant," Hatten said.

Jones' three children will share two thirds of the $3.4 million verdict against John Crane, or $2.27 million. Because the family had spent $100,000 for expert testimony at the trial, their effective award is $2.17 million.

The lawyers on the case, Patten Wornom, Hatten and Diamonstein, and the Colorado firm of Trine & Metcalf, will share the remaining one third of the verdict, or $1.13 million.

John Crane could still appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The company could also seek a rehearing by the Virginia Supreme Court.

Officials with John Crane did not return attempts to seek comment. The company had appealed the case on several grounds, including assertions that the trial court judge erred on evidence rulings and allowed the case to proceed under federal maritime law rather than Virginia law.

State and federal courts have the authority to hear federal maritime cases. Federal maritime law is considered a better route for the plaintiffs in wrongful death cases because it has a lower burden of proof and allows recovery for the suffering of the deceased.

But the Virginia Supreme Court disagreed with Crane on all counts and rejected the company's contention that the verdict was too big. "We cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in determining that the verdict was not excessive and not so out of proportion to the injuries suffered," the court's opinion noted.

SOURCE: DailyPress

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Guidelines Issued on Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Management

The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) has issued the second edition of clinical practice guidelines on lung cancer diagnosis and management, which are published in the September supplement issue of Chest.

"Other than skin cancer, lung cancer is now the most common cancer and is the most frequent cause of death from cancer in both men and women," write ACCP chair W. Michael Alberts, MD, FCCP, and colleagues. "In recognition of the importance of lung cancer in the population and with the rise of evidence-based medicine as a basis for diagnosing the disease and managing those afflicted, in the year 2000 the ACCP, through its Health and Science Policy Committee, commissioned the development of evidence-based guidelines on the diagnosis and management of lung cancer.... Fortunately, the pace of discovery in the diagnosis and management of lung cancer has quickened."

The new guidelines, which update and expand those first published in January 2003, were developed by nearly 100 voluntary faculty and ACCP staff, using rigorous adherence to formal guideline methodology, attention to process detail, and the newly developed ACCP grading system. The updated recommendations incorporate findings published in the literature since 2002.

New chapters added to the second edition guidelines deal with diagnostic surgical pathology in lung cancer, bronchioloalveolar lung cancer, and complementary therapies and integrative oncology in lung cancer. Topics that have been extensively revised to reflect recent advances include screening for lung cancer, criteria for determining when a pulmonary nodule is lung cancer, management of bronchial intraepithelial neoplasia/early central airways lung cancer, palliative care consultation, quality-of-life measurement, and bereavement for end-of-life care in patients with lung cancer.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • The use of β-carotene supplementation is not recommended for chemoprevention of lung cancer in individuals with a greater than 20–pack-year history of smoking or with a history of lung cancer (grade of recommendation, 1A).

  • The guidelines recommend against the use of serial chest radiographs or the use of single or serial sputum cytologic evaluation to screen for the presence of lung cancer (1A).

  • Reporting histologic type, tumor size and location, tumor grade (if appropriate), lymphovascular invasion, involvement of pleura, surgical margins, and status and location of lymph nodes by station is recommended for pathological diagnosis of lung cancer (1B).

  • To differentiate pleural adenocarcinoma from pleural-based malignant mesothelioma, a structured approach using a limited panel of histochemical and immunohistochemicalassays is recommended to increase the diagnostic accuracy; ultrastructural analysis and other studies may be needed in more challenging cases (1B).

  • Small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non–small-cell carcinoma parenchymal-based tumors should be differentiated, using a diagnostic panel of immunohistochemical assays if needed (1B).

  • In every patient with a solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) visible on chest radiography, previous chest radiographs and other relevant imaging tests should be reviewed (1C), and computed tomography (CT) of the chest should be performed, preferably with thin sections through the nodule (1C).

  • Tissue diagnosis is recommended, unless specifically contraindicated, for an SPN that shows clear evidence of growth on imaging tests (1C).

  • An SPN that is stable on imaging tests for at least 2 years does not require additional diagnostic evaluation, except that patients with pure ground-glass opacities on CT should have a longer duration of annual follow-up (2C).

  • An SPN that is calcified in a clearly benign pattern does not require additional diagnostic evaluation (1C).

  • When SCLC is suspected from radiographic and clinical findings, the diagnosis should be confirmed by the easiest method (sputum cytology, thoracentesis, fine-needle aspirate, bronchoscopy including transbronchial needle aspiration and endobronchial ultrasound-needle aspiration, endoscopic ultrasound-needle aspiration), based on the patient's presentation (1C). When there is an accessible pleural effusion, thoracentesis is recommended (1C). If pleural fluid cytology findings are negative after at least 2 thoracenteses, thoracoscopy should be performed if establishing the cause of the pleural effusion is thought to be clinically important (1C).

  • A multidisciplinary team including a thoracic surgeon specializing in lung cancer, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and pulmonologist should evaluate patients with lung cancer for curative surgical resection (1C). Lung resection surgery should not be denied based on age alone (1B). Patients with major factors for increased perioperative cardiovascular risk should undergo a preoperative cardiologic evaluation (1C). Spirometry is recommended for patients being considered for lung cancer resection (1C).

  • Patients with known or suspected non-SCLC (NSCLC) who are eligible for treatment should have a CT scan of the chest with contrast including the upper abdomen, liver, and adrenal glands (1B). Those with enlarged discrete mediastinal lymph nodes on CT (> 1 cm in short axis) and no evidence of metastatic disease should have further evaluation of the mediastinum before definitive treatment of the primary tumor (1B).

  • Surgical resection is recommended for patients with clinical stage I and II NSCLC and no medical contraindication (1A). Even if these patients are being considered for nonsurgical therapies, such as percutaneous ablation or stereotactic body radiation therapy, they should be evaluated by a thoracic surgical oncologist with extensive experience in lung cancer (1B). Lobectomy or greater resection is preferred to sublobar resection (wedge or segmentectomy) if patients are medically fit (1A).

  • In patients with stage IA NSCLC, adjuvant chemotherapy is not routinely recommended outside the setting of a clinical trial (1A). Patients with completely resected stage IB NSCLC should not routinely receive adjuvant chemotherapy (1B). Platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended for patients with completely resected stage II NSCLC and good performance status (1A).

  • Curative intent fractionated radiotherapy is recommended for patients with stage I or II NSCLC who are not candidates for surgery or who refuse surgery (1B).

Chest. 2007;132:1S-19S.

Clinical Context

Lung cancer is the most common cancer and is the most frequent cause of death from cancer in both men and women. In 2003, the ACCP first published guidelines for the diagnosis and management of lung cancer. However, many recent changes have occurred in the diagnosis and management of lung cancer, resulting in a need for updated guidelines to reflect these changes.

The aim of this article is to report on the second edition of ACCP evidence-based, clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of lung cancer.

The Study Highlights section highlights the chapters that have been extensively updated; these include "Screening for Lung Cancer," "Management of Patients with Pulmonary Nodules," "Palliative Care Consultation," "Quality of Life Measurement," and "Bereavement for End-of-Life Care in Patients with Lung Cancer."

Study Highlights

  • Low-dose helical CT, serial chest radiographs, and single or serial sputum cytologic evaluation are not recommended to screen for the presence of lung cancer.
  • When pathologically diagnosing lung cancer, the reporting of histologic type, tumor size and location, tumor grade (if appropriate), lymphovascular invasion, involvement of pleura, surgical margins, and status and location of lymph nodes by station is recommended.
  • Treatment of Patients With Pulmonary Nodules
    • In every patient with an SPN, it is recommended that clinicians estimate the pretest probability of malignancy.
    • In patients who have an SPN that shows clear evidence of growth on imaging tests, a tissue diagnosis should be obtained unless contraindicated.
    • In patients with a low to moderate test probability of malignancy (5% - 60%) and an indeterminate SPN that measures at least 8 to 10 mm in diameter, fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography should be performed to characterize the nodule.
    • Patients with an indeterminate SPN that measures at least 8 to 10 mm who undergo observation need serial CT scans repeated at least at 3, 4, 12, and 24 months.
    • Patients with an indeterminate SPN that measures at least 8 to 10 mm and who are candidates for curative treatments need transthoracic needle biopsy, especially for peripheral nodules, or bronchoscopy in the following circumstances: when the clinical pretest probability and findings on imaging tests are discordant, when a benign diagnosis requiring specific medical treatment is suspected, and when a fully informed patient desires proof of a malignant diagnosis prior to surgery.
    • In surgical candidates with an indeterminate SPN that measures at least 8 to 10 mm in diameter, surgical diagnosis is preferred when the clinical probability of malignancy is moderate to high (> 60%), when the nodule is hypermetabolic by fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomographic imaging, and when the fully informed patient prefers undergoing definitive diagnostic procedure.
    • For the patient with malignant SPN who is not a surgical candidate and who prefers treatment, referral for external beam radiation or to a clinical trial of an experimental treatment such as stereotactic radiosurgery or radiofrequency ablation is recommended.
    • For surgical candidates with subcentimeter nodules who have no risk factors or have 1 or more risk factors for lung cancer, the frequency and duration of follow-up (preferably with low-dose CT) should depend on the size of the nodule.
    • In surgical candidates with a solitary pulmonary metastasis, a pulmonary metastasectomy is recommended if there is no evidence of extrapulmonary malignancy and there is no better available treatment.
  • All patients with advanced lung cancer (and their families) should have palliative care integrated into their treatment.
  • Clinicians of dying patients with lung cancer should encourage caregivers to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the period of caregiver burden.
  • Clinicians of patients dying from lung cancer should honor rituals of death and mourning in a culturally sensitive manner.

Pearls for Practice

  • It is not recommended to screen for lung cancer using low-dose helical CT, serial chest radiographs, and/or single or serial sputum cytologic evaluation.
  • Important factors regarding the management of pulmonary nodules include the pretest probability of malignancy, evidence of growth of the SPN, the determinate/indeterminate nature of the SPN, and the surgical candidacy of the patient.

Diseases Associated with Asbestos

Dallas, TX: Although it was once commonly used for insulating buildings and machinery, the use of asbestos has declined sharply over the last several decades as people became more aware of the serious health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.

However, due to the widespread use of asbestos in the 20th century and the length of time it sometimes takes after exposure for a person to develop an asbestos-related disease, many people who were exposed to asbestos decades ago are only beginning to show symptoms of a serious and potentially fatal illness.

One of the most deadly diseases associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer which can occur in the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Some of the most common mesothelioma symptoms include severe chest pains, shortness of breath and a persistent cough.

Individuals who have manufactured, installed or worked with products containing asbestos are at a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma symptoms. People who live close to asbestos mining areas, factories that make asbestos products or shipyards where asbestos is used may also be at risk of receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. In some cases, the relatives of workers who accidentally carried asbestos fibers home with them on their work clothes have also been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Patients who have suffered asbestos exposure may take up to 50 years before they begin to show the first signs of mesothelioma. But in spite of its long gestation period, there is no known cure for malignant mesothelioma and the disease is almost always fatal.

Most patients who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis survive for an average of one to five years. The prognosis for each patient depends on the tumor's size and stage, the type of cells and whether or not mesothelioma treatments are effective at treating the disease.

The greatest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure are the result of lung cancer. The rate of lung cancer cases in workers who are directly involved in the mining of asbestos, or in the manufacturing or installation of asbestos-containing products, is much higher than for the general population. It is not necessary for a person to have smoked cigarettes in order to develop lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure.

The most common lung cancer symptoms for people who have been exposed to asbestos include coughing and breathing changes. Other symptoms include persistent chest pains, shortness of breath, hoarseness and anemia.

Individuals who have worked or lived around asbestos may also develop asbestosis or silicosis. Asbestosis and silicosis are serious respiratory diseases that can be caused by exposure to asbestos or silica. Inhaled asbestos fibers and silica dust aggravate lung tissue, causing scarring which may eventually lead to these diseases.

The most common asbestosis symptoms include shortness of breath and a dry, crackling sound in the lungs when a person inhales. In its most advanced stages, asbestosis may also contribute to cardiac failure.

In some cases, an individual who has developed asbestosis or silicosis may experience no noticeable symptoms. Currently, there are no effective treatments to reverse the scarring in lung tissue caused by inhaling asbestos or silica. These diseases can be extremely disabling or, in the most serious cases, even fatal.


Ireland has a high rate of incurable asbestos-related lung cancer

An asbestos-related cancer called mesothelioma is a particularly deadly cancer that has little help these days from the global medical community (probably due to not being a highly popular cancer).

That doesn't mean a possible treatment should be put on hold, but that is the way some Northern Ireland cancer sufferers are probably feeling right now. A new mesothlioma drug called Alimta will make it to Northern Ireland sometime in the near future (just no this year), as it'll be the last UK region to receive access to the drug.

What's worrisome is that Ireland has a high rate of incurable lung cancer due to its history as a shipbuilding country where workers were regularly exposed to dangerous airborne particles, with some causing mesothelioma cases.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wisconsin laborer claims mesothelioma in Madison County suit

Philip Cieslek of Wisconsin filed an asbestos suit against 88 defendant corporations alleging he was exposed to asbestos while working from 1959 to 2003 as a laborer, environmental engineer and wastewater treatment supervisor at various locations.

Cieslek claims that during the course of his employment and during home and automotive repairs he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers emanating from certain products he was working with and around.

According to the complaint filed Sept. 6 in Madison County Circuit Court, Cieslek was diagnosed with mesothelioma on May 21.

"The plaintiff's exposure and inhalation, ingestion or absorption of the asbestos fibers was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants," the complaint states.

Cieslek claims the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people.

Cieslek also alleges that the defendants included asbestos in their products even when adequate substitutes were available and failed to provide any or adequate instructions concerning the safe methods of working with and around asbestos.

He also claims that the defendants failed to require and advise employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.

Cieslek also claims that he has sought, but has been unable to obtain, full disclosure of relevant documents and information from the defendants leading him to believe the defendants destroyed documents related to asbestos.

"It was foreseeable to a reasonable person/entity in the respective positions of defendants, that said documents and information constituted evidence, which was material to potential civil litigation-namely asbestos litigation," the complaint states.

He claims that as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information he has been prejudiced and impaired in proving claims against all potential parties.

"Plaintiff has been caused to suffer damages in the form of impaired ability to recover against defendants and lost or reduced compensation from other potentially liable parties in this litigation," the complaint states.

As a result of the alleged negligence, Cieslek claims he was exposed to fibers containing asbestos. He developed a disease caused only by asbestos which has disabled and disfigured him, the complaint states.

He seeks damages to help pay for the cost of his treatment.

Cieslek also suffers "great physical pain and mental anguish, and also will be hindered and prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment, thereby losing large sums of money," the complaint states.

He is seeking at least $550,000 in damages for negligence, willful and wanton acts, conspiracy, and negligent spoliation of evidence among other allegations.

"In addition to compensatory damages, an award of punitive damages is appropriate and necessary in order to punish the defendants for willful, wanton, intentional and reckless misconduct and to deter them and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future," the complaint states.

Cieslek is represented by Shane Hampton and Tim Thompson of SimmonsCooper in East Alton.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack.

SOURCE: Madison Record

Mesothelioma treatment the traditional way

Mesothelioma Treatment

Cancer has become a major issue in the world of medicine given its growing number of types and causes. One can never escape the hazards of the world. Cancer normally occurs when a person is exposed to harmful substances for an extended period of time. One type of cancer that is fast gaining attention nowadays is mesothelioma. Traditional mesothelioma treatments are widely gaining popularity, too.

This is true when you have cancer known as mesothelioma. Having this disease means that you have a malignant tumor originating from mesenchyma. A large portion of the tumor grows into adipose tissue. Parts of the body commonly attacked by pleomorphic type mesothelioma include the leg, shoulders, gluteal region and the retroperitoneum.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that involves the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the tissue that is made up of mesothelial cells. These mesothelial cells are the ones damaged in cancer of the mesothelium or mesothelioma. The mesothelium is can be found as the covering of the internal organs such as the pleura, which is the covering of the lungs and the peritoneum, which is the covering of the internal organs of the abdominal cavity.


What do we do when we are diagnosed mesothelioma? Are there any traditional treatments that we can use to cure the disease.

It is not easy to diagnose or treat mesothelioma. There is no specific screening for mesothelioma. People who are high risk to develop mesothelioma should be checked periodically in order to spot mesothelioma at the earliest stage possible so prompt treatment could be done. There are some signs and symptoms the doctors watch out to get further tests to confirm mesothelioma. Pain, swelling tenderness to any area and a possible lump are the common complaints that are considered.

Blood test is then done to evaluate the person's general health. If doctor suspects that the person may have peritoneal mesothelioma, the person may have abdominal x-ray, abdominal CT scan or abdominal MRI scan to check and confirm for swelling and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

Abdoparacentsis or fluid drainage from the abdomen may be done to relieve the swelling and pain around the abdomen and to see if there are malignant or cancerous cells in the fluid. Laparoscopy or biopsy of the abdominal lining or peritoneum may be done, wherein they get a tissue sample of the abdominal lining and check if the mesothelial cells are damaged by cancer.


No matter what sickness you have there is a specialist out there who can help you find the proper cure even if it is for mesonthelioma. After the diagnosis and determining the gravity of the mesothelioma, treatment is done and there are different doctors that facilitate the treatment of the mesothelioma.

If treating mesothelioma is done through via surgery, the services of a thoracic surgeon may be needed. The thoracic surgeon is trained and is specialized to do surgeries of the lung, heart, chest and esophagus. If a patient has been diagnosed with plemorphic type mesonthelioma and it has been decided that the best treatment is surgery, then this physician is the one qualified to do the job.

Here are the specialists you should approach for your problems. They can recommend traditional treatment for mesothelioma or push for new methods given the advances in science.

A physician who specializes in mesothelioma is called an oncologist. The Radiation Oncologist is a physician specialized to render radiation therapy if it has been determined that the best treatment for the mesothelioma is through radiation therapy. This physician has the extensive knowledge and skills and is highly trained to administer radiation therapy to treat the plemorphic type mesonthelioma.

The pathologist is a physician who specializes in analyzing cells. This doctor has the extensive skill and knowledge and is highly trained to monitor and evaluate the significant cell changes that may point to mesothelioma. They analyze the cells through the specimens that are brought to them such as the blood, fluid obtained from the abdomen or lung, or tissues from the mesothelium. They interpret the changes and they are the ones responsible to spot damaged mesothelial cells by cancer or the mesothelioma.

The Medical Oncologist is a physician specialized to render chemotherapy if it has been determined that the best treatment for the mesothelioma is through chemotherapy. This physician has the extensive knowledge and skills of the treatment modalities of cancer specifically chemotherapy.

Looking ahead, never lose hope on how science can help a person recover from a serious illness. All that is needed is a little faith in the human spirit to triumph from such adversity. There is a cure for mesothelioma, whether traditional mesothelioma treatments or modern ones, and it is just there waiting to be discovered.

SOURCE: EmaxHealth

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Signs and Symptoms

Early Signs of Mesothelioma

The early signs and symptoms of mesothelioma are quite similar to pneumonia. They won’t be very apparent until one gets exposed to asbestos ranging from 20-50 years of vigorous contact with it. The early ciphers of mesothelioma are:

  • Chest Pain (Right, Left or even in sides)
  • Sudden Loss of Weight
  • Nausea
  • Pain and Swelling in abdomen
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sudden rise in temperature
  • Swelling of face, neck or chest.
  • Pain in Chest
  • Persistent Cough

Since, this cancer is caused due to the Chest cavity and the abdominal cavity, so the above mentioned symptoms are the most common ones in this disease.

Because the chest cavity and abdominal cavity are the primary sites of origin for this form of cancer, most patients who are later diagnosed with mesothelioma have the following signs and symptoms:

Generally, there are two types of Mesothelioma- Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma.

Pleural (Chest) Mesothelioma: Patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma generally experience breathing problems and/or pain in chest or backs. In this form of mesothelioma, thickening of Lung’s membrane takes place which interrupts in the general expansion and contraction of the lungs. The presence of Pleural effusions (the fluid build ups) makes the breathing difficult for the patients.

Peritoneal (Abdominal) Mesothelioma: Patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma generally experience pain in abdomens and/or swelling in face/chest or backs. Similar to Pleural Mesothelioma, thickening of the membrane also takes place here, while the fluid gets accumulated in the abdomen.

Anyone with a history of asbestos exposure is strongly recommended to get qualified medical treatment and check up immediately, if they experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. God Bless.

Causes of Mesothelioma

The main cause that can generally cause Mesothelioma is Asbestosis, which are fibers ranging from 50 microns or more in length and less than 0.5 microns in its width. The inhalation of such fibers generally results in Asbestosis.

The airflow supports its movement which makes its move in a longitudinal direction in the air. The asbestosis can penetrate respiratory walls as well.

Main Sources of Asbestos: The following are the main sources that can cause the asbestosis:

  • ·Mining of Asbestos
  • Asbestos Milling
  • Construction Factory
  • Textile Industries
  • Fire Proofing Industries
  • Paint Industry
  • Plastic Industry
  • Hardwares for Automobiles Industry (Brakes and Clutch)

Asbestosis is generally not confined to the people working in such industries. Their families are equally prone to this disease as well since they get exposed up to the fibrous dust coming out of the person’s clothing’s working in such factories.

The asbestos related diseases can develop in any general public if they are exposed to fibrous dust or wastes coming across from asbestos plants in the proximity of their residence. Typical residents exposure to such types of fibers is quite low, though and generally don’t relate to any diseases associated with asbestos.

Once the Asbestos fibers get inside their body, they get trapped in the form of brown colored scabbard, having rich density of iron, the asbestos bodies, which are generally found in the tissues of sputum and lungs. Then this leads to the formation of interstitial fibrosis in the lower zone of lungs sourcing to massive demolishing changes in pleurae and lung parenchyma.

Always keep yourself safe by learning how you can evade such diseases cropping up from asbestosis. Keep alert, keep fit and stay healthy. God Bless.