Surviving Mesothelioma

University of Pennsylvania researchers have announced that they will use a $1.2 million National Institutes of Health grant to study the residual effects of asbestos, the mineral that causesmesothelioma, on the town of Ambler, Pennsylvania.

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An NIH study claims to have found a better way to predict treatment response and survival in peritoneal mesothelioma patients. The information could be used to individualize treatment planning and determine which patients are most likely to benefit from aggressive therapies.

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An implantable catheter that allows cancer patients to drain their own excess lung fluid at home may improve quality of life for some mesothelioma patients.

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A procedure that involves washing heated chemotherapy drugs through the open body cavity after mesothelioma surgery may not be as helpful as some mesothelioma experts had hoped. 

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Patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a virulent asbestos-linked cancer, now have another drug option to choose from. Amatuximab, an investigational cancer drug made by Morphotek, has been granted orphan drug status by the FDA.

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A certain kind of skin lesion may offer a way to identify patients at risk for mesothelioma. Experts at the University of Hawaii, one of the world’s top mesothelioma research centers, say they have identified a type of mole present in people who carry a genetic mutation that may raise their mesothelioma risk.

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There’s more evidence that carbon nanotubes, cylindrical carbon molecules used in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields, may cause mesothelioma in the same way that asbestos does.

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Mesothelioma patients may eventually be inhaling their treatment medications instead of receiving them intravenously if current research in Scotland goes according to plan. Scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow are experimenting with a method for delivering chemotherapy medicine directly into the lungs where mesothelioma is triggered.

Read more HERE.

Pathologists may be able to do a better job of diagnosing mesothelioma in the lab, thanks to a new set of tools released by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.

Read more HERE.

Selecting Your Mesothelioma Doctor

Selecting the right mesothelioma doctor for cancer treatment is one of the most important decisions that mesothelioma patients will make. Mesothelioma patients should aim to receive treatment from a doctor that they can trust and who they are comfortable with. 

The expertise of the doctor you choose as well as your comfort level you have with them are both important in selecting a mesothelioma doctor. Here are some criteria used by some mesothelioma patients in gathering the information necessary to make that important decision. 

  • The number of mesothelioma patients the doctor has treated during his career. 
  • The results and outcomes of those cases.
  • The kinds of mesothelioma (pleural? peritoneal? localized? advanced?) the doctor has most experience with. 
  • The kinds of treatments used by the doctor to treat mesothelioma. 
  • If the doctor supports any integrative or complementary types of therapy.  
  • Whether the doctor is involved in any mesothelioma clinical trials.
  • If the doctor has any financial connections with any pharmaceutical companies or mesothelioma lawyers.  

The above are just some broad considerations to discuss with a potential doctor in order to help you in your analysis. You should also look at the doctor’s bedside manner and whether they are willing to take the time to make sure you understand all your options.  The ideal doctor should respect your feelings and concerns, facilitate open communications and give you the time (within reason) to make your own decisions.  In addition, you should be comfortable with other members of the doctor’s team – the nurses, office workers and others that you will be working with.

These considerations may help you in making this important decision.  If the doctor doesn’t meet your expectations find out if you have time to get a second or third opinion.  If you do, this may be the opportunity you need to find a doctor that is a better fit for you and your expectations.


[photo via]

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

A large multi-center Australian study has revealed what researchers say could be an important new biomarker for malignant mesothelioma.

Read more HERE.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare kind of cancer that involves the mesothelium, which is the thin protective covering that surrounds the vital organs within our body.  The mesothelium is comprised of layers of cells that form a protective covering around these organs. The function of the mesothelium is to help in the gliding movement of each organ against the other by producing a lubricating fluid. The movement of internal organs may be seen in such examples as the beating heart and expanding and contracting lungs.  


Mesothelioma, or cancer of the mesothelium, is a rare disease where mesothelium cells start behaving abnormally and divide without any control or order. They can cause pressure on organs and injure the nearby tissues. Sometimes these cancerous cells can even spread to other parts of the body through metastasis. 


2 Common Types of Mesothelioma

The two most common types of malignant mesothelioma are pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.  Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleural lining around the lungs.  Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the peritoneal cavity around the abdomen.  Peritoneal is the rarer form of the two subtypes.


All types of mesothelioma are caused by asbestos.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined and put into thousands of products even after industry knew it was dangerous.  In fact, documents produced during litigation have revealed that some companies knew asbestos could cause lung disease as early as the 1930’s.  Instead of warning consumers, protecting workers, and notifying health authorities, these companies hid this information for decades.  As a result of these acts, many people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.  Sadly, if the companies and behaved legally and ethically many of these cancers and other illnesses could have been avoided.


Today, there are promising treatments for mesothelioma but no one cure.  According to the medical literature, treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.  Sometimes these treatments are combined in multi-modality therapies.  In addition, there are clinical trials available for mesothelioma and some patients use integrative and complementary approaches.


[image via]


Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.




U.S. Military and Mesothelioma

There is a reason why 30 percent of all the mesothelioma patients are active military or veterans. Why is mesothelioma so prevalent in this group of people? The reason is that the cause of mesothelioma – asbestos- was used extensively in the armed forces.


Navy ships used a great deal of asbestos to avoid fires.  Many aircraft used asbestos for insulation.  And vehicles used asbestos in transmissions, clutches and brakes.


From the boiler rooms, engine and mess halls to the sleeping quarters, asbestos was used throughout Navy ships.  This made it very difficult to avoid exposure to the material.  There are even stories of sailors waking up and being covered in asbestos dust from the insulated pipes just above their bunks. Aircraft engines and cabins used asbestos to protect pilots and other occupants from the heat generated by the motors.  Most jeeps, tanks, and regular passenger vehicles all used asbestos at one time.  Mechanics were often exposed to flying asbestos fibers when they did repairs and replacements.  Even military housing was known to use asbestos in flooring, siding and paneling.


The sad irony is that asbestos is now responsible for many more deaths than most wars.  Many veterans who gave their service to this country are now being awarded with deadly and debilitating asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma that could have been avoided.  


Evidence suggest that those in the military or at least some military contractors were aware of the dangers of asbestos 50 years ago or more but continued to use the material throughout WWII, Korea and the Vietnam eras.


Today, there is compensation available for these veterans but, unfortunately, many companies that manufactured asbestos containing products for the military have declared bankruptcy.  It is hoped that the military learns a lesson from asbestos and does not needlessly sacrifice its service men and women of the future.


[image by expertinfantry on flickr]

New Yorkers and first responders at risk of mesothelioma and other cancers because of 9/11 toxic exposures are now in line for compensation if they need it.

Read more HERE.

A British organization established to support victims of mesothelioma is joining the call for a total ban on the substance that causes it.

Read more HERE.