News

New Approach to Chemotherapy May Prove Helpful for Pleural Mesothelioma

When a veteran is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they are generally presented with a number of different treatment options depending upon the location of their tumors and the degree to which it has advanced in their body. When they are diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, which forms in the abdomen, they may be offered a combination of surgery followed by having heated chemotherapy drugs poured into the surgical site. This process targets cancer cells that are left behind from the surgery, but it is not available for those who are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. In pleural mesothelioma the surgeries actually tend to remove portions of the lung structure rather than simply targeting the tumors, and this precludes the use of the same type of chemotherapy, which would damage delicate and vulnerable tissue in the area. But now a group of German surgeons has found that by shutting down pathways from the chest to other areas of the body, they are able to use chemotherapy in a limited and targeted way that provides great benefit to mesothelioma patients.

The strategy that the German surgeons used in administering chemotherapy drugs to an isolated area within the chest is known as “isolated thoracic perfusion with chemofiltration”, or ITP-F. It offers the benefits of improved survival time for mesothelioma patients without the extensive risks faced by aggressive surgical treatment or administering chemotherapy throughout the body. The physicians tried the approach on over two dozen patients. Chief investigator Karl Reinhard Aiger explains, “The aorta and inferior vena cava were blocked at the level of the diaphragm and the upper arms were blocked by pneumatic cuffs.” This effectively protected the rest of the body from the impact of the toxic medications, which were then administered into the area where the tumor was located for just 15 minutes. The chemotherapy drug was then drained from the area using a filtering machine.

In reviewing the results of this innovative approach, the German researchers believe that it is an excellent alternative to aggressive surgical treatment or damaging systemic chemotherapy. They found that all of the patients that were treated using this method had positive results, with minimal side effects and good survival periods following the treatment.

If you or someone you love is a veteran struggling with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, having up-to-date information on medical innovations and other resources can make all the difference. Call us today at 1-800-726-7245 to make sure you’re getting all the help that you need.

Study Shows One of Three Mesothelioma Patients Opt Out of Treatment

If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, or you have a loved one who served and who has this rare and fatal form of cancer, you are faced with many difficult decisions. The disease is notoriously difficult to treat, and the therapies that are available only offer a moderate extension of survival and no hope for a cure. Though it has been well known that some patients choose not to pursue the challenging course of treatments that are available, a new study from the National Cancer Institute makes the extent to which this is happening clear: according to researchers, between 20 and 30 percent of U.S. patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are opting out of cancer treatment altogether. The study found previously under appreciated trends in which patients are likely to pursue aggressive treatment and the extent to which these treatments make a difference.

In the course of their research, the National Cancer Institute scientists were able to determine that one of the determining factors on whether a mesothelioma patient was likely to pursue treatment for their disease is the type of mesothelioma that they are diagnosed with. Pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common form of the disease and which takes hold in the lungs, has a patient population that is almost 80 percent older and male, and over 29 percent of those patients chose not to receive treatment. By  contrast, the patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, whose cancer appears in the abdominal region and who tend to be younger, are more likely to undergo treatment, and have a median survival time that is a full ten months longer than those with pleural mesothelioma.  Yet the patients who had the best overall survival were those with pleural mesothelioma who did pursue surgery and chemotherapy. This reflects a disconnect: the pleural patients who are opting out of treatment are cheating themselves of time.

Concerns Voiced About Radiation Therapy Spreading Mesothelioma Cells

It is an unfortunate fact that veterans of America’s military make up a disproportionately large percentage of those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Whether these members of the armed forces are getting their medical treatment at one of the nation’s VA medical centers or at another cancer center, they generally undergo a similar medical treatment referred to as a multimodality approach. This protocol, which consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, is thought to prolong life and minimize pain and discomfort. Though it is well known that these three protocols will not provide a cure, it is also hoped that it improves the patient’s medical condition. But a new report out of the University of Heidelberg is suggesting that the radiation therapy portion of the approach may be leading to the mesothelioma cells spreading.

The use of radiation therapy in treating malignant mesothelioma is designed to kill cancer cells. It is usually used after the surgical removal of mesothelioma tumors to kill any cancer cells that were not removed.  But according to the study published in the journal Oncotarget, there is evidence that the type of radiation that is most commonly used – low-dose photon irradiation, may actually cause cells to migrate and infiltrate other tissue in the area. This is apparently a result of a protein that the cancerous cells release as part of their survival mechanism in the face of the radiation.

The German researchers have determined that there are ways to prevent or offset this deadly result of the use of radiation therapy in mesothelioma. They have indicated that the migration of cancer cells to healthy tissue can be halted through the use of a special molecule known as an agonist. They also found that other types of radiation therapy, including carbon ion irradiation, does not have the same effect. It successfully kills cancer cells without resulting in the cells trying to protect themselves by relocating to another area of the body.

If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there are many resources available to you, including legal help, medical help, and emotional support. To access all of these easily, contact us at 1-800-726-7245.

Does The Risk of A Mesothelioma Diagnosis Ever Diminish?

Over the last 75 years, when American men and women have signed up for service in the military, they were aware of almost all of the risks that they faced, with the exception of the risk of malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, the deadly cause and effect relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma was only made public in the 1970s, and by then countless veterans had already been exposed to the mineral. In the years since, our military veterans have been forced to sit and wonder whether they would eventually develop symptoms of this deadly disease. Now an Italian study is indicating that the risk of one type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, begins to diminish roughly forty years after the date of exposure to the carcinogen.

In Italy, understanding the way that mesothelioma develops and the risk that asbestos poses is of the utmost importance, as the country was one of the world’s leading users of the mineral up until 1992, when its use was entirely banned. Researchers from the University of Eastern Piedmont decided to take a closer retrospective look at data from 43 separate studies done on over 51,000 workers who had been exposed to asbestos between 1970 and 2010. During that forty year period almost 43 percent had died, and almost all of those had a known cause of death.

The researchers’ conclusions came as something of a surprise to many in the mesothelioma community, who have long believed that the risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma never diminishes once exposed. What they found was that where risk of diseases such as asbestosis and bladder cancer never go away, when it comes to malignant pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of the deadly disease, the risk seems to stop increasing and may even diminish forty years after the individual’s initial exposure to the deadly carcinogen. Though this does not mean that people who have been exposed to asbestos are able to stop worrying, but it does mean that the risk stops increasing and they may be able to breathe a bit easier.

If you’re a veteran who has been exposed to asbestos, you need information about your risk, your rights, and the resources that are available to you. We can help. Contact us today at 1-800-726-7245 to learn more.

$9.2 Million Awarded to Family Years After Mother’s Mesothelioma Death

When veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma, their battle goes beyond fighting the ravages of the disease — they are also pitted against the asbestos companies that exposed them to the carcinogenic material that caused their illness. These companies were frequently well aware that the equipment, materials and parts that they were providing to the military and civilian companies were contaminated with asbestos, but they chose to put profits over people, betting on being able to avoid legal and financial liability for the harm that they have done. A case that was recently resolved in the state of Louisiana shows that though these legal fights can stretch on for many years, justice is frequently served.

The mesothelioma lawsuit involved Ingersoll Rand, a compressor manufacturer that was responsible for supplying parts to the Placid Oil Company, located in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  Mrs. Myra Williams’ husband Jimmy worked for Placid Oil and was exposed to asbestos fibers on the job. He would come home in asbestos-contaminated clothing, which she would launder on a constant basis, and this is what led to her mesothelioma. Mrs. Williams died in 2003 at the age of 59, and her husband and family filed mesothelioma’s lawsuits against Placid Oil and several companies that provided it with asbestos-contaminated supplies. Each of the lawsuits were resolved out of court with the exception of the claim against Ingersoll Rand. The company fought the mesothelioma lawsuit in court but was told to pay a total of $5.5 million in damages to the family. The company appealed the ruling and the case dragged on for over ten years.

In recent days, a judge from the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit listened to the case. Ingersoll-Rand not only argued that they should not be held legally responsible for Mrs. Williams’ death, but also that the family’s adult children should not have been awarded $750,000 each for their loss. The company claimed these damages were excessive in light of the fact that they were grown and not in need of a mother’s care. The judge struck down each of the company’s arguments, paying special attention to the extremely difficult death that Mrs. Williams had faced and the closeness of the family. The judge not only upheld the original award, but also provided additional monies in light of the interest accrued over 14 years since the original verdict, leading to the family receiving $9.2 million in damages.

Though nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one to malignant mesothelioma, the law provides financial compensation for medical expenses and as punishment for negligence. If you or someone you love has been a victim of asbestos company negligence and you would like to learn more about your legal rights, contact us today at 1-800-726-7245.

Philadelphia Lawsuit Expands View of Mesothelioma’s Causes

For veterans of America’s military who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there is little question as to how they came to have this rare and fatal disease. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a material that was widely used by the military in multiple applications. From the fabrication of battleships and the insulation of boilers to the brake linings of vehicles, the toxic mineral surrounded those who served between the World Wars and the Vietnam years, and exposure continued for those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq from asbestos-contaminated structures in the battle field. But for those in the civilian community, exposure to asbestos has come from totally different types of products, including some that seem totally innocent and harmless. A lawsuit filed in Philadelphia, as well as other recent cases, are pointing to cosmetic talcum powder as a possible source.

Talcum powder has been a growing source of concern among the cancer community, but only recently has it been associated with malignant mesothelioma. There have been a number of reports of its use being tied to ovarian cancer, as many women used the product to promote dryness, sprinkling it into their underwear. Scientists are now attributing numerous cases of malignant mesothelioma to the use of cosmetic talcum powder. This is because talc is a mineral that is mined from the same locations as asbestos, and it is frequently contaminated by the toxic substance. When people use the powder it is easily inhaled, allowing asbestos’ fibers to become embedded in the lungs and eventually leading to the growth of malignant mesothelioma’s tumors.

Where physicians and attorneys consulting with malignant mesothelioma victims have traditionally asked questions about occupational exposure to the carcinogen, those questions are now expanding to whether people used talcum powder in the past. In the Philadelphia case, Sally Brandt use Cashmere Bouquet powder between 1954 and 1970. In a case heard in the state of California last year, a man who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma was awarded $18 million by a jury who heard about his exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc in the barber shop where his father had worked when he was a child.

No matter where you were exposed to asbestos, you are deserving of compensation for the damages that you have suffered. Veterans are entitled to certain benefits from the V.A., but are also able to seek compensation from those who supplied the government during your years of service. For more information, contact us. We can be reached at 1-800-726-7245.

Veterans’ Response to Mesothelioma Chemotherapy May Be Impacted by Social Interaction

When malignant mesothelioma strikes a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, it generally comes as a shock that their asbestos-related illness is caused by their time serving the country. Unfortunately, that is often the case. Prior to learning that asbestos is carcinogenic, the government placed a high value on using the material to provide strength and insulation to many of the service’s most essential assets, including Navy ships, munitions, barracks, and more. It is for this reason that America’s veterans represent roughly 30%  of those who suffer from mesothelioma.

Fortunately for veterans with mesothelioma, in addition to their family, friends and  medical care professionals, when they are diagnosed they often have each other to provide support. According to a new report by the National Institutes of Health, having a positive level of social interaction can make an enormous difference in how well a patient responds to their treatment protocol. In fact, according to a study published in the journal Network Science, cancer patients who go through chemotherapy treatments in the company of others patients who survive more than 5 years after treatment have a higher likelihood of also surviving for that length of time.

The study represents a joint effort between the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and that National Human Genome Research Institute. Lead author Jeff Lienert explained that he and his fellow researchers pulled data from electronic medical records kept between 2000 and 2009 and compared the different patients and their survival to see who had spent the most time together. They were then able to statistically correlate the patients with the best survival times. According to Lienert, “We had information on when patients checked in and out of the chemotherapy ward, a small intimate space where people could see and interact for a long period of time. A two percent difference in survival – between being isolated during treatment and being with other patients – might not sound like a lot, but it’s pretty substantial.”

Leinert encourages those whose family members and friends have been diagnose with mesothelioma to go along to treatment to provide support. “Positive social support during the exact moments of greatest stress is crucial. If you have a friend with cancer, keeping him or her company during chemotherapy probably will help reduce their stress. The impact is likely to be as effective, and possibly more effective, than cancer patients interacting with other cancer patients.”

If you or someone you love is a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and you need information on your rights or the resources available to you, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-726-7245.

Cleveland Asbestos Crime All Too Familiar to Veterans with Mesothelioma

Veterans of the U.S. military faced many obstacles and dangers during the time of their service, but for many who survived and came home, the biggest danger of all remained to be seen in the form of mesothelioma. Countless service men and women were exposed to asbestos during the time that they served, and as a result they are at risk for being diagnosed with asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and the rare and deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma, which claims roughly 3,500 American lives per year. As much damage as asbestos did to those in the military, it remains a threat to the public if it is improperly handled when removed from the locations where it was originally used. This was recently made all too clear in Cleveland, where a businessman has been fined a total of $7.8 million and faces five years in prison for his negligent handling of the lethal materials.

Christopher Gattarello is the person who has been blamed for causing potential harm to an entire community as a result of his crimes involving a structure that he purchased as a storage facility. What was once the National Acme plant was heavily contaminated with asbestos, but after using the building for his initial purposes, Gattarello decided to demolish it and sell the metal for scrap. He did so without the proper inspections or asbestos mitigation processes, and this resulted in asbestos fibers being released into the air in close proximity to a residential neighborhood and a school.

Families who live in the neighborhood are justifiably concerned that they and their children are now at risk for being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, and the Environmental Protection Agency and the city of Cleveland both took immediate action to stop the demolition as well as to take legal action against Gattarello. He will be required to pay $800,000 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to compensate them for cleanup work that they had to do on the site, as well as $5.9 million to the city. He has also been told to pay $1.1 million to a financial company that he defrauded. Speaking of the incident, US. Attorney David A. Sierleja said, “Mr. Gattarello created a garbage dump in a residential neighborhood near a school, which remains an environmental hazard. He has caused irreparable harm and deserves this punishment.”

Any veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma knows the devastation that the disease causes, and will agree with the U.S. Attorney’s statement. For those who are struggling with the disease, help is available through the V.A. as well as through legal actions that can be taken against asbestos companies that supplied the government. For more information, contact the Veterans Mesothelioma Benefits Center today at 1-800-726-7245

Railroad Worker’s Asbestos Case Familiar to Veterans with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are more likely to strike those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forced than any other group. That is because during the years between World War II and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the military purchased and used many items and components that were contaminated with the deadly carcinogen. As those who served this country have learned of their illness, they have been forced to fight legal battles against the companies that knowingly supplied the government with products that caused harm – so they have tremendous sympathy for others in the same position. They are carefully watching the legal case of Kevin Howell, a railroad worker struck with asbestos-related lung cancer who is fighting Consolidated Rail Corporation for compensation for the injuries he suffered as a result of his work for the railroad.

The asbestos lawsuit that Mr. Howell filed against Consolidated Rail Corporation faced legal challenges from the very start. Mr. Howell had worked for the company for 38 years, from 1975 through 2013. His responsibilities included maintenance and repair of railroad signals and signal houses that were constructed using asbestos boards, and as a result he was frequently exposed to asbestos dust during his decades of work. In 2015, two years after he retired, he was diagnosed with both lung cancer and lung disease, which his doctor attributed to his years of exposure to the carcinogenic material. But when he filed a claim against Consolidated Rail for compensation, he was immediately faced with a motion for his case to be dismissed. The company’s attorneys indicated that because he had been a heavy smoker for 45 years he had a different burden of proof than non-smokers do, and that he had not provided sufficient evidence of the company’s liability for the case to proceed.

The Court of Appeals of Ohio heard the case. After a careful review of the law, the testimony and documentation provided by Mr. Howell’s physician, and the testimony provided by Mr. Howell and his former co-workers regarding their exposure to asbestos, they decided that the evidence was strongly in his favor in terms of enough evidence having been provided to proceed. They also ordered the railroad company to pay all of the legal fees that he incurred while fighting for his rights.

If you are a veteran and you have been victimized by one of the asbestos companies that supplied the government – or even if you just need help getting your VA benefits –  then you need the help of an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Contact us today to learn about the assistance we can provide. We can be reached at  1-800-726-7245.

Veterans With Mesothelioma Can Benefit from Hospice Care

Mesothelioma is a cruel and punishing terminal disease. It is a form of cancer that has no known cure and which generally has a very short period of time between when it is diagnosed and when it eventually claims the life of its victims. If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is essential that you understand your condition: what caused it; how best to treat it; what to do in the time you have remaining; and what the different services are that can help you through this difficult time. One of the most valuable resources available to you is hospice care.

Veterans with mesothelioma have to face many realities in a very short period of time. The illness generally claims the lives of its victims within two years of diagnosis. For those who served in the American Armed Forces, this means that they have to quickly deal with the fact that their time in the service exposed them to a deadly carcinogen, often with the asbestos companies that were supplying the government well aware of the risk. They have to make decisions about pursuing justice against these companies while also assessing their medical choices. And they have to consider how they want to spend their final days, once medical treatment offers no further hope for extended survival.

Hospice is a type of care. It can be provided to mesothelioma patients in a dedicated hospice facility or in a VA hospital or facility. it can even be provided in the victim’s own home. What distinguishes hospice care from medical treatment is that it is specifically designed to improve quality of life and support in the patient’s final days, providing comfort and relief from pain while also alleviating the hardship on the patient’s loved ones. Though it can be difficult to recognize when it is time to involve hospice professionals, your medical team will likely be able to provide you with information about its advantages and disadvantages and when it is time.

Hospice is far more than providing pain relief or dispensing medication. It provides emotional support and comfort, spiritual counseling and safety. It does not replace medical care so much as supplement it, and for many dealing with a terminal condition, it is the most valuable part of their care team. Similarly, an experienced mesothelioma attorney may be the most valuable member of the team ensuring that you get justice from the companies responsible for your illness. For more information on your legal rights, contact us today at  1-800-726-7245