When well-known people are diagnosed with a disease, it tends to shine a brighter line and raise heightened awareness, and the rare form of cancer known as malignant mesothelioma is no exception. Though there have been internationally-renowned celebrities like Steve McQueen and Warren Zevon whose asbestos-related illnesses have gotten a lot of attention, the impact of a diagnosis being revealed can also be great when the victim is a local celebrity. That is what has happened in Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, where long-time Parish Council member and Housing Authority member Jimmy Lawson was diagnosed less than a year ago. Continue reading
As every veteran diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma knows, asbestos is a highly carcinogenic, dangerous material that has caused sorrow and suffering to countless families. As a result, the proposed changes to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on asbestos are sending shockwaves through the world of health advocates and environmental safety experts. Though the agency insists that the changes are not meant to provide a path for the revival of asbestos’ use into American industry, people in the know are saying that the changes will result in many more people being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma know exactly what made them sick. It was the asbestos in boiler rooms or shipyards, or raining down on them in their bunks or barracks while they were serving their country. Carmella Silva fears the same outcome for her neighbors and family as she watches plastic sheeting designed to protect her family from asbestos flapping in the wind and allowing the particles to float over to her house from the abandoned factory across the street from her Holbrook, Massachusetts home.
If you’re a veteran who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, or any other asbestos-related disease, you are well aware of how dangerous asbestos is. The mineral was widely used in military settings before the government had learned that it is carcinogenic: since that time, it has been removed from military settings and the VA provides special benefits for veterans affected by the dangerous mineral. That being the case, it seems incredible that the Environmental Protection Agency is about to enact new rules that will allow more uses of asbestos in the United States, but that’s what they’re about to do unless the public outcry is great enough.
Now that the fire has been extinguished and the smoke has cleared, residents and neighbors of a Colorado apartment building that went up in flames have another thing to worry about: mesothelioma. According to authorities inspecting the site of the deadly arson fire, the Westbury Apartment building in Westminster, Colorado was constructed using asbestos, and as a result there is significant risk of dangerous asbestos exposure to anybody who is in the vicinity. Firefighters and inspectors are warning residents that they may never be able to return to the building again because of the friable asbestos that remains behind in the building, and those who live downwind or downstream of the building have been warned that they may have inhaled asbestos in smoke or ash, and that water runoff may have contaminated their groundwater.
Remarkable measures have been taken in Libby, Montana to stop the area’s mesothelioma trends. Libby was the site of the notorious W. R. Grace vermiculite mine that caused thousands of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths, and since the area’s contamination was discovered, the EPA has invested millions and years into clean-up efforts. Still, despite the enormous amount of work that has been put into ridding the area of the carcinogenic material, there is still a significant amount of it present in the ground in the surrounding areas, and it presents a special test for firefighters sent to fight the Highway 37 Fire.
For some New Yorkers, the news of last week’s steam pipe explosion has raised significant fear about asbestos exposure in the city, and the risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases. Others are shrugging the issue off. For veterans who have been diagnosed with one of this life-changing diseases, the wisest course lies somewhere in between. Though a single exposure to asbestos does not carry the same type of risk as long-term exposure to high concentrations of the deadly mineral, they also warn that it is something to be taken seriously.
Attendees at this year’s meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) were treated to promising news regarding the fight against malignant mesothelioma by renowned researcher Anna Nowak, MD, PhD of the University of Western Australia. Nowak was recently Cancer Council Western Australia’s (CCWA) WA Cancer Researcher of the Year, and is working towards breaking past the frustrations that the rare and deadly form of cancer presents in terms of its response to traditional protocols like chemotherapy.
To mesothelioma victims, the idea of taking an excursion to visit an asbestos-contaminated site makes about as much sense as a tour of Love Canal or Chernobyl – and that’s exactly what the Australian state government is trying to express when it warns tourists away from the Western Australia town of Wittenoom. The famous ghost town was largely abandoned back in the 1970s after thousands of residents were sickened by asbestos exposure that still remains, but that hasn’t stopped both guidebook company Lonely Planet and countless YouTube videos from inviting people to stop by for a visit. Continue reading
It is easy for veterans and others diagnosed with mesothelioma to feel like there is nobody who understands what they’re going through, or the wrong that’s been done to them. But that’s not true. If you ask your physician or any of the mesothelioma resource professionals available to you, you’ll be told that mesothelioma is rare, but that there are roughly 2,500 more victims just like you diagnosed each year. And according to the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH), there may actually be far more than that.