Mesothelioma Suit- While mesothelioma is almost limited to the exposure to asbestos, the mineral, on the other hand, can also lead to other illnesses like lung cancer and asbestosis. Workers in various industries have been faced with hazardous amounts of asbestos in practically every phase in production.
There have been many alternatives for asbestos that have been proven to be safer for people, but many companies still opt to use the toxic mineral because it is more affordable than its fire-resistant counterparts. Companies and manufacturers are aware of the health risks associated with asbestos use and exposure but never actually publicized the dangers of it. Because of this outright disregard for public health, the companies have suffered the consequences of paying billions of dollars for lawsuits and settlements related to asbestos. Almost a hundred companies have declared bankruptcy because of this.
Because of the widespread use of asbestos in the 20th century, practically every person in the world has already been exposed to the airborne carcinogen. The risk of exposure to asbestos is normally minimal in individuals; however, abundant and frequent exposure, which is an often occurrence in occupational environments, is more perilous.
Persons who have mesothelioma have developed the disease through the inhalation of asbestos. The microscopic fibers make their way to the end points of small airways in the body. These, in turn, become wedged in the lining of either the chest or the lungs. After some time, these lodges cause scarring and genetic changes in an individual – basically developing pleural mesothelioma. Fibers that find their way in the lining of the abdomen causing peritoneal mesothelioma are those consumed orally, like through contaminated drinking water or through coughing.
As mentioned before, the development of mesothelioma takes a long time. Same goes for its diagnosis. Because the symptoms can be mistaken for other more common illnesses, patients don’t pay much attention to them. Various tests are also needed prior to diagnosis, including chest X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and biopsies. Biopsies are crucial in determining if a certain patient has cancer or not.
The International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) system is the formal system used to determine which stage a patient’s mesothelioma is in. The IMIG system divides cancer stages into four, using Roman numerals from I to IV. However, peritoneal mesothelioma has no formal staging system.
Mesothelioma has several treatment options, depending on the patient. Thus, specialists of this certain kind of cancer create customized treatment plans for every patient in order to get the best results and treatment. Doctors consider the following factors in planning treatment options for patients with mesothelioma: cancer stage, mesothelioma subtype, overall health, and the patient’s ability to perform day to day activities.
Standard therapies for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy – as with most cancer types. However, many medical experts have been conducting clinical trials to figure out new ways of treating the rare cancer disease. Unfortunately, there have been poor survival rates of mesothelioma in patients due to its aggressiveness.
FDA Warnings and Reports
Reports that date as far back as the 1920s have said that medical evidence had already surfaced regarding the association of asbestos exposure to the rare cancer and other similar illnesses as reported today. Many manufacturers and asbestos product-using companies opted to neglect the data presented.
Medical literature has reported that the average survival rate for mesothelioma patients range from four to 18 months. A factor to this low survival rate is also attributed to late diagnosis or the inability to diagnose a mesothelioma patient in the early stages of the cancer. Doctors typically tell patients that the prognosis is only about a year.
In January 1997, a group of doctors and medical professionals convened to discuss Simian Virus 40 (SV40): A Possible Human Polyomavirus Workshop; where the professionals present ideas and findings regarding cancer and its tumors, including mesothelioma. The workshop was created due to reports that showed the presence of the SV40 viral sequences in tissue, including rare tumors in humans.
The FDA also discussed drugs intended to treat mesothelioma in the Drug Safety Newsletter of Spring 2008. Pemetrexed was the first approved drug for malignant pleural mesothelioma. It was approved by the FDA in February 2004.
As seen in the FDA website, a 2007 brochure from MESOMARK was sent out to patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Mesomark assay is the first blood serum based test sensitive and is the most reknowned blood test for mesothelioma. The FDA approved blood test checks the blood levels for a protein from the cancerous cells called mesothelin-related peptide or SMRP.