When a person in the United States is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there are an overwhelming number of decisions that need to be made. In addition to choosing the right medical team and treatment protocol and making decisions about how to spend the limited time that remains to them, they also make a choice about whether to pursue legal action against those responsible. Despite the fact that most victims know exactly where their exposure to asbestos came from, and that asbestos is the known cause of mesothelioma, all too often American asbestos companies consistently argue against their own responsibility, making things extremely difficult for victims in their families. This is in stark contrast to the way that these cases are handled in the United Kingdom, as evidenced by the recent case of Mr. C. READ MORE
Despite the fact that asbestos is a known carcinogen that causes malignant mesothelioma, when it comes to enacting laws to protect the public, governments tend to bow to the will of industry. It happened in the United States, when an outright ban of the dangerous material was defeated by the asbestos industry: instead, businesses were permitted to continue using the product in limited applications. Now history is repeating itself in Canada, as our neighbor to the north has introduced new asbestos regulations that have been significantly watered down from what the public was originally led to believe. READ MORE
As a country, Australia has seen more than its fair share of asbestos-related diseases like malignant mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and asbestosis. The ‘land down under’ has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma deaths in the world, with over 600 citizens diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma each year. Much of the asbestos exposure that caused the high rate of mesothelioma came from the country’s long history of asbestos mining, though things have been made worse by exposure to asbestos-contaminated insulation, building materials and other sources. Because asbestos has caused so much sickness, death and heartache, the country banned it outright in 2005, making it illegal to mine, use, or import. Now it’s been discovered that 3,500 rail carriages imported from China by the Fortescue Metals Group have breached that ban, and contain asbestos-contaminated components. READ MORE
It is easy to focus all attention about malignant mesothelioma on what is happening here in the United States, but the rare and fatal form of cancer has had a global impact. Many countries have taken steps to stop the disease by introducing national bans on its use, mining and import, and that includes our northern neighbor Canada. Unfortunately, the ban may have come too late to stop the condition from an explosive increase in the number of people that it will affect, as indicated by the recent release of government statistics showing that the number of cases have nearly doubled in Quebec since 2010. READ MORE
It’s long been understood that mesothelioma risk is not limited to people who worked directly with the asbestos: the rare and fatal disease caused by exposure to the carcinogenic material also impacts those who are in their immediate circle, putting them at nearly equal risk, as even a small amount of asbestos fibers embedded in the cells of the body can lead to a terminal diagnosis. Despite this knowledge, it is still painful and shocking when real-life examples come to light, as in the case of 83-year-old Joan Morris. Morris died last year of mesothelioma that her family blames on years of having laundered her first husband’s asbestos-covered work clothing. READ MORE
Health and safety advocates in the United States are not the only ones struggling with continuing concerns over malignant mesothelioma. Countries all over the world are dealing with the aftermath of decades of asbestos use, and the problem is a growing concern in Taiwan. According to cancer researchers there, the number of pleural mesothelioma diagnoses in the country will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, and it’s as much a function of the country’s failure to effectively ban the material’s use as it is the difficulty in treating the rare and fatal form of cancer.
In the face of diminishing attention being paid to asbestos by the United States government, six different non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are collaborating to force greater oversight and more robust reporting standards over the material known to cause malignant mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. The specific action that has been taken are summed up in a petition, using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make a change to the chemical data reporting rule currently in place as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act so that it requires reporting for the presence of the carcinogen. READ MORE
Groundbreaking results in treating malignant mesothelioma were announced last week at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (ASLC) 19th World Conference on Lung Cancer. The news came from Aldeyra Therapeutics, Inc. a biotechnology company, has just completed its Phase 1/2 clinical trial of ganetespib, a selective inhibitor of heat shock protein 90, in combination with the standard mesothelioma treatment of pemetrexed and platinum. The company announced a 61% positive response to the therapy: this represents a marked improvement over any other testing involving adding to that protocol.