Mesothelioma / Asbestos Lung Cancer / Asbestosis: The Basic Facts About These Asbestos-Related Diseases

An estimated 2,000-3,000 new cases of malignant mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the US.

Malignant mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in people over 50; more often in men than women; and, the risk increases with age.

There are 3 types of malignant mesothelioma:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma, which accounts for 75% of cases and starts in the chest cavity
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma, which accounts for about 10-20% of cases and starts in the abdomen
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma, which is rare and starts in the heart

Workers exposed to asbestos in the past are at risk for developing mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, and asbestosis.

Asbestos-related lung cancer occurs inside the lungs.

Asbestosis is not a cancer; rather it is pulmonary fibrosis, or scarring of the lungs, that was caused by years of breathing in asbestos dust and asbestos fibers.


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Asbestos And Mesothelioma Information From United States Government Helps With Understanding The Medical Diagnosis And The Disease Process

We understand that when you are, or a loved one is, diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma there is a pressing need to learn more about the situation.

It is important in this situation to visit “trusted” web sites with accurate information.

Here are some web sites from the US Government which can be relied upon as regards the medical facts concerning an asbestos cancer or asbestos disease diagnosis and what it means.

Asbestos – Health Effects (ATSDR)

Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk (National Cancer Institute – US NIH)

Asbestosis (Medline Plus – US NIH)

Lung Cancer (Medline Plus – US NIH)

Mesothelioma (Medline Plus – US NIH)

What Are Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases? (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – US NIH)

Moving beyond the medical aspect, if you have any questions about the legal compensation claims related to asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma, please feel free to contact me by email or by phone: 800-426-9535.


 Mesothelioma, Asbestos, and Legal Compensation: Basic Facts

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Asbestos Diseases Continue To Be Diagnosed Today, Many Years After Exposure, And In All Types Of People, Not Just Building Trades Workers

There is a new comprehensive article about the affects of asbestos diseases in Britain which highlights the long latency period and why many “unexpected” people develop mesothelioma, for example.

This article, “Asbestos: The Killer That Still Surrounds Us“, by Harry de Quetteville, was published online September 1, 2014.  It deserves a full read by anyone who is interested in the asbestos-mesothelioma experience, from the diagnosis to the end.

From this compelling article:

The reason that we are feeling its deadly effects now is that, though asbestos use has been illegal for years (all types of asbestos were eventually banned by law in 1999), it usually takes decades for mesothelioma to develop. And the mesothelioma scourge is not confined to veterans of industrial building jobs. Asbestos has been, and in many cases still is, embedded in the homes we live in, the offices we work in, the schools we are educated in, and the stores we shop in. As a result, mesothelioma is no respecter of class, wealth, occupation, or age.

As regards this aspect, the article includes a three-part depiction titled “How asbestos causes mesothelioma“.

And here is another excerpt from this recent article about asbestos diseases:

With most cancers, it is hard to know the exact cause. Though some smokers get lung cancer, for example, not all lung cancer sufferers have smoked. But mesothelioma is different. In almost every case, the cause is exposure to asbestos – a fibrous building material once dubbed “miraculous”, but now known to be mortally dangerous.

The article includes a time line, “A brief history of asbestos“, with information about the rise and fall of asbestos use around the globe.

Again, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read “Asbestos: The Killer That Still Surrounds Us“.


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More Learned About Role Of CD157 As Regards Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Which Could Be Useful In Planning Mesothelioma Treatments

We are always on the look-out for developments that may advance the treatment options for mesothelioma patients.

In mid-August 2014 we found this news report, “CD157 important in malignant pleural mesothelioma”, from which we get this recent research information:

CD157 plays a pivotal role in the progression of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and may be useful in the stratification of patients into different prognostic groups, Italian research suggests.

CD157 is known to contribute to tumour progression in ovarian cancer by promoting mesenchymal differentiation, and parallels between ovarian and mesothelial cancer indicate that CD157 might also be involved in MPM, explain Ada Funaro (University of Torino) and colleagues.

To investigate this hypothesis, Funaro and team conducted in vitro and in vivo assays using human MPM cell lines and MPM surgical tissue samples….

“These data suggest that CD157 could be a promising candidate as a predictive marker of response to platinum-based therapy in biphasic MPM patients”, Funaro and co-authors conclude in Oncotarget.

We will monitor the medical literature for further advancements relevant to the care and possible cure of malignant mesothelioma.


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August 2014 Report About Clinical Trial Options That Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Offers For Patients With Pleural Mesothelioma

This August 7, 2014 article, “Clinical Trial Roster Shows Breadth of Ongoing Research”, gives us an idea about the current state-of-the-art as regards various new malignant mesothelioma treatments, at least those being pursued be the Mesothelioma Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York.

From that article, by Lee M. Krug, MD, a thoracic oncologist and Director of the Mesothelioma Program:

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we offer a variety of clinical trials for patients with mesothelioma at all stages of their disease. These trials focus on a range of topics, from looking for genetic factors that predispose people to mesothelioma to exploring ways to combine chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation to optimize outcomes. We also have studies investigating novel therapeutic options.

This article includes discussions about and identifies some clinical studies concerning:

  • Genetic Studies
  • Surgery and Early-Stage Disease
  • Systemic Treatments

At the end of this article there is a diagram of what is currently going on at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as regards malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) treatments related clinical trial options.


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July 2014: Texas Supreme Court Expands Substantial-Factor Standard Of Causation Rule From Borg-Warner Corp. v. Flores To Mesothelioma Cases

In mid-July 2014, in the case Bostic v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., the Texas Supreme Court held that the Plaintiff failed to prove that Timothy Bostic’s exposure to Georgia-Pacific’s asbestos-containing products was a substantial factor in bringing about his fatal mesothelioma.

In more detail, the Court stated:

  • In multiple-exposure cases the Plaintiff must establish the measured “dose” of asbestos fibers to which the mesothelioma victim was exposed by his working with and/or around the Defendant’s asbestos-containing product;
  • A Plaintiff cannot prove substantial-factor standard of causation without presenting expert testimony that the mesothelioma victim’s exposure to the Defendant’s asbestos-containing product more than doubled the mesothelioma victim’s risk of contracting that asbestos cancer; and,
  • In this Bostic case the Plaintiff’s expert could not conclude that the mesothelioma victim would not have developed his asbestos cancer absent exposure to the Defendant’s asbestos-containing product.

Put otherwise, the Texas Supreme Court expressly rejected the Plaintiff’s “each and every exposure” theory, under which each exposure to asbestos fibers causes or potentially causes the mesothelioma asbestos cancer.

Rather, essentially, this is now the law in Texas for all asbestos cases involving multiple sources of exposure, including mesothelioma cases:

The Plaintiff must present Defendant-specific evidence of the approximate measured dose to which the mesothelioma victim was exposed, and present evidence that the asbestos dose was a substantial factor in causing the asbestos cancer.


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Asbestos Defendant Garlock Misled Court During Bankruptcy Estimation Trial According To June 2014 Motion Filed By Asbestos Claimants’ Counsel

In early January 2014 Judge George R. Hodges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina made a controversial ruling that Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC’s liability for present and future asbestos-mesothelioma legal claims is $125 million.  This was far less than the $1 billion that had been asserted by the asbestos claimants’ counsel during the proceeding. In re Garlock Sealing Techs., No. 10-31607 (Bankr. W.D.N.C. Jan. 10, 2014)

Last month, however, lawyers for those asbestos claimants filed a motion to reopen that so-called “bankruptcy estimation trial” because it produced an estimation order which is “tainted”.  Essentially, their contention is that Garlock “has committed a fraud upon the court” by means of false testimony and the manipulation of critical evidence in this asbestos bankruptcy proceeding.

From the MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION OF THE OFFICIAL COMMITTEE OF ASBESTOS PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMANTS TO REOPEN THE RECORD OF THE ESTIMATION PROCEEDING (63-page PDF document) filed June 4, 2014, at the start of the Introduction section:

Garlock has misled this Court.  It has invited this Court to conclude, based on incomplete disclosures, misstatements and gross generalizations, that, in every case that mattered, it was the victim of improper withholding of evidence by plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that if only they had been honest, Garlock could not have been found liable for killing people with its asbestos-containing products and would have settled virtually all cases for nuisance value.

Of course, Garlock’s counsel will be filing a brief in opposition to this  asbestos claimants’ motion to reopen, and that should make for some more “interesting” reading as this Garlock asbestos-mesothelioma bankruptcy saga continues.


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“No Safe Use”: A Tremendous Piece Of Interactive Journalism About The Terrible Asbestos-Mesothelioma Problem

I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in learning more about asbestos and asbestos-related diseases — the tragic asbestos cancer mesothelioma in particular — take some time to visit this site: “No Safe Use” (Copyright 2014 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights).

It starts with a haunting picture of John Nolan, age 67, blinking his eyes, and this interactive site allows you the option of listening to Mr. Nolan tell the story of his battle with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Thereafter, you will find this seven-part journalistic report about the current asbestos problem in Canada with each part presenting some additional powerful photographs related to this terrible situation.

  • Part 1:   The Invisible Epidemic (which tell us more about the above-mentioned John Nolan)
  • Part 2:   Exposure Is Still Widespread
  • Part 3:   The Boom Years
  • Part 4:   Six Months To Live
  • Part 5:   Officially Safe In Canada
  • Part 6:   What Can Be Done
  • Part 7:   “Stuck In This Body”

From this tremendous piece of work, we leave you with a child’s note:

asbestos-note-by-child


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Medical Journal Article About The Clinical, Radiologic, And Pathologic Characteristics Of Asbestos-Related Disease Asbestosis

When asbestos dust or fibers cause scarring of the lungs, also called fibrosis, then the diagnosis will typically be asbestosis.

Although published back in 2002, this article from the RadioGraphics medical journal article, “Asbestos: When the Dust Settles—An Imaging Review of Asbestos-related Disease”, still provides a good overview of the clinical, radiologic, and pathologic characteristics of asbestosis.

From that article, which includes 14 radiology images concerning the asbestosis diagnosis process:

  • Asbestosis is the term given to lung fibrosis caused by asbestos dusts, which may or may not be associated with pleural fibrosis . There is a dose-response relationship between exposure and severity of fibrosis . The lag between exposure and onset of symptoms is usually 20 years or longer (sometimes more than 40 years) but can be as little as 3 years in cases with constant heavy exposure.
  • The changes of asbestosis are more pronounced in the lower lobes and subpleurally but often extend to involve the middle lobe and lingula. Upper lobes can be involved in advanced cases. Honeycombing, as in other fibrotic lung diseases, can occur in advanced disease but is not, however, present in the majority….
  • Features on chest radiographs include ground-glass opacification, small nodular opacities, “shaggy” cardiac silhouette, and ill-defined diaphragmatic contours. Honeycombing and volume loss are seen in more advanced disease.
  • CT, especially high-resolution CT, is more sensitive than plain radiography in depicting asbestosis.
  • The main differential diagnosis both radiologically and histopathologically is usual interstitial pneumonitis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

[Footnotes and references to associated images omitted.]

Some other non-malignant asbestos-related conditions that are less serious than asbestosis include pleural plaques and pleural thickening.

The asbestos-related cancers are malignant mesothelioma and bronchogenic carcinoma such as lung cancer.

This RadioGraphics medical journal article has discussions of and radiology images for those asbestos-related diseases, also.


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Penn Medical School Will Study Cluster Of Mesothelioma Cases In Ambler, PA, The Site Of A Long-Closed Asbestos Factory

The Penn Superfund Research and Training Program (SRP) Center has been established due to a $10 million grant from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

This grant will be used over the next four years to study:

  • asbestos exposure pathways that lead to mesothelioma;
  • the bioremediation of this hazardous material; and,
  • mechanisms that lead to asbestos-related diseases.

In more detail, from this June 9, 2014 press release, “Penn receives $10 million award to study asbestos adverse health effects, remediation”:

This award is the first NIEHS Superfund grant driven by problems identified in a community-academic partnership…. The communities of West and South Ambler have long been active in studying the ramifications of their town’s long-closed asbestos factory. Residents in these communities remain at risk for environmental exposure and a potentially increased risk of developing mesothelioma….

From the late 1880s through the present day, Ambler residents have had either occupational or environmental exposure to asbestos. As a result, both current and former residents of the area face potentially serious long-term health consequences….

The new [SRP] Center will tackle two inter-related environmental science studies and four biomedical science studies. The six projects were designed to address a community-based question or concern that been previously identified by the [Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC), which is part of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania]:

•Can we remediate asbestos without moving it from the original disposal site?

•What do we know about the fate and transport of asbestos in the environment by water and air?

•What do we know about the exposure pathways that were responsible for the mesothelioma cluster in Ambler? And why is the incidence higher in women?

•Is susceptibility to mesothelioma genetic?

•Can asbestos-related disease be prevented?

This sounds like a very interesting and worthwhile study regarding the various facets of the asbestos-mesothelioma public health issue.


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