Katko Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Create National Mesothelioma Patient Registry

 Congressman John Katko

July 29, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative John Katko (NY-24) today introduced bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to establish a national mesothelioma patient registry.  The ‘Mary Jo Lawyer Spano Mesothelioma Patient Registry Act of 2015’ is district-focused legislation named in honor of Mary Jo Lawyer Spano, a Central New York woman who late last year lost her four-year battle with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related form of cancer that affects the lining the lungs, chest, heart, and abdomen. Spano’s sister, Meg Meccariello, who also suffers from mesothelioma, and mother, Elizabeth Lawyer, met with Rep. Katko early this Congress to advocate for the development of a National Mesothelioma Patient Registry.“Unlike many chronic and rare diseases, there is currently no national registry available for mesothelioma patients,” said Rep. John Katko. “These registries collect and consolidate information about individuals who suffer from the disease and provide health care professionals, researchers, and patients with the ability to search information about diagnosis, as well as track disease trends, risk-factors, and treatment availability.”

Spano’s father, Charles Lawyer, worked for an elevator company where he was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma.  Sadly, Lawyer’s family was also exposed to asbestos fibers from his body and clothing.  Meccariello, a former nurse educator at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, continues to receive chemotherapy and hopes that the creation of a national registry will give patients nationwide the hope to work towards a “new” normal way of life, even while recovering from mesothelioma.

Katko’s legislation creates the National Mesothelioma Patient Registry, a self-enrolled public database, which will collect and house information about individuals living with mesothelioma.

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