While asbestos exposure is the most commonly known cause for mesothelioma, it has also been discovered that a mineral called erionite can be a cause as well. One case of erionite-induced mesothelioma has been reported in a male living in North Dakota.1 Similar cases with eronite-induced mesothelioma have also been reported in areas of Turkey. Because chronic erionite exposure must last decades before mesothelioma develops in the cases in Turkey, this single case report suggested that North Dakota (ND) may have a source for chronic erionite exposure.
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Chronic exposure to asbestos fibers is a major risk factor for development of mesothelioma. How asbestos induces asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, is being investigated and probably involves several mechanisms.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is primarily caused by asbestos exposure. To those who have never heard of the disease or have never known someone affected by it, mesothelioma may seem more like a foreign word than a real health danger. To help spread awareness about this disease, take a moment to read the key facts about mesothelioma:
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank Abigail Cashelle for sharing her story of how mesothelioma touched her life. Abigail is a twenty-something girl, living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (a connective tissue disorder), and our Advocate of the Month for July. Living the rollercoaster of illness and medical treatment has taught her that what's hidden beneath the surface is what really counts. Abigail blogs at Hidden Courage.
When U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2014 (S. 2319) to the Senate on May 12, he claimed the bill was needed to prevent fraud. But there are open questions whether the fraud the bill addresses is real or imagined, and if it is real, whether there is another way to address the alleged fraud that wouldn’t hurt the very real victims of asbestos exposure.
The 4th International Symposium on Lung Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma showed the spotlight on lung-sparing surgical techniques, lung-sparing adjuvant therapies, supportive therapies and potential future adjuvant therapies on June 7th, 2014.
Mesothelioma, like many cancers, has several ways to hide from the immune response and keep growing. Ideally, a person’s T cells would recognize the mesothelioma cells when they first become cancerous and kill them. Unfortunately, in some people, their T cells don’t recognize the mesothelioma cells as cancer and the mesothelioma cells continue to divide… and divide… and divide until the person has symptoms.
Veterans who depend on the VA for their health care and who hear the talking heads on television yammering about the “VA scandal” must be concerned. These include our many Vietnam veterans, most of whom are aged 60 and above now. Statistics tell us Vietnam vets are unusually susceptible to high blood pressure and cancer. Former Navy sailors and shipyard workers suffer high rates of mesothelioma. Gulf War veterans have an increased risk of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank our June Advocate of the Month, Berit Brogaard. Berit's grandfather suffered from malignant mesothelioma, which ultimately took his life too soon. Read Berit's story below and help share her message for raising awareness.
This year a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting went to Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit news organization. Hamby’s “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine,” was a year-long investigation of how the coal industry denies benefit claims of coal miners who are sick and dying of black lung disease.
In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness month, we are reviewing the effect of sunlight on human health and treatment of mesothelioma and lung cancers.Effect of Sunlight on Human Health
Sunburn damages skin and can increase the rate of some skin cancers,1 whereas sunlight in moderation promotes a healthy glow in people. Sunlight exposure helps regulate our circadian rhythms (day-night cycle), hormone levels, and vitamin D levels. Humans need 5 minutes of exposure to sunlight in their eyes to maintain the day-night cycles coordinated by the pineal gland. The pineal gland produces higher quantities of melatonin in the evening which helps regulate the circadian rhythms, the immune system, and hormone levels.2
The words “cancer research” may evoke an image of white-coated scientists working diligently in their laboratories. But cancer research is also about money.
Cancer patients and physicians often face the question, “Will this treatment benefit this individual patient?” Scientists prefer to answer this question by measuring a biomarker in the blood, urine or tumor tissue from the patient.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank Rev. Deborah Vaughn for sharing her experiences with mesothelioma, and cancer in general, as a professional chaplain as the May Advocate of the Month. Rev. Vaughn loves spending time with her husband and daughters, and enjoys gardening and cooking. You can read more about her experiences and stories on her blog, An Unfinished Symphony.
Shipbreaking is another name for ship demolition. It is the work of taking old ships apart for whatever can be salvaged — steel, bolts, cables, machine parts. It is dangerous work. Many old ships are oozing flammable fuel, for example, and sometimes workers die in fires. Other workers are killed when rusted decks give way beneath their feet, or when they are crushed by falling debris.
I always credit Linda Reinstein from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) with giving me my voice. Four years ago, it was Linda who started me on this crazy journey of speaking and sharing my story with others when she approached me to speak at her conference.
The question is bound to linger in any cancer survivor’s mind: what if it comes back? Cancer can recur even if it seems that treatment was successful. Cancer cells can sometimes linger undetected and slowly regrow until you become symptomatic. Your genes may have been altered by the cancer in such a way that you’re vulnerable to a new form of the disease.
It is estimated that two out of three people diagnosed with cancer will live five years or longer after their initial diagnosis. Healthcare professionals advise that the quality of care after a patient has entered remission will have a profound impact on the life expectancy of a survivor. Therefore, it’s very important to develop a survivorship plan to help you and your loved ones enjoy life every given day and adjust to your new normal.
When a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, a spouse, parent, or close friend often takes on a caregiver role. Since they are not paid, they are called informal caregivers or family caregivers. Most caregivers are women (60%), middle-aged, and have a full time job (59%).
A cancer diagnosis sends chills down most people’s spine and triggers much stress. The stress can appear as fear, brain overload, slowness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, worry about one’s life and loved ones, less interest in life, and occasionally nausea, and vomiting. Some people feel the stress as a hassled feeling of not enough time to get everything done, reliving regrets, and wanting to spend more time with family and friends.