This November the U.S. House of Represented passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013 on a party-line vote — 216 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted aye; 7 Republicans and 192 Democrats voted no.
November brings out the best in many people. The spirit of Thanksgiving is everywhere; on social media, friends are posting 30 days of thankfulness. I love this idea and have participated in it many times since I have much to be thankful for. But to me November is not a month I look forward to; in fact, I pretty much dread it every year since 2005. November means winter is starting, the days are shorter, it’s colder, it’s grey and dreary, and if we don’t have snow, we have rain and fog. My yard is all soggy, brown and depressing-- quite a change from the colorful summer and fall with all my many flowers blooming.
The importance of a healthy diet becomes even more apparent when your health changes radically with a disease like cancer. With the holiday season here, eating healthy typically seems more difficult since big meals and treats are abundant. For someone going through cancer treatment, the traditional fare for holiday meals may no longer seem appealing as well. Despite the holiday season bringing indulgences, following a healthy diet doesn’t need to be confusing. The definition of good nutrition is balancing important ingredients like water, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals to take in the essential nutrition needed to help your body function best. When you have a body and immune system compromised by disease, taking in a balanced diet is one of the best ways you can help your body stay strong and repair itself. Share these healthy eating tips with a loved one going through treatment this holiday season to keep healthy eating a priority.
The cancer community is all too familiar with the notion that cancer does not discriminate in who it affects. Often thought of as a disease for blue collar older men, mesothelioma has proven that it too does not discern between who is affected; the cause always comes back to asbestos exposure.
The bumpy rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called “Obamacare,” has earned some justified criticism. But much of what people are saying about the ACA ain’t necessarily so.
I am so delighted to be recognized as a Mesothelioma Advocate of the Month. For 10+ years, I have had the absolute pleasure of working as legal counsel for hundreds of families affected by mesothelioma. During my tenure, my journey has taken me to nearly every state in the United States and has allowed me to work with those newly diagnosed, those commencing or continuing chemotherapy, post-operative patients, as well as families grieving the loss of a loved one.
A year has passed since Superstorm Sandy, one of deadliest and costliest storms on record, tore through the eastern seaboard, and many are still recovering from the damage inflicted on their communities, neighborhoods and homes. Even more, some of Superstorm Sandy's victims still feel her savage power daily as they struggle to cope with the lasting health problems stirred up in the storm's aftermath.
As the season changes and ushers in colder temperatures, cold and flu season begins too. The influenza virus, commonly known as the flu, presents many symptoms similar to the common cold; respiratory inflammation, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, fever, and aches are common symptoms for both. However, the flu generally presents more aggressive symptoms and some people may experience vomiting and/or diarrhea as well. For cancer patients, having an immune system that is already compromised makes cold and flu season especially precarious.
In mid-September about 200 scientists, students and supporters gathered near the national parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. They, and others in major cities across Canada, protested what some are calling a “war on science” being waged by the Canadian government.
September happens to be one of my favorite times of the year-- not only because the weather is usually picture perfect and the leaves start turning, but every year my mom and I go to New York City for Mesothelioma Awareness Day. This was our 3rd trip and each year we love it more and more. It’s becoming a tradition for my mom and I to arrive a day early, enjoy a nice dinner and get ready for the bright and early wake up time of 4:00 am to get to the plaza of the Today Show by 5:30. We get there so early to secure a good place around the barriers to be seen by the hosts. NYC at 5 in the morning is amazing, it’s actually quiet with the occasional roar of a truck engine in the distance. By the time we are allowed onto the plaza for the taping of the show, there is a line down the block of people wanting to get noticed. All of us who were there for Mesothelioma Awareness Day were dressed in our bright yellow “Cure Meso” t-shirts and grouped together so we would be noticed when the hosts of the show came around. Strength in numbers!
In just over a week since the Federal government has become officially shutdown, another, perhaps more, upsetting side effect has come to light. From October 1 onwards, the family of any member of the armed services who dies in the line of duty will not be able to collect the $100,000 so-called “death gratuity” usually provided by the government to cover travel costs, funeral arrangements and other associated bills. Thankfully, the Fisher House Foundation from Bethesda, MD has stepped up to cover the grants until the government can reimburse the foundation.
Last week a former executive of Massey Energy Company was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for conspiring to evade federal workplace safety laws. A Massey supervisor and a security chief also are serving prison sentences.
Not only is the reality of a cancer diagnosis shocking, but also the tough discussions about what a patient can expect in the future can be even more daunting. Hearing the words ‘cancer battle’ doesn’t inspire confidence in a patient, even if their prognosis is favorable. With these negative emotions, finding peace with a diagnosis can help make life feel less ruled by doctor’s appointments and treatments. As with other problems in life, each person copes differently and in their own way. However, here are some tips for someone to consider when learning to cope with a cancer diagnosis.
For cancer patients, the word survivor can bring up a range of reactions and emotions. Some claim the word proudly as a badge of honor that they’ve earned through treatments and experiences with their disease. Some find the word survivor to be a little uncomfortable and without a concrete definition. Others prefer another word, like warrior or champion, instead of survivor. Definitions aside, due to better diagnostic tools and effective treatments, there are more than 12 million people living cancer survivors in the United States. Below are some ways that survivorship can be defined.
Dying to be Heard is a statement that perfectly illustrates what is happening to mesothelioma victims.
Each year, 3,000 new people are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. Of those 3,000 victims, only a small percentage will live to celebrate 5 years of survival. Most live a mere 10 months past diagnosis and, during those 10 arduous months, they are dying to have their voices heard—by asbestos companies, medical research organizations, potential victims, and those who don’t know about this disease. Mesothelioma is a completely preventable disease, yet asbestos is still not banned in the US.
Over the past 20 years or so, many state legislatures have passed “tort reform” laws. “Tort” is lawyer talk for “personal injury,” and it refers to the process by which people sue for damages when they’ve been injured. “Tort reform” usually means passing laws that make it more difficult to file lawsuits and limit the amount of damages that can be awarded.
Mesothelioma -- a long word you may have heard on a commercial or two, but do you know what it means? This rare and deadly cancer is sadly lacking awareness. In honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day this September 26, read on for the top 8 things you don’t know about this cancer, but should. Then share them. The key to saving lives starts with education.
While many citizens enjoyed an extra day off and huge retail sales on Labor Day, it’s important to remember the real reason we observe this day. Labor Day was created to celebrate the hard work put forth by American citizens and to recognize their economic and social contributions to our country. Labor Day is also an appropriate time to recognize the dangers that many American citizens face in their respective industries. While there are many ways that workers can be injured or killed on the job, the number 1 cause of occupational-related cancer continues to be exposure to asbestos, even 30 years after the peak of its use. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma cancer after a long latency period of 20-50 years and for some industries, asbestos exposure was a regular part of the job.
As a young girl growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Heather Von St. James loved wearing her Daddy’s work coat, the type that she could wrap her whole body inside. It was one of those large construction jackets and was often covered with white flecks of dust. There was something about wearing it that made her feel closer to him, as if he was enveloping her instead of four pounds of nylon. Whenever she had chores outside––whether to feed her rabbits or fetch the mail––she would slip it on and head out to brave the bitter northern cold.
Among the many challenges of managing mesothelioma are the difficulties in diagnosing and then following the disease for progression or response to treatments administered. One of the potential tools to help in this regard is an assay of soluble mesothelin related peptides, now a commercially available test called Mesomark. Mesothelin is a glycoprotein (a protein with sugar molecules attached to it) that is expressed on normal mesothelial cells but also over-expressed in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) as well as potentially in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. Soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs) are believed to be either peptide fragments of mesothelin (peptides being pieces of larger proteins) or variant versions of mesothelin that don’t remain bound to the cell surface. These SMRPs can then end up in serum or pleural fluid.