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.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank Sara Gapasin for sharing her story about how asbestos exposure affected her family's life as the April Advocate of the Month. Asbestos-related cancer took the life of her grandfather, breast cancer claimed her grandmother, and Sara also lives with her own disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. Being no stranger to health adversity, Sara still shares a message of hope. Read on to learn Sara's story and share it to help raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may consider participating in a clinical trial.
Generally, clinical trials test experimental drugs and treatments and aim to develop new ways of detecting and diagnosing a disease. Doctors use clinical trials to determine whether a new treatment works and is safe—in fact, all new drugs and devices must go through a clinical trial before they are approved by the FDA.
There is an abundance of research demonstrating the importance of a strong immune system in the fight against mesothelioma and other types of cancer. Including a variety of immune-boosting foods can help you fight off the disease or prevent it from taking root in the first place. In general, a diet based mostly around plants, which includes many different colors of fruits and vegetables, will provide you with a good balance of nutrients and antioxidants. But if you’re looking for an extra boost, here are seven immune-boosting foods you can make sure to have in your diet.
Although the danger of asbestos was acknowledged decades ago, and although the mineral is entirely or mostly banned in most industrialized nations, the world is still feelings the effects of asbestos use. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), deaths from asbestos-related disease worldwide increased from 90,000 in 2006 to 107,000 in 2010. These are deaths from lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis caused by asbestos exposure, mostly in the workplace. As many as one in three deaths from occupational cancer may be caused by asbestos WHO says. Several thousand more deaths annually can be attributed to exposure to asbestos in the home.
Every year, 3000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
In 2005, I was one of them.
I had never worked with asbestos, but my father did, and secondhand exposure as a child was enough to make me sick decades later. I was lucky, able to make a miraculous recovery through surgery. But I experienced for myself the fear, pain and suffering this disease can cause, and I believe I’ve found my calling fighting for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.
Under the Law Code of Hammurabi, which dates to about 1772 BC, if Bob accused Jim of a capital crime but failed to prove his case, Bob would be put to death. And since just about everything — including serving watered-down beer — was a capital crime in those days, one suspects Hammurabi’s judges had a lot of free time on their hands. The cause of justice may not have been well served, however.