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Louisville Personal Injury Blog

Genetic issues linked to mesothelioma risk

Louisville construction workers who have handled or otherwise been exposed to asbestos have often developed severe health problems in the years that followed. Small fibers of asbestos can become embedded in the lungs, leading to a number of serious diseases, including a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. While this form of cancer is rare, its development is predominantly linked to asbestos exposure on the job. Of course, not every worker who handles asbestos develops mesothelioma, although their health may be endangered in other ways.

Researchers say that genetic variations may lead some exposed workers to become more likely to develop mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. They scanned 84 patients with mesothelioma using a gene sequencing program to look for potential genetic issues that could make them more likely to develop cancer. They found that 12% of the mesothelioma patients had a genetic concern that could make it more difficult to repair damage done to cell DNA, which could make cancers more likely to grow and spread. However, the majority of the mesothelioma patients scanned did not have this type of DNA mutation. All of the patients had similar health conditions and clinical developments over time.

New drug combination may be effective against mesothelioma

Those who suffer from mesothelioma in Louisville may be interested in recent research that may help treat the disease. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that primarily affects the thin layer that lines the outside of many of the organs in the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the lining, or pleura, of the lungs. Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of the development of this type of cancer.

Though the link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma has been known since the 1940s, much is still not understood about this form of cancer, and successful treatment options are scarce. A new drug combination discovered by researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre is offering hope to those who suffer from aggressive forms of the disease.

Asbestos exposure can cause illness decades later

Many construction workers in Louisville have been exposed to asbestos over the course of their careers. Even after the dangers of asbestos became widely known, construction workers were still regularly exposed to the substance during demolition and remodeling projects. Because there is a latency period for mesothelioma, workers are often diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease long after exposure.

In the past, asbestos was used widely in construction for its strength, durability and fire resistance. It was used to make roof shingles, siding, floor tiles, bricks and many other parts of buildings that construction workers and building occupants came into contact with. The dangerous substance was even used to make fire-resistant kitchen appliances at one time.

Elderly mesothelioma patients unable to receive treatment

A recent study has looked at 4,526 patients age 80 years and older who died from nonmetastatic pleural mesothelioma. What researchers found was that 63% of patients were only observed by their physician and prevented from receiving any treatment that would have extended their life. Louisville residents should know more about this study, the results of which were published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

The authors state that 22% of patients received chemotherapy and had a median survival rate of 9.5 months. For those who did not receive it, the median survival rate was 4.1 months. Two percent of patients underwent both chemotherapy and aggressive surgery, and among them was seen the highest median survival rate: 12.2 months.

Mesothelioma in electrical workers

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by asbestos. Many people who develop mesothelioma were exposed in the workplace, including electrical workers. Some former electricians in Louisville may have developed mesothelioma as a result.

In past decades, asbestos was widely used in buildings because it helps prevent fires. Since fires may originate in circuit breakers, wiring and other electrical components, it was often part of this equipment. Asbestos was used as insulation for electrical wiring and in switch gears and electrical control boards. In large plants, asbestos was used in explosion-proof compounds. Asbestos was cheap to manufacture and was widely considered safe in the construction and electrical industries. However, companies that manufactured asbestos reportedly knew that it was unsafe.

FDA prevented from answering questions about asbestos in talc

Louisville residents may have heard about how Johnson & Johnson is facing numerous asbestos-related lawsuits. The plaintiffs claim that they developed mesothelioma after continual use of the company's talc-based baby powder. However, there is some question as to whether talc itself and not just talc contaminated with asbestos can cause mesothelioma.

It is a question that J&J and other companies faced with similar lawsuits have long pressured the FDA into leaving unanswered. Significantly, the Asbestos in Talc Symposium recently held by the FDA included speakers who have testified on behalf of the talc companies against the victims in these lawsuits. Medical experts who take the other side were not allowed to participate in the symposium.

Asbestos-related pleural plaque doesn't increase cancer risk

The cancers commonly associated with asbestos exposure, like mesothelioma, the cancer of the organ linings, are often hard to detect before they become quite severe. These internal cancers often don't produce noticeable symptoms until they've become rather serious for the patient. Later diagnosis can make treatment difficult and result in a worse prognosis for the patient.

Medical professionals are always looking for better and cheaper ways to detect dangerous cancers early, thereby improving the prognosis of patients and the number of treatment options available to them. Screening and testing for hard-to-control cancers like mesothelioma can give patients their best chance.

New drug may help treat mesothelioma

Patients in Kentucky and throughout the country who have mesothelioma will usually undergo chemotherapy to help treat their condition. In some cases, doctors may decide that radiation therapy is more effective choice in treating the underlying condition and keeping symptoms to a minimum. This has become increasingly true as radiation treatments have become more precise and less likely to kill healthy cells. However, the problem with this type of therapy is that mesothelioma cancer cells have proteins that make them less sensitive to the radiation.

The goal of radiation treatment is to damage the DNA of a cancer cell to ensure that it can't grow or spread throughout the body. A new drug seeks to block the Bcl-2 proteins that protect the mesothelioma cells. A study found that a candidate treatment was able to mimic the body's natural ability to accomplish this goal. Although more research needs to be done, researchers may be closer to a comprehensive treatment plan that may provide better outcomes for patients.

Who is at risk of secondary asbestos exposure?

Asbestos is a material that was widely used in the 20th century in buildings, construction and even in common household objects. Asbestos is widely known to be a dangerous substance now, but strict regulations on the use of the material were not put in place until the 1970s. This means that many people suffered exposure to asbestos until this point, particularly construction, factory and navy workers. Since asbestos can still be present in buildings that predate the 1970s, people can suffer exposure even today when renovating without adequate protection.

The reason why asbestos is so dangerous is in part because it can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, when it is inhaled over a prolonged period of time. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with the disease, it is likely that you have been exposed to asbestos either directly or through secondary exposure.

Hawaii woman with mesothelioma sues Johnson & Johnson

Louisville residents may have heard how Johnson & Johnson is facing numerous lawsuits from consumers who were diagnosed with mesothelioma: a rare and aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs allege that regular use of the corporation's talc-based baby powder, which was found to contain the mineral, led to their developing the cancer.

One of the most recent in the long line of victims is a 64-year-old native of Hawaii. She was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in February 2019 and filed a civil lawsuit in the Honolulu Circuit Court in November 2019. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Johnson & Johnson and the supermarket chain that sold the baby powder. The latter is being blamed because under product liability law, it had a duty not to sell unsafe products.

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