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Louisville Personal Injury Blog

Defactinib ineffective for malignant pleural mesothelioma

A COMMAND Phase 2 trial of maintenance therapy using the drug defactinib has been found unable to increase the survival rate of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. This aggressive and incurable cancer has few treatment options to begin with; Louisville residents should know that the primary treatment is chemotherapy using a combination of the drugs pemetrexed and cisplatin.

This, in itself, has limited results, and no approved therapy exists for addressing the cancer as it begins to progress. Researchers tested defactinib in 344 patients who had undergone at least four cycles of chemotherapy. A random selection of 173 patients received oral defactinib while the rest were given a placebo. For the first group, 4.1 months was the median progression-free survival: in other words, the time between treatment and the first signs that the condition is worsening. For the second group, that number was 4 months.

A swallowing problem may indicate mesothelioma

A Kentucky resident experiencing problems swallowing may have an early sign indicating a cancer diagnosis of mesothelioma. Known as dysphagia, this type of symptom involving swallowing difficulties is not usually associated with asbestos-related illnesses. However, a Spanish medical journal recently published an article expressing the view that a swallowing problem could indicate the beginning stage of mesothelioma. There are two types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma affects the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen.

Nine out of 10 people diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma experience chest pain, breathing difficulties or both symptoms. Some patients may begin to cough. Peritoneal mesothelioma affecting the abdomen may cause the stomach area to feel bloated or painful. Approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness are afflicted with peritoneal mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure is always the cause for every type of mesothelioma.

Systemic inflammation shortens lives of mesothelioma patients

Mesothelioma, as Louisville residents may know, is an aggressive cancer usually caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. Among mesothelioma patients, there are several factors that can determine how long they have to live, and Chinese researchers have recently pointed to systemic inflammation as one of those factors. Their results were published in Cancer Management and Research.

The body responds to mesothelioma by sending out certain types of proteins and white blood cells, called lymphocytes and neutrophils, to fight it; this causes systemic inflammation. The systemic immune-inflammation index refers to the various degrees of inflammation and can be measured via blood test. A high SII will mean shorter survival for patients.

FDA approves first mesothelioma treatment in 15 years

Louisville residents should know that mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer often found in those who have been exposed to asbestos over a long period of time. In May of 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved of the first new treatment for mesothelioma in 15 years.

Prior to this, many patients who could not get surgery could only receive palliative care (medical care treating the symptoms, not the cause) as an alternative. Representatives of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation expressed their hope that the new treatment provides one additional option for these patients.

Jury holds J&J responsible in mesothelioma case

While many Louisville residents may think only of longtime workers in the asbestos industry when they consider the rare cancer called mesothelioma, one recent verdict points to a far more common risk. Johnson & Johnson, the large pharmaceutical and personal-care products corporation, was ordered to pay $25 million to one woman who sued the company after developing mesothelioma. She said that the malignancy was caused by her daily use of talc-based products produced by the company, particularly J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The 66-year-old woman's case is not yet complete; the company was ordered to pay out $25 million in compensatory damages for her lost wages, medical bills and other expenses, but the jury will return to consider potential punitive damages against the company. The woman alleges that the company knew of the risks associated with talc and mishandled the product. There are over 14,000 pending claims related to the development of mesothelioma after exposure to talc products. J&J denies any link between talc and mesothelioma. It further argues that its products were never contaminated with asbestos.

EPA's stricter stance on asbestos could help sickened workers

For decades, asbestos was used in a wide range of industrial products and even consumer goods. Manufacturers added asbestos to products like brake pads on vehicles and the insulation used in homes. However, over time, it became obvious that asbestos was unsafe for those who had to mine it, and work with it in a professional capacity.

It wasn't just those who work in factories that developed asbestos products who became sick, but also those with regular professional exposure to abestos, like mechanics or those who work in construction. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a firmer stance on asbestos, which could be a good thing for those dealing with medical complications related to asbestos exposure, like mesothelioma.

Many elderly mesothelioma patients die without treatment

Mesothelioma specialists have conducted a study that may be of interest to those in Louisville who know someone with this cancer. Results of the study have been published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology revealing that many mesothelioma patients 80 years and older are dying without receiving any cancer-related treatments. These treatments could have increased the median survival rate, which came to only 4.1 months.

Of the 4,526 elderly patients who were analyzed, 63% were not treated beyond an observation from their physician while 22% received chemotherapy. Of this latter group, the median survival rate was a much longer 9.5 months. Elderly patients may thus want to bring up the possibility of cancer therapies with their oncologist.

How radiotherapy may extend the life of mesothelioma patients

The European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology held its annual ESTRO 38 conference, during which a study was presented that may intrigue mesothelioma patients in Louisville. The study found that radiotherapy, which has been used to control the symptoms of mesothelioma, may actually do much more that is positive for patients.

Namely, high-dose radiotherapy for the affected side of the patient's trunk, also called radical hemi-thoracic radiotherapy, will double the chances of the patient living two years or longer than if he or she did not undergo treatment. Researchers looked at 108 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Half were randomly chosen for this high-dose radiotherapy; the others had palliative radiotherapy.

Mesothelioma risk persists long after asbestos exposure

Workers in Louisville who were exposed to asbestos continue to suffer a risk for mesothelioma that does not decline despite stopping the exposure. In many cases, ending exposure to a carcinogen lowers the risk of a cancer diagnosis, as in the case of quitting smoking. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is generally caused by asbestos exposure. In most cases, it is linked to exposure in the workplace. Because the mineral was not flammable, did not corrode and provided strong insulation, it was mined and used in pipes, insulation and a range of industrial activities.

However, asbestos was only banned in most U.S. industrial activities after workers began developing cancer and other illnesses. Workers who continue to handle asbestos must use strong protective gear. For example, when asbestos is discovered in a building under renovation, leaving it at risk of shedding and distribution, special suits and other equipment must be used by professionals who will remove the asbestos from the site. However, leaving the workplace after an initial exposure to the mineral did not protect workers from developing mesothelioma. While a lung cancer diagnosis was less likely for workers who left an asbestos job 10 years prior, the mesothelioma risk persisted.

Certain workers are more at risk for mesothelioma

Those who work in blue-collar careers, such as manufacturing or construction, typically do so because they want to earn a decent wage to support themselves and their families. Most people understand that there are certain risks with their job, and they will try to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately, certain workers unknowingly incur significant risks while attempting to perform their jobs.

There are many different kinds of environmental risks that affect workers' safety. Environmental workplace exposure to asbestos is one that many workers fail to properly consider. After all, asbestos exposure does not cause immediate symptoms of sickness. Instead, it takes decades for the damage done by asbestos to develop into medical conditions.

You do not have to stand alone. Call 855-385-9532 to talk to a lawyer at Satterley & Kelley PLLC in Louisville.

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