Many old homes, offices and schools in Louisville still contain asbestos, a fibrous mineral that's known to cause lung cancer. Asbestos can be in appliances, paint, floor tiles and heating and plumbing ducts. It begins to cause problems when something disturbs it; for example, during a painting or remodeling project.
According to files that have been recently released, there is evidence that Johnson & Johnson executives knew that their brand's baby powder had asbestos in it. This may bolster the cases of Kentucky residents who have filed lawsuits against the company. It has long been established that there is a link between asbestos and mesothelioma. The information that was released gives some insight into how Johnson & Johnson has handled the problem.
Each year, 3,000 people in Kentucky and across the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare type of lung cancer that forms due to asbestos exposure. Most people who have mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos while working. Mesothelioma has approximately a 40 percent survival rate if it is caught and treated while in its early stages, so getting a proper diagnosis and prompt medical treatment is crucial. Because most cancer cases are work-related, people with the disease may be able to receive compensation.
For Kentucky patients living with mesothelioma, the prognosis often isn't all that good since this is an aggressive form of cancer that's usually detected in later stages. While some cancer specialists believe that immunotherapy - the artificial stimulation of the immune system's natural disease-fighting abilities - has the potential to help patients respond better to treatment, there isn't clear evidence that it is effective with more aggressive types of cancer. This is why there is now a focus within the medical research community on a type of shorter-duration radiation therapy known as hypofractionated radiation.