Mesothelioma, One Rare Disease in the Spotlight

Mesothelioma is one of more than 7,000 rare diseases that will be in the spotlight on National Rare Disease Day on February 28th. The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), a consortium of patient organizations, is sponsoring the day to draw attention to mesothelioma and other rare conditions that affect some 30 million Americans. In the U.S., a disease is defined as rare or ‘orphan’ if it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates that fewer than 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.  Disturbingly, however, the incidence of mesothelioma has risen over the past 20 years in the U.S., and is still rising in Europe. Malignant mesothelioma is the most aggressive … Continue reading Mesothelioma, One Rare Disease in the Spotlight »

Mesothelioma Causes Turkish Village To Be Evacuated

The Associated Press is reporting that an epidemic of mesothelioma cases is forcing the evacuation of a small Turkish village. Turkey has long been a favorite setting for researchers around the world studying mesothelioma.  A prevalence of a mineral in the soil called erionite appears to dramatically increase the risk that some residents will get the cancer most closely associated with asbestos exposure. According to the AP report, the town of Tuzkoy has a rate of mesothelioma that is 600 to 800 times higher than it is elsewhere in the world.  About 48 percent of deaths in that town, as well as in the nearby villages of Sarihidir and Karain, are from mesothelioma. Tuzkoy was declared a hazardous zone in 2004 and … Continue reading Mesothelioma Causes Turkish Village To Be Evacuated »

Controversy over California State Rock Raises Awareness

People opposed to a proposal to drop serpentine as California’s official state rock are making their voices heard.  But the asbestos awareness group that helped craft the legislation says the debate is actually helping to fuel their cause. Linda Reinstein is co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the largest independent organization dedicated to preventing asbestos-related diseases through education and legislation.  The group worked with California legislators to draft Senate Bill 624 which would strip serpentine – the host rock for the toxic mineral asbestos – of the title it has held since 1965. “This is a symbolic move meant to show support for patients and for families who have lost loved one to asbestos-related diseases,” says Reinstein.  “California … Continue reading Controversy over California State Rock Raises Awareness »

Outdoor Recreation Could Pose Mesothelioma Risk in California

Outdoor enthusiasts are being warned to steer clear of the trails around abandoned gold mines in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, or risk mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. A study by The Sierra Fund (TSF) says mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders in these areas could be in danger of serious health hazards including mesothelioma because of high levels of toxic minerals in the soil around the old mines.  The study, called The Gold Country Recreational Trails and Abandoned Mines Assessment, found many of these public lands to be contaminated with lead, arsenic and asbestos. According to Elizabeth Martin, CEO of The Sierra Fund, “More than 100 years after the end of the Gold Rush era, the environmental, cultural and health impacts of that … Continue reading Outdoor Recreation Could Pose Mesothelioma Risk in California »

Mesothelioma Patients Stigmatized Study Says

Patients with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, may bear the brunt of public prejudice against lung cancer, according to a new study. Although mesothelioma is a rare cancer, attacking just 2,000 to 3,000 Americans each year, the most common form, which occurs in the linings around the lungs, is classified as lung cancer.  According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancers of all kinds are the most prevalent cancer killer worldwide, claiming more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.  Asbestos exposure has also been shown to cause lung cancers other than mesothelioma, and may account for many more deaths. But a new study commissioned by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) says, despite … Continue reading Mesothelioma Patients Stigmatized Study Says »

California’s State Rock Could Cause Mesothelioma

The first state to have a state rock is about to strip that rock of its title. California legislators are considering a measure to take serpentine, a greenish-gray rock which is plentiful throughout the state, off the list of state symbols.  Serpentine was designated the ‘state rock’ in 1965, before it was known that fine shards of one of the elements in it, asbestos, can causemesothelioma.  When serpentine is broken up during construction or excavation, the asbestos dust released can be a public health hazard. Asbestos was once prized for its resistance to heat and chemical degradation and was widely used in a variety of construction and shipbuilding applications.  But asbestos fibers are sharp and about 100 times narrower than … Continue reading California’s State Rock Could Cause Mesothelioma »

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