Mesothelioma and Early Lung Cancer Identified by Screening
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Mesothelioma and Early Lung Cancer Identified by Screening

Using computed tomography scans to screen former asbestos workers can detect both early and late-stage lung cancer and late-stage mesothelioma, according to a study in the May Journal of Thoracic Oncology. However, it’s still not clear whether screening for these cancers might improve patients’ prognoses. Exposure to asbestos fibers is a known risk factor for lung cancer and the cause of mesothelioma. Although asbestos is still not completely banned in the U.S., it was phased out of American industry to a large degree beginning in the 1970s.  However because asbestos-related diseases can take 20 to 40 years to emerge after people have been exposed, former asbestos workers and those exposed to products containing this carcinogen continue to be diagnosed with asbestos…

Mesothelioma and the Spread of Asbestos
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Mesothelioma and the Spread of Asbestos

Though it has been shut down for more than a decade, a mine in Libby, Montana is still raising health concerns for asbestos-contaminated ore it once shipped to hundreds of sites across the country. A report published in the June issue of Inhalation Toxicology finds that people living in several of the communities surrounding the ore processing sites may have a higher incidence of mesothelioma and other cancers. From the time it opened in the early1920s, the Libby mine processed vermiculite ore. Though it was useful for insulation, fireproofing materials, and lawn and garden products, the mineral contained a type of asbestos, which has been linked to an increased risk of various lung disorders, including asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue), mesothelioma, and lung cancer….

Mesothelioma and Children
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Mesothelioma and Children

When people think of mesothelioma, they typically picture an older adult who has been exposed to asbestos. Yet this disease can, in rare cases, also strike children. Because the prognosis is poor, doctors need to carefully diagnose mesothelioma in their youngest patients. Doctors don’t know what causes mesothelioma in children. Although a high number of adults with the disease have a history of asbestos exposure, this isn’t the case in children. “The latent period of asbestos exposure in mesothelioma patients can be many years,” explains Cesar A. Moran, MD, professor of Pathology in the Department of Pathology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “Children have not lived long enough to be in that ballpark.” Dr. Moran and his colleagues recently…

Mesothelioma, Asbestos, and Survival
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Mesothelioma, Asbestos, and Survival

Mesothelioma is a cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. Now researchers are discovering that the extent of that exposure can significantly affect how long a patient survives, and they’re finding that some people may be more susceptible to the effects of asbestos than others. Of all the cancers, mesothelioma is among the most deadly—most patients survive for less than one year. Researchers have been trying to prolong patients’ lives, in part by learning more about the disease and how it progresses. Because the vast majority of mesothelioma cases can be attributed to asbestos exposure, knowing how that exposure contributes to disease progression is an important component of research. “One crucial part of trying to advance our understanding of a serious disease like…

Anti-Asbestos Crusader, Dr. Irving Selikoff
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Anti-Asbestos Crusader, Dr. Irving Selikoff

From the 1960’s to the early 90’s, Dr. Irving J. Selikoff was both renowned for his pioneering research on the dangers of asbestos, and reviled for allegedly making exaggerated claims against the asbestos industry. In their recent article, “Science is Not Sufficient: Irving J. Selikoff and the Asbestos Tragedy,” Jock McCulloch and Geoffrey Tweedale revisit Dr. Selikoff’s life, illustrating how his landmark research helped shed light on a public health tragedy. McCulloch and Tweedale, both historians with a long-term interest in the asbestos industry, decided to spotlight the late asbestos researcher because, “Nothing of any value had been written about Dr. Selikoff, despite his importance in changing public attitudes in the U.S. toward asbestos,” according to Dr. McCulloch. Their article…

Asbestos a Deadly Carcinogen
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Asbestos a Deadly Carcinogen

Asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Yet, companies that manufatured and used asbestos hid the truth about this carcinogen from the public and their own employees. The result of this shameful behavior is that thousands of healthy people of all ages have become stricken with debilitating and deadly diseases that could have been avoided. For example in the early 1940’s, the president of a major asbestos manufacturing company said that the managers of another company were “a bunch of fools for notifying employees who had asbestosis.” When one of the people in attendance asked, “Do you mean to tell me you would let them work until they drop dead?” According to deposition testimony, the response was, “Yes. We save…