Thrombocytosis, a disorder that causes the body to produce too many blood platelets, has a negative impact on the success of a preferred treatment protocol for a number of mesothelioma patients, according to a new study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. faces approximately 62,000 claims involving asbestos-related injuries in New York, Maryland, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. The claims allege exposure to asbestos through the tire company’s products, including floor tiles, gaskets and furnace hoses, according to Law360. Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. filed a petition in federal court Wednesday to declare it has no duty to pay defense costs, though Goodyear says otherwise due to an insurance policy. (more…)
Separate lawsuits were filed in Louisiana recently due to the development of mesothelioma in two unsuspecting individuals – engineering clerk James Capdeboscq and Stanley Gaudet, a former union president who is now deceased. (more…)
Reuters news service reported on Friday that W.R. Grace & Co. stock value jumped 36 percent following the company’s aquittal on criminal charges. The company, along with seven of its executives, had been on trial since Feb. 19 in the U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana.
A federal grand jury charged the company and executives in February 2005 with knowingly exposing workers at its vermiculite asbestos mine, and residents of the nearby town of Libby, Montana, to deadly asbestos fibers. A June 2008 Supreme Court decision upheld the grand jury’s findings and allowed the case to proceed to trial.
However, on Friday, May 8, a jury aquitted the company and five of the executives of all criminal charges. Two company executives had already been dismissed during the trial proceedings.
Asbestos exposure is linked to serious health problems, including asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs, and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and, more rarely the stomach and/or heart. Studies of former W.R. Grace & Co. miners, and residents of nearby Libby, have indicated that 227 people have died to date from asbestos disease, and there are more than 1,800 active cases of asbestos disease. Of that number, 77 deaths are attributed to secondary, non-occupational exposure, affecting people who never worked in the mine.
W.R. Grace & Co. is based in Columbia, Maryland, and is worth $945 million, according to the Reuters report. The news agency reports the stock value has now doubled in 2009, at $13.06 per share, after a four-year low of $2.96 in November.
Earlier this summer I wrote about a blog on National Public Radio called My Cancer. Written by the former executive producer of ABC’s “Nightline” program, Leroy Sievers, the blog was accompanied by weekly podcast, and provided a frank and honest look at living with a cancer diagnosis. In 2001, Sievers was diagnosed with and successfully overcame colon cancer. Then, in 2005, cancer returned, affecting his brain and his lungs. Seivers passed away Friday, at age 53.
The My Cancer blog inspired thousands of cancer survivors from around the world and boasted upward of 30,000 comments. Sievers also appeared on ABC newsman Ted Koppel’s “Living with Cancer” television special, which was broadcast by The Discovery Channel in May 2007, as well as a special broadcast of NPR’s Talk of the Nation program that addressed the same “Living with Cancer” topic, which aired July 9, 2008, also hosted by Koppel and featuring cancer survivor Elizabeth Edwards.
“Leroy gave voice to a topic that we are very uncomfortable with — death and dying,” Ellen McDonnell, NPR’s morning programming director, said in a statement. “My Cancer had a face and a heart and a smile.”
Sievers is survived by his wife, Laurie Singer.
A memorial fund has been set up to honor Sievers memory and work. Donations can be made to the following address:
Leroy Sievers Memorial Fund
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
Patient and Family Services
100 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
There’s an interesting story in the news today about a young woman in California who has painted the exterior of her home a bright seafoam green as a way to boost her spirits as she struggles with abdominal mesothelioma. The story is published in Today’s Local News, a community newspaper distributed free of charge to 75,000 homes in the five cities along the Highway 78 corridor – Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista, Calif.
According to the story, Rebekah Price was diagnosed with advanced mesothelioma in her abdomen a little more than two years ago. She underwent surgery and now flies to the National Institutes for Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, every four months for treatment. There is no cure for her mesothelioma, and Price knows that within five years after surgery the cancer can reappear.
When she purchased her house in Carlsbad, Calif., she first brightened the inside, painting the rooms in a variety of bold colors – gold, orange, purple, green, blue and pink. The colors cheer her up, the story reports, quoting Price as saying, “Life’s been pretty dark for a long time. I want color, you know?”
Unfortunately, the choice to paint the exterior of her home has raised the ire of some neighbors, who have harassed Price and her two daughters, the News reports. Twice, groups of teens have approached the house with the intent to vandalize it, and many times people have driven by yelling insults at her. They commonly tell her to “…go back to…Tijuana!”, a racially motivated reference to the bright colors sometimes favored in Hispanic decor.
Although the harrassment has been scary and discouraging, Price decided to take a lighthearted approach and recently threw a Mexian-themed party in her yard, complete with a mariachi band, traditional taqueria (taco stand) and low-rider autos donated to the event by a local auto club in which some of her friends are members.
Not all neighbors have reacted negatively, with many saying Price ought to do what she wants to find happiness and peace during this difficult struggle with mesothelioma.
Perhaps some of those harassing Price don’t know about her special circumstances.
But even if she wasn’t facing a terminal diagnosis, it makes you wonder about the lack of tolerance in the world today. What is so scary about diversity that some people feel the need to react with hostility and violence? How boring the world would be if everyone was the same.
Good for you, Rebekah! Find your joy! You serve as an inspiration to all of us to embrace the beauty and fun in this world, to take the time to stop and look around and really see what we have, and what we want, before it’s too late.
This was the fourth time Jordan battled cancer. In the 1980s, he was diagnosed with leukemia lymphoma. About 10 years later, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He also had two battles with skin cancer. In 2000, Jordan wrote a book about his experience with cancer, titled “No Such Thing as a Bad Day,” which provided inspiration to cancer survivors.
He and his wife, Dorothy, founded Camp Sunshine, a nonprofit camp for children with cancer, and Camp Kudzu, a nonprofit camp for children with Type 1 diabetes. Jordan also founded the Georgia Cancer Coalition, a $1 billion organization funded by tobacco settlement money.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published the following statement from Jordan’s family:
The Jordan Family greatly appreciates the overwhelming amount of love and support we have received from our friends during the many difficult years of Hamilton’s illness. We are saddened beyond words at his death, but we are also at peace knowing that he is finally comfortable after years of fighting an incurable disease. A truly unforgettable person, Hamilton will be remembered as a compassionate, brilliant, and selfless human being who touched so many lives with his limitless generosity.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that your donations be sent to any of the following charitable organizations:
The Hamilton Jordan Mesothelioma Research Fund at the University of Maryland-Baltimore Foundation, University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, 100 North Green Street, Suite 600, Baltimore MD 21201
Camp Sunshine, 1850 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA 30033, enriching the lives of children with cancer through recreational, educational and support programs throughout the year
Camp Kudzu, 4279 Roswell Road, Suite 102, Box 254, Atlanta, GA 30342, providing education, recreation and peer-networking programs for children with diabetes
Community Advanced Practice Nurses, Inc., 173 Boulevard NE Atlanta GA 30312, offering free mental and physical healthcare to the homeless and medically underserved.
A memorial service for Hamilton Jordan, White House chief of staff during the Carter administration, will be held with family and close friends at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 23, at The Carter Center. Seating begins at 1 p.m. President Carter as well as other friends and colleagues over the years, will offer remarks and reminiscences. The event will not be open to press coverage.
I received an email a few days ago from Nancy Wagner, in Jacksonville, Florida. She found our site through the Lung Cancer Alliance message and journal sites, over at Inspire.com. She wanted some mesothelioma awareness materials, like our awareness bracelets, to share with people around her, in memory of her father, Bill, who passed away with mesothelioma in 2004. Nancy was kind enough to share her Dad’s story with us:
My Dad, Bill [Hackett], was a master mechanic and boilermaker from the time he was 25 until he retired on disability at age 61. During this time he dismantled and rebuilt or built boilers to run some of the company’s largest factories and businesses. He started out at Maryland Ship Building and Dry Dock and then went on to become an independent contractor.
Over the years he was exposed to asbestos hundreds of times, not knowing back then that it would be what eventually claimed his life.
From the time he was retired due to this disability until his death in 2004, he suffered tremendously with breathing disorders from mesothelioma. He faced several surgeries and had to have fluid removed from his body numerous times. There were days he could hardly breathe at all, but he kept going. How I will never know.
Because he had been self employed, there was no insurance because he could not afford it. And social security did not pay very much on a monthly basis. Being a decorated WW II veteran, he was entitled to some treatment through the Veterans Administration.
My father was a very independent man and refused to give up or give in to anything that stopped him from doing what he wanted and going where he wanted. And he refused to be a burden on any one, especially his daughters. Until the week he died he continued to serve as Chaplain of the American Legion Post and made arrangements for former veterans’ funerals and assisted their families.
But he never told us about the cancer. He went to all of his chemo appointments and never told us anything. It wasn’t until after his death and the Death Certificate was issued did we know this is what took him. He died alone, 2 weeks before Christmas, in the house where we grew up.
My dad was truly a great man. I believe the reason he never told any of us was because we lost our Mom to cancer when she was 34 and he was 36 and he didn’t want us to have to face losing him to cancer, even though it was a different kind.
Almost 2 years after his death, I found out that I have stage IV lung cancer.
Cancer in any form is life threatening. The more people are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, the better off they will be. Annual checkups are vital. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Cancer caught early can be cured. The later the stage, the more intense the treatments and the less chance for remission.
I’d just like to thank Nancy for sharing her Dad’s personal story with us, and for helping to raise awareness and urge for early detection and research. God bless you.
Charlene Kaforey, 48, had been troubled by stomach problems for almost four years. She and her doctors tried a variety of things to determine the cause, settling on a tentative diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. But none of the medications typically used to treat Crohn’s had any effect on Charlene’s condition.
Frustrated, in the fall of 2006 she tried a new medication for a two-week protocol, plus a gluten-free diet for six months, and finally experienced some relief. But then, six months later, the pain and discomfort returned.
Since she had been off Crohn’s medications during the experiment with her diet, doctors decided it would be a good time to try some new tests, and included a CT scan. In March 2007, tests showed nothing wrong with Charlene’s stomach, but something odd at the base of her left lung. The doctor conducting the scan didn’t think it was anything serious, but recommended that she follow up with her primary care physician anyway.
In May 2007, Charlene received a chest CT scan, which revealed three spots on her left lung. Doctors suspected lymphoma. A cardio-thoracic specialist followed up with a PET scan, which showed the same three spots. He recommended a “wait and see” approach, suggesting they could check the area again in three to six months.
“I didn’t want to wait,” Charlene said.
At her request, doctors did a lung biopsy in July, and she was told she has mesothelioma.
The actual number of tiny tumors inside her chest were “too numerous to count,” and obviously most of those had not shown up on her scans.
“I’d never heard of it,” she says. “There are a few commercials on TV, but other than hearing the word, I was not familiar with it. Most people I tell just look at me, and they’ve never heard of it either.”
The diagnosis was particularly surprising, since the average median age of onset of symptoms is 70, according to most studies, and mesothelioma usually affects men more frequently than women. Charlene said she was exposed to asbestos when she was a child, but she cannot discuss the details because she is currently pursuing legal action.
“When you think of the numbers of people that have been exposed to asbestos in their lives, you wonder why there are few people that get [mesothelioma], as compared to other types of cancer. It’s still pretty rare,” Charlene said.
In the U.S. current statistics show between 2,000-3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma each year. However, 10,000 Americans die each year from all asbestos-related diseases, according to statistics compiled by the Environmental Working Group. And, mesothelioma was not tracked as a specific cause of death by federal health officials until 1999, EWG points out, so actual totals for mesothelioma may be much higher.
“There is a possibility that my brother and my parents could be at risk of mesothelioma, because they would have been exposed at the same time as me,” Charlene worries. “You just don’t know what causes you to get it, and not someone else.”
As she continued to research her new diagnosis, Charlene was disheartened to find that the outlook for most mesothelioma patients is bleak. The Center for Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Diseases at the University of Maryland Medical Center estimates median survival time between 4-12 months after discovery.
Next: Charlene begins her fight.