Posts Tagged ‘mortality’

Global mesothelioma deaths on the rise

5 Sep 2017 by Sarah Mahan under Research/Treatment

GHS pictogram silhouette 100x100 Global mesothelioma deaths on the riseDespite increased awareness of the health threats of asbestos and more stringent regulations restricting its use, yet another report confirms mesothelioma deaths are not falling as expected.

In March, as MyMeso previously reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing younger generations are continuing to be plagued by health issues linked to the known human carcinogen. A recent international study also supports that deaths from asbestos cancers are on the rise. (more…)


CDC: Mesothelioma still a concern for younger generations

6 Mar 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News

carpenter 100x100 CDC: Mesothelioma still a concern for younger generationsMore than 45,000 people have died from malignant mesothelioma from 1999 through 2015, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last week, and the annual number of deaths increased from 2,479 deaths in 1999 to 2,597 deaths in 2015. (more…)


English borough with country’s highest mesothelioma mortality rate could lose benefits office

14 Feb 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News

407px Barrow in Furness UK locator map 100x100 English borough with countrys highest mesothelioma mortality rate could lose benefits officeThe English borough with the highest mesothelioma mortality rate in the country may lose its local office for filing disability benefits and industrial illness claims, according to the North-West Evening Mail. (more…)


LCA Chairman Coady has died

1 Jul 2008 by Wendi Lewis under News, People

coady 150x150 LCA Chairman Coady has diedI was very sad today to learn that Rear Admiral Phil Coady, U.S. Navy (Ret.) passed away yesterday, June 30. Admiral Coady served as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, and was kind enough to share his story with this blog in April. A non-smoker, Coady was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2005. The diagnosis spurred him to advocacy, particularly on behalf of Veterans.

Although Coady didn’t suffer from mesothelioma, he was very much aware of the risks posed by asbestos. His work during his time in the Navy very often put him in contact with the substance, he said, and seven of his friends died from mesothelioma since his retirement. In addition, for 10 years following his retirement, Coady worked as president of the Navy Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit veterans benefit group and life insurance service, where he said he saw what he thought was a disproportionate amount of lung cancer deaths.

When he began investigating lung cancer research efforts, Adm. Coady was shocked at the relatively few dollars spent by the Veterans Administration and the , considering the number of veterans affected by the disease. He also was disappointed at the overall lack of funding for lung cancer research in comparison to spending on other cancers, especially since lung cancer is the leading cancer killer.

He dedicated himself as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, fighting the battle for lung cancer awareness and funding under the organization’s motto “No More Excuses. No More Lung Cancer.” He led efforts in lobbying Congress to make lung cancer a national health priority.

Just last week, Coady saw some of the first fruits of his efforts, when Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate creating and authorizing at least $75 million for lung cancer research. This is the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at reducing lung cancer mortality.

Perhaps the best memoriam Adm. Coady could receive is for supporters of lung cancer awareness and research to contact their U.S. Senators NOW and ask them to add their support to S. 3187, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act. Remember him and take action for those to come after him! You can view his obituary here.

Blessings to Adm. Coady’s family at this time of loss.


Senate introduces lung cancer legislation

25 Jun 2008 by Wendi Lewis under Legal, News

Today, the U.S. Senate is considering landmark legislation that will create a multi-agency, comprehensive program to target lung cancer, and that will authorize $75 million for the first phase of a five-year program to reduce lung cancer mortality. the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2008 was co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Mesothelioma sufferers can benefit as a result of this increased focus on lung cancer research and early detection.

Senators Feinstein and Hagel were instrumental in authoring a policy resolution in 2007 to designate lung cancer as a public health priority, which was passed unanimously. The resolution called for research, better treatments, and early detection, with a goal of reducing lung cancer mortality by 50 percent by 2015.

This new bill would establish that comprehensive program under law and authorize funding, according to a release from the Lung Cancer Alliance, which today issued a call to action for its support.

“We have seen great advancements in prostate and breast cancer survival rates and we must commit ourselves to making the same progress with lung cancer,” Sen. Hagel said, noting that lung cancer currently accounts for 28 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States.

Each year, lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancer, combined.

Senator Feinstein said, “It’s time for the federal government to step up its efforts and make fighting lung cancer a national priority.”

Contact your Senator TODAY!


Ask Clinton about funding lung cancer research

11 Apr 2008 by Wendi Lewis under Events, News, Organizations, People

Meso victims, unite! The Lung Cancer Alliance recently sent an Open Letter to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton following remarks she made pledging funding for breast cancer, asking her to also prioritize funding for lung cancer.

Following is the text of the open letter, along with information about how to contact Clinton’s office. The LCA is urging everyone affected by lung cancer, including mesothelioma, to join their voices in this effort to finally secure the funding that lung cancer has long deserved. It is time to make this a national priority!

An Open Letter to Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

April 9, 2008

Yesterday you announced what you would do for breast cancer should you be elected president. When will you announce what you would do for lung cancer?

The $300 million plan you unveiled yesterday to find a cure for breast cancer should be at least doubled for lung cancer since it is killing nearly twice as many women each year as breast cancer. Most women do not even know this.

You do, Senator Clinton, and you specifically cited that fact as part of the justification for Senate Resolution 87, which you co-sponsored and supported and which was passed August 2, 2007. The resolution was a strongly worded policy statement by the Senate calling on the President to declare lung cancer a public health priority and to implement a comprehensive interagency program to reduce lung cancer mortality by 50% by 2015.

The Resolution contains a page and a half of the grim statistics justifying the demand for priority action and specifically notes the enormous under funding of lung cancer research, which receives only seven cents for every federal dollar spent on breast cancer.

Of course we would like to see a cure for breast cancer as we would for all cancers. Thanks to the billions in federal dollars alone that have been invested in breast cancer research and early detection, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is now 88%.

Having been massively under-funded, as the resolution notes, lung cancer’s 5-year survival rate is still only 15%. That will no longer be tolerated.

We are not asking for a cure at this point. Just a 50% reduction in the mortality rate for lung cancer, the most lethal cancer, which is now killing more men and women each year than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancers combined.

One in five women being diagnosed with lung cancer now have never smoked at all and they seem to be getting diagnosed younger. Why aren’t women demanding more research? Because they do not know the facts.

You spell out the facts so eloquently in S. Res. 87 and you lay out in the resolution a comprehensive program for lung cancer that is actually quite similar to the one you proposed yesterday for breast cancer.

When will you announce your comprehensive plan for lung cancer? We thank you and look forward to hearing from you on behalf of all those with and at risk for lung cancer, their families, caregivers and friends.

Lung Cancer Alliance

To contact Clinton’s office:

Hillary Clinton General Campaign Headquarters

4420 North Fairfax Drive

Arlington, VA 22203

Ph: 703.469.2008

Fax: 703.962.8600

comments@hillaryclinton.com

press@hillaryclinton.com


Living with Meso – Charlene’s story, Part 3

4 Apr 2008 by Wendi Lewis under People

Exploring Alternatives

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 48, and exploring traditional options and undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy, Charlene Kaforey was looking for alternatives. Her physicians had earlier recommended a pleurectomy or pneumonectomy, which would remove part or all of the affected lung. That option was still on the table following chemo.

But after doing extensive research, Charlene was concerned about quality of life after such a procedure. Diagnosed as Stage III, she knew that only 25 percent of patients at her status survive 20 months, with less than 10 percent surviving 5 years. Both surgeries involve significant mortality rates and require 6-9 months recovery time.

“Currently, I don’t have a lot of symptoms,” she says. “I thought, why, if I feel good, do I want to end that by having the surgery and possibly never feeling good again?

“When I was at the hospital, I looked around the waiting room and saw everyone in wheelchairs, or hooked up to oxygen. I actually started crying. People don’t look good. They don’t look healthy, and they’re struggling. I thought, is this what’s going to happen to me? I didn’t feel a lot of hope.”

During her chemotherapy, from October-December 2007, Charlene researched mesothelioma and its treatments relentlessly. That was when she discovered the ITL Alternative Cancer Treatment Clinic, located in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

According to its web site, ITL Cancer Clinic was founded in 2003 and is directed by Dr. John Clement. ITL Cancer Clinic is the operating company for the Immunology Research Centre Ltd., a not-for-profit corporation of the Commonweal of the Bahamas, licensed to treat patients diagnosed with cancer. The Immunology Research Centre was founded in 1977 by Dr. Lawrence Burton, the developer of Immuno-Augmentive Therapy (IAT). The clinic treats all kinds of cancer, including mesothelioma.

Charlene’s daughter, working on a college project about promoting mesothelioma awareness inspired by her mother’s illness, discovered a web site with a link to the clinic. Charlene contacted the organization on whose site she found the link, to find out if they knew anyone who had been treated there. Initially, the answer was no. But two weeks later, they called her back and put her in touch with an ITL patient.

“I talked to her and she’s 6 years out,” Charlene said, which means the patient has survived six years after diagnosis. “She has it in both lungs and here she is, traveling and living life.”

Encourged, Charlene contacted the ITL Clinic directly for more information. Staff reviewed her medical history to see if she would be a candidate for treatment at ITL, and put her in touch with other mesothelioma patients being treated there.

“I’m skeptical by nature,” Charlene says. “It’s so out of the ordinary, but when I was talking to people out 6 years and feeling good compared to others who did more traditional treatments, some of whom didn’t make it very long, or life was hard, and it seemed like a good option for me.”

Friends and family initially resisted the idea, feeling that she should take the more traditional path, including surgery.

“People thought I was crazy at first. They had read all the literature [from traditional treatment facilities] and felt that I needed to do the surgery,” Charlene says. “Do I know for certain this will work? No. But I just don’t think the statistics support my having a good quality of life or a good chance of survival with surgery and traditional methods. So I’m going to do it.”

Next: The ITL Experience


Karmanos tackles looming asbestos epidemic

2 Apr 2008 by Wendi Lewis under Events, Organizations, People

kci logo top.thumbnail Karmanos tackles looming asbestos epidemicAs I mentioned earlier this week, I spent the past weekend in Detroit, Michigan, at the 4th Annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference, presented by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).

The conference was held at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, which is the location of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers, co-directed by Dr. Michael Harbut and Dr. John Ruckdeschel, both of whom spoke at the ADAO conference.

While it might seem obvious, Dr. Harbut said, a key to diagnosing and treating asbestos disease is an emphasis on a medical approach.

Dr. Harbut explained that the Karmanos program “approaches asbestos disease from a purely medical standpoint, which includes taking into account any risk factors, employing state-of-the-art scanning equipment and a multidisciplinary, research-driven approach to early detection and treatment. This includes consideration of non-mailgnant or sub-clinical asbestos disease.

“Diseases that are ‘not hurting you yet,’” he said.

Focus areas at the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers include the establishment of a schema for high resolution CT (HRCT) classification, measurement of pleural plaque volume, examination of psycho-social aspects of asbestos disease, testing new treatments including osteopontin and SMRP, and compiling a comprehensive database of disease, diagnosis and treatment.

The Center encourages anyone at risk from asbestos exposure to seek testing for early detection.

Dr. Ruckdeschel said barriers to successful asbestos disease treatment include a sense of nihilism in the medical community, the idea of giving up on the patient when mesothelioma is diagnosed due to its traditionally high mortality rate. There is a sense of providing only “quick fix” supportive care, he said.

Other challenges include a lack of treatment centers with a documented track record, lack of large standardized treatment trials, and a paucity of research investment, Dr. Ruckdeschel said.

The Center predicts an epidemic of vermiculite and asbestos-related cancers in the near future, as the latency period of asbestos disease exposure is reached, and as asbestos exposure spreads around the world, particularly in third-world countries.

“One life lost to asbestos disease is tragic. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost is unconscionable,” Dr. Ruckdeschel said.

For more information, visit the Karmanos Cancer Institute online or call 1-800-KARMANOS.


Living with Meso – Charlene’s story, Part 2

26 Mar 2008 by Wendi Lewis under People

Charlene’s Fight

When Charlene Kaforey, 48, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in July 2007, she immediately began seeking out information and treatment options.

The prognosis for mesothelioma is still bleak. There is no cure, and most studies estimate survival time between 4-12 months, depending on the stage of presentation. Charlene’s mesothelioma was diagnosed relatively early, so she was hopeful.

She visited mesothelioma specialist Dr. David J. Sugarbaker at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., Dr. Valerie W. Rusch at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Dr. Harvey Pass at the NYU Cancer Institute.

Immediately, doctors talked about extrapleural pneumonectomy, a surgery to remove the entire lung, entire diaphragm, and the lining of the chest cavity and the heart. Surgery would be followed by 6 weeks of radiation, and possibly chemotherapy. One doctor even talked about performing a heated chemotherapy wash of the chest cavity while on the operating table. At that time, they believed Charlene was a stage I, and such surgeries could give her a 40 percent chance of a 5 year survival. One doctor mentioned getting her as much as 10 years.

One of the doctors talked about limiting the surgery to a pleurectomy/decortication, a technique to remove the parietal pleura from the lung. The median survival after pleurectomy for malignant mesothelioma ranges from 6-21 months, and 9-40 percent of patients survive up to 2 years. However in later stages, the survival rates are almost identical between the two surgeries.

Research is still unclear as to whether extra-pleural pneumonectomy provides significantly greater benefits than pleurectomy, and if either is significantly more effective than non-surgical options.

Charlene didn’t have a lot of tumor bulk, so she was sent for a mediastinoscopy, a biopsy surgery that allows doctors to view the middle of the chest cavity and to remove lymph nodes from between the lungs to test them for cancer or infection. They found that Charlene did have lymph node involvement.

“I went from a Stage I to Stage III overnight,” she says. “It was shocking.”

Because of the lymph node involvement, doctors recommended she postpone considering pleurectomy or pneumonectomy and undergo chemotherapy. Survival rates from either surgery for a Stage III patient is much less, and only 25 percent survive 20 months, with less than 10 percent surviving 5 years. Both surgeries involve significant mortality rates and require 6-9 months recovery time.

“Looking at it now, I feel in some ways that having the lymph node involvement was a godsend for me,” Charlene says. “I mean, my condition was more serious, but because I was doing the chemotherapy, it gave me time to look for more information and to really think more about my options. Otherwise, I would have rushed into a very serious surgery with a long, difficult recovery and I’d probably be without a lung and diaphragm right now.”

Charlene offers one word of caution to meso patients.

“While you may feel time is of the essence, don’t rush into a procedure until you really understand what is involved, and what benefits you can expect to receive, what the risks and complications are, how long and difficult the recovery will be,”she said.

She talked to other meso patients and read everything she could get her hands on. Quality of remaining life is a big issue to consider.

“I realized that I might have only 18 to 30 months maximum to live, and that I would spend at least 9 months in a brutal recovery. I was feeling good with little to no symptoms. I couldn’t justify giving up my good health to surgery, knowing I may never feel good again, and might have only another 9 months of poor quality life after recovering from the surgery,” Charlene says.

Next: Charlene explores alternative medicine


Asbestos Disease in Alabama

5 Mar 2008 by Wendi Lewis under Research/Treatment

According to a study of U.S. Government Death Data, compiled by the EWG Action fund, Alabama ranks 19th in the U.S. for cases of asbestos related disease (asbestosis) and mesothelioma.

  • At least 741 people have been killed by asbestos since 1979 in Alabama.
  • 10,881 people have sought justice in Alabama.
  • At least 75 shipments (3,624 tons) of vermiculite went from Libby, MT to 4 locations in Alabama between 1948 and 1993.

al meso asbestos map.thumbnail Asbestos Disease in Alabama

About the Map

The dots on this map represent individuals who have died from two signature asbestos diseases, mesothelioma and asbestosis, as confirmed by death certificate records. To protect the identity of the victims, the dots on the map have been randomly placed within the county where the death was recorded.

The map includes just a small portion of all asbestos-related mortality that occurred during the time period analyzed. It does not include a single lung cancer death caused by asbestos, although national estimates of lung cancer mortality from asbestos range from 5,000 to 10,000 per year during that time.

The data also grossly underestimate mesothelioma mortality, the signature asbestos-caused cancer. This is in part due to under-diagnosis of the disease, but in greater measure because mesothelioma was not tracked by the federal government as a cause of death until 1999. Prior to that, scientists estimated mesothelioma mortality by assuming cancers of certain sites (for example, the pleura) were mesothelioma. This resulted in dramatic underestimates of the true mortality rates. When the government began tracking mesothelioma as a cause of death, mortality more than doubled, from 935 in 1998, to 2343 in 1999.

The map also does not include asbestos mortality from gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. The link between asbestos and GI cancer is contested by industry and its insurance companies, but OSHA and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer all have concluded that asbestos does cause some types of GI cancer (OSHA 1994, WHO 1989). The best national estimates are about 1,200 asbestos-caused gastrointestinal cancers per year.

If the data presented above are corrected to include lung and gastrointestinal cancer and more accurate estimates of mesothelioma incidence, nationwide, the total mortality from asbestos from 1979 through 2001 would be about 230,000 people.

For more information about Asbestos in Alabama, visit the EWG report online.