A recent study found that genetics may play a role in causing mesothelioma, though exposure to asbestos is still thought to be the main reason people get the fatal and incurable form of cancer, according to most respected studies.
What experts do know is that the median life expectancy after diagnosis is about 12 months. There is no cure. After being exposed to asbestos, the microscopic flakes can linger for years and sometimes decades before causing the symptoms that lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis.
The recent study, conducted by the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, was published online, but not in a medical journal. The researchers studied two families where mesothelioma was common. Researchers determined that eleven people had a gene called BAP1, Philly.com reports.
The researchers believe that the finding could lead to new drugs and earlier detection, which can increase survival rates. The disease is fatal and incurable and late detection leads to death. Researchers, though, have found that earlier detection, before a tumor has spread, can extend survival as long as five years.
The study also found that in 26 mesothelioma patients who didn’t have any hereditary link to the cancer, some had a rare form of eye cancer. In the families studied, other forms of cancer, including breast cancer and kidney cancer, were present.
What should be considered is that researchers are still learning about this awful form of cancer. What they do know is that there is a clear link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. What they don’t know for sure is why some people get mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos and some people don’t.
But what is undeniable is that many companies used asbestos in insulation and other common products, such as brake pads, ceiling and floor tiles and heavy boiler room equipment for years because it was fire-retardant and inexpensive. But as workers began getting sick, research showed that exposure to asbestos was the cause.
Yet, many corporations were slow to remove the asbestos from their products and old buildings and factories, leaving their employees exposed because it was a cost-saver. Even the U.S. Military was a large importer of asbestos for use in Navy shipyards and on ships.
The asbestos flakes are ingested and can linger for years and sometimes as long as three to four decades before a person can begin to experience the common symptoms of mesothelioma. They include chest pain, coughing, fluid in the lungs and other symptoms.
And because a late diagnosis is fatal within 12 months, on average, the disease can be heart-breaking for a family. And the quick death was likely no fault of their own, but happened because they were exposed to asbestos on the job.
The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
More Blog Entries:
Philadelphia Forensic Sculptor Succumbs to Mesothelioma: August 16, 2011
Check Up: Study suggests genetics at work in mesothelioma, by Tom Avril, Philly.com