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Hawaii Researchers Try to Understand How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
An anonymous donor recently gave $3.58 million to University of Hawaii Cancer Center researchers to try to figure out how asbestos triggers mesothelioma, a deadly and incurable form of cancer.
Mesothelioma Lawyers hope that the research helps to determine how exposure to asbestos, a natural mineral that was used for decades in the United States to insulate houses and manufacture products, causes mesothelioma. Often, a mesothelioma diagnosis is the result of exposure that could have been prevented.
According to aboutmesothelioma.com, researchers have made some significant scientific breakthroughs in their understanding of how asbestos causes the cancer.
What we already know is that microscopic asbestos fibers can be inhaled or otherwise ingested into the body before traveling through the bloodstream and attaching to the walls of major organs, such as the heart and lungs. There they stay for sometimes 30 to 40 years before a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma. And once a diagnosis is made, the median survival is only 12 months.
According to the Mesothelioma Cancer Network, here are some common mesothelioma symptoms:
- Persistent cough without phlegm
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty swallowing
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Sweating or fever
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Lumps under the skin on the chest
What the Hawaii researchers have found over a decade of research is that asbestos kills cells through a process called cell necrosis that leads to the release of a protein molecule HMGB1. People exposed to asbestos have elevated levels of the protein in their blood and the protein begins a chain reaction in tissue that causes the release of mutagens that promote tumor growth.
Cancer often occurs in the presence of chronic inflammation, so by interfering with the reaction, it may be possible to decrease occurrence of mesothelioma. The research is being conducted in a region of Turkey called Cappadocia, where nearly 50 percent of residents die of mesothelioma from exposure to eronite, a mined fiber that is more toxic than asbestos. Eronite has been used in the United States in road paving. Researchers hope to conduct a clinical trial in Cappadocia in an effort to identify people who are likely to develop mesothelioma based on elevated biomarkers, thereby blocking chronic inflammation which could reduce the risk of mesothelioma among workers exposed to asbestos.
The area sounds similar to Libby, Montana, where from 1919 to 1990, miners pulled vermiculite, some of which contained asbestos, and shipped it to plants throughout the country, where other workers manufactured insulation, floor and ceiling tiles and other products. In Libby, thousands have gone ill and hundreds have died after being exposed to asbestos. The Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog has outlined many cities across the country that have been exposed to this deadly mineral.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year and so it is important to hold accountable those who knew about deadly asbestos exposure and still used it in their buildings and products.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic, naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Known for its heat resistance and durability, asbestos has historically been used in insulation, construction materials, automotive parts, and shipbuilding materials.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is made up of small shard-like fibers that can easily become airborne when disturbed. If inhaled or ingested, these fibers can embed within the lining of the lungs, heart, stomach, or testes where they can cause cancer to form years or decades later.
What are asbestos-related diseases?
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
What causes mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until decades after exposure.
What are the different types of mesothelioma?
Three of the most common types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.
What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing and chest pains. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the stomach, may cause abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a preventable form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. military or while working in construction, mechanics, or a similar field, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation.
What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, patients can receive treatments for mesothelioma that may extend their initial prognosis with proper treatment. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma usually have a life expectancy that is greater than three years, though a large part of this depends on the stage the patient is diagnosed. The earlier the diagnosis, the longer the life expectancy and chance of long-term survival.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should immediately seek long-term medical treatment. After that, you should contact our firm to examine your legal rights. Since 1985, The Ferraro Law Firm has represented individuals with asbestos-related diseases and pursued fair compensation on their behalf. Our firm is one of the top five law firms in the U.S. handling mesothelioma and asbestos cases.
The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
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Public Health Hazard Due to Asbestos Exposure in Libby Still Prevalent: June 15, 2011