Two lawsuits were filed by individuals with mesothelioma who had no other asbestos exposure, except for baby powder products. Talc is a mineral commonly used in baby powder, and is often contaminated with asbestos fibers found in the same mining deposits.
New York courts have recently denied two companies’ requests to dismiss mesothelioma victims’ lawsuits, giving an initial win for these specific sufferers of the malignant cancer.
Mesothelioma and Talc Court Cases
In two separate cases, courts in New York state ruled against dismissing the lawsuits of victims who alleged their mesothelioma was the result of asbestos in talc baby powder products. Most consumers are aware that mesothelioma is the result of exposure, typically through the workplace, to asbestos products.
Asbestos is best known as a component in producing fire-resistant and insulating items, used in a variety of home and industrial settings. Yet one female victim in New York, with no work history with asbestos, was diagnosed at age 76 with mesothelioma.
Not the Usual Sources
While working to identify the source of her disease, a medical history was obtained, in which she described regular use of baby powder, dating back to the 1940’s. In that case, Johnson and Johnson argued in New York County for summary judgment in the case. But the judge ruled that the case would proceed.
In another case in New York, a victim diagnosed with mesothelioma had used a Colgate Palmolive baby powder product.
The two corporations that sold the product argued that they could not be sued in New York state, because their operations did not take place in New York, but in Delaware. In that case, the judge ruled that their businesses did operate in the state, by virtue of selling and distributing the product regularly in New York, regardless of their headquarters, and that the lawsuit would go forward.
Asbestos and Talc
Mesothelioma patients often discover the disease many years after exposure. In cases where talc products were believed to be the cause, and the victim has no other history of asbestos exposure, the contamination of talc personal hygiene products has been coming to light.
Talc and asbestos occur in nearby geological deposits, which is why the talc is sometimes contaminated with asbestos. Because talc products like baby powder are considered cosmetics, they do not have to undergo Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. As such, the asbestos levels were unknown for decades.
Mesothelioma is currently treated with a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and surgery. Once the cancer has metastasized from the lungs, however, it is considered advanced, and is difficult to treat, other than with palliative care.
Because determining the cause and effect of asbestos exposure and receiving compensation through the courts is challenging, the advice of an experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer is recommended.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Represent Mesothelioma Victims
Not long ago, all kinds of industries used asbestos. This material was a staple of the construction, shipping, automotive, and mining industries. While federal law has changed regarding the amount of asbestos permitted in manufactured products, so that only minute amounts are acceptable, that does not help workers who were exposed decades ago.
Asbestos is a good fire retardant and provides superior insulation; but those qualities are not worth the deadly trade-off. Although a natural material, asbestos is extremely dangerous. Many of the thousands of workers exposed to asbestos through their jobs have developed an incurable form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
While many companies that have been deemed liable for the asbestos exposure of their workers have created trust funds for such victims, that is not true of every company. Some veterans of the U.S. armed forces, for example, were also exposed to asbestos during the time they served. Such veterans are eligible for compensation via the VA.
Patients develop mesothelioma primarily from inhaling asbestos particles. These microscopic particles collect in the lungs and may eventually cause malignancy. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that develops in either the linings of the lungs or abdomen, known as the mesothelium. This tissue’s purpose is organ protection.
As mesothelioma progresses, victims may suffer from hoarseness, inability to swallow, weight loss, and more severe respiratory issues.
Symptoms may appear not long after initial exposure, or many years later. Unfortunately, early signs of mesothelioma may resemble a cold, for which most people do not visit a doctor immediately. Unfortunately, by the time an individual displays more ominous symptoms, the cancer has generally spread, or metastasized.
Mesothelioma treatment may include surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiation. Many patients succumb within several months of diagnosis, although there are a small percentage who have lived a decade or longer. There are new technologies and treatments that may prolong survival, but it is still a very tough fight.
Anyone who believes they experienced asbestos exposure should receive regular checkups. As with any cancer, the earlier the diagnosis – before metastasis – the better the prognosis.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are under no obligation to tell anyone of your diagnosis other than your healthcare providers, although you should probably inform your loved ones. It is also wise to discuss your situation with an experienced mesothelioma attorney.
Many patients with mesothelioma appear perfectly normal until they become very sick. Chemotherapy and radiation, which can prolong life, are tough treatments; they might make a person appear to be terribly ill, but once they are completed, the patient may feel and look much better.
Mesothelioma Lawyers in Pennsylvania at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Help Those Battling Mesothelioma
Those at risk of malignant mesothelioma from asbestos exposure may soon have a new diagnostic option through the efforts of researchers in Japan. Currently, testing for mesothelioma is not foolproof, and in most cases is only confirmed after the onset of physical symptoms – at which point treatment is likely to be less effective. Accurately diagnosing mesothelioma presently relies on a combination of medical testing and imaging, including specific blood tests that are also not fully reliable.
The Japanese research team has now developed an advanced form of testing that, if confirmed, may hasten diagnosis and help victims get treatment sooner – when it matters most.
What Biomarker Testing Is
Blood tests used to diagnose many types of cancers detect biomarkers, which are molecules in the bloodstream. They include antibodies which indicate that the system is fighting off disease, along with various proteins in the blood. These biomarkers indicate the presence of different conditions or diseases, but until now have not been 100 percent reliable for finding the presence of mesothelioma.
With mesothelioma, the current state of testing often includes a number of different biomarker tests, which in combination may provide a diagnosis. Japanese researchers have now developed a system that has shown better results in detecting a specific protein that indicates mesothelioma, called podoplanin. The presence of mesothelioma is indicated by higher levels of various diverse proteins in the blood, but until now no single test has been a foolproof tool.
Biomarker testing offers the potential to determine a diagnosis earlier, and then monitor the patient for progression and that addition of appropriate treatments.
For those who are seeking treatment for mesothelioma, the advice of an experienced Philadelphia asbestos lawyer can help you understand your options and how to get necessary compensation for your illness.
The SMRP biomarker is a type of protein that cancer produces, which is usually elevated in mesothelioma patients. However, not all patients with mesothelioma will show SMRP elevations in the blood test, which is one of the challenges of the disease.
Another biomarker, known as the protein fibulin-3, is also elevated in mesothelioma cancer. One newer study has shown that testing for this protein was more than 96 percent accurate in screening for mesothelioma; but additional research studies are needed to confirm the early results.
Osteopontin and MPF are two other biomarkers that are both higher in patients with several types of cancers, of which mesothelioma is one. They are also higher than the normal range in patients with other cancers, making testing of these biomarkers one part of an overall diagnostic process. With patients who have had occupational or home exposure to asbestos they can prove useful.
Treatment of mesothelioma may consist of radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy, as well as promising new trials in immunotherapy and virotherapy. Though there remains no cure for mesothelioma, the outcomes are improving for patients. But as with the majority of serious diseases, early detection provides the best hope for treatment.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Are Experienced in Representing Mesothelioma Patients
Though a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma can be devastating, there is good news on the horizon. Recently, scientists in Australia have discovered that a genetic mutation appears to drive the development of certain cancers, including malignant mesothelioma.
The “Guardian of the Genome”
The gene in question is known as p53, or the “guardian of the genome,” as it helps to suppress tumors. In a ground-breaking discovery, these scientists discovered that p53 had been mutated in about half of all cases of human cancers, with many cases of mesothelioma also following suit.
It has been widely known that the primary external cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. However, p53 helps to demonstrate why some cells that are exposed to asbestos will suddenly become cancerous and spread rapidly.
Help for Treatment of Mesothelioma
Though the current prognosis for mesothelioma is usually poor, this new development may help scientists to discover new and improved treatments for it.
Scientists are now fully understanding how genetic changes impact the function of the p53 protein. There are two copies of the p53 gene in each cell. When one of these genes mutates, the p53 protein can bind to the normal p53 protein, which in essence prevents it from carrying out its intended protective roles, such as repairing DNA.
Alternatively, it actually allows p53 to function differently, which promotes the development of tumors.
Gene Therapy and the Blockage of Mutant p53
Mesothelioma experts are now looking into gene therapy in order to stop the spread of these tumors, through the targeting of the mutated genes themselves.
However, gene therapy may prove ineffective, if the mutations primary role is to direct the normal p53, as the tumors may have no normal p53 remaining. This would mean that drugs which block the mutant p53 would have no actual clinical benefit.
However, if the mutant p53 has new, cancer-promoting activities of its own in tumors that have been established, then a drug that serves to block the mutant p53 could prove very beneficial to thousands of individuals currently battling the disease.
This news from Australia serves to reinforce the findings of research conducted in France earlier this year. Scientists in France found that p53 is in fact important in the development of mesothelioma tumors, as is another gene called Cdkn2a.
Though scientists do not know exactly why, p53 mutations have been found to be more common in women battling mesothelioma than in men battling the same.
Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Help Those Battling Mesothelioma
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and are suffering from malignant mesothelioma, it can be overwhelming both emotionally and financially. That is why it is so important to find a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable. For a free consultation call 215-569-4000 or contact us online today. The Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler help clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, as well as in New Jersey.
When undergoing mesothelioma treatment, many patients are now turning to complementary and alternative therapies (CAM). These therapies are used, as the name suggests, alone or in conjunction with traditional medical treatment.
Typical mesothelioma treatment includes radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. CAM therapies do not provide a cure, but can add to quality of life and produce relief from the disease, as well as from standard treatment side effects for some patients.
Some CAM therapies are based in traditional or ancient healing practices, and some incorporate holistic and nutritional methods to provide palliative relief. Patients are recommended to consult with their medical oncology team to ensure that they are aware of available CAM therapies.
Some herbal or dietary supplements share common derivation with pharmaceuticals, so it is important that they complement each other and do not produce negative interactions.
For patients interested in exploring these therapies, they should work with an oncologist and consult with current research to make the best decision for combining traditional and CAM therapy.
Commonly Used CAM Therapies
Acupuncture and acupressure, only a few decades ago, were unknown to many in the United States. But today they have significantly increased in usage.
Acupuncture is the application of fine needles at specific corresponding pressure points on the body, depending on the desired outcome. Since its beginnings in ancient Chinese medicine, it has been used to address pain symptoms and promote recovery from different ailments.
Acupressure is similar in its origins and applies manual pressure to various points. Studies have shown that cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy have experienced reduction in pain, vomiting, and nausea side effects.
Exercise and Further CAM Therapies
The practices of yoga and tai chi exercise are used to improve physical and mental health, as well as to increase movement overall.
Aromatherapy is the inhalation of essential oils derived from plants. The scented oils can be applied in small amounts to the body or inhaled through room vaporizers. Aromatherapy is designed to enhance the mood and contribute to an improved sense of wellbeing, which can be beneficial in cancer patients.
Nutritional therapies can vary. Nutritional therapy can include a specific diet prescribed by a dietitian that has the goal of a nutritionally balanced and sometimes vitamin rich or even vegetarian diet. Vitamin treatments or herbal supplements can additionally be recommended.
Emotional therapies are those therapies that address the mental and emotional effects common to those undergoing treatments for a serious illness. Informal group therapy or individual licensed therapist counseling and support groups designed for cancer patients are often available in cancer treatment centers or community organizations.
Another more commonly known method for cancer patients, as well as those suffering from emotional trauma, is emotional support animal therapy. Emotional support animals such as dogs and cats are sometimes provided through non-profit organizations in communities.
For those undergoing typical mesothelioma treatment, exploring options of how to integrate additional therapies can be useful. Patients who have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace or home should also contact a Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer to ensure their rights are represented.
Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Can Assist with Your Mesothelioma Case
There is no safe limit for asbestos exposure. That does not mean that every person exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer. However, it is important to keep in mind that asbestos-related diseases may not appear for decades after the exposure.
While treatment is available for mesothelioma, there is no cure for the disease.
How Asbestos Exposure Occurs
Asbestos, a mineral, is just one example of how natural is not always synonymous with safe. Many of those who currently suffer from mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related cancer, were exposed in some form of mining or manufacturing that involved asbestos decades ago.
For most people, current asbestos exposure occurs when they are in a building undergoing renovation. Asbestos was long used in flooring, insulation and other building items, prior to 1980, because of its heat resistance. When the asbestos breaks up, dust is created, and people in the vicinity may inhale or swallow it. The microscopic asbestos fibers are what can cause cancers and other diseases.
If you live with someone who works with asbestos regularly, you are also at a higher risk of exposure. Such workers may bring home minute asbestos fibers on their footwear and clothing. Therefore, it is extremely important for such workers to shower and change clothing before heading home.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is critical that you visit your primary care physician each year for check-ups. The doctor may conduct pulmonary function testing during these visits. Any change can indicate further testing is needed.
Know the Mesothelioma Symptoms
The renowned Mayo Clinic defines mesothelioma as a cancer occurring in the “thin layer of tissue” that covers most of the internal organs. Known as the mesothelium, the layer of tissues most often affected are those in the lungs, followed by those in the abdomen, around the heart, or testicles in males.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include:
Unexplained weight loss
Pain while coughing
Shortness of breath
Tissue lumps under the skin of the chest
Pain beneath the rib cage.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor specializing in mesothelioma as soon as possible.
Since you cannot know whether mesothelioma will strike once you have been exposed, it is important to take other health precautions besides an annual doctor’s visit.
If you smoke, quit. Not only does quitting smoking benefit your health overall, most people know that tobacco may cause lung cancer. Exposure to two carcinogens potentially affecting the lungs just increases the odds of developing some form of lung cancer.
Get flu and pneumonia preventative shots as needed. You want to lower the possibilities of weakening your lungs. Ask your doctor to recommend a good diet and exercise program for your needs and be overall mindful of your health and wellness.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Fight for Those Exposed to Asbestos