5 Things to Know About Mesothelioma
Monday was Mesothelioma Awareness Day so here are five things all should know about it.
According to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Mesothelioma is considered by medical experts as one of the most aggressive of all cancers. "The latency period from exposure to onset of symptoms can be up to 50 years," a Monday release on the disease said.
Monday was Mesothelioma Awareness Day and in light of that, we've been provided some talking points on the disease. Here are five things you need to know about Mesothelioma:
1. Treatment - For decades the need for research to develop effective treatments has been mostly ignored. Today, mesothelioma has only one approved treatment that extends average survival by three months.
While basic understanding of the cell biology is progressing, there have been few breakthroughs in the early detection or treatment of this deadly cancer. As a result, the median survival rate for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma is only about twelve months.
Funding for research is key to the development of new treatments and learning how to target the appropriate patient care.
2. September 11 - Expect to see many Mesothelioma diagnoses in the coming years due to exposure by national crises such as September 11, where the twin towers had large amounts of asbestos fireproofing, so all of the first responders risk exposure. Hurricane Katrina also spread large amounts of asbestos, exposing both victims and those helping with clean up.
3. Other exposures - Contaminated vermiculite can still be found in 35 million attics in the United States today.
There is an established history of asbestos exposure in military service and elevated risk of mesothelioma in the military population. About one third of mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve exposures to Navy personnel or civilian workers in our nation’s shipyards. - This information comes from Sharma Butnor and Roggli Sporn's Malignant mesothelioma and occupational exposure to asbestos: an analysis of 1445 cases.
4. Long-term hopes: Bye-bye asbestos - Asbestos has not been banned in the United States. Both the House and Senate tried to pass legislation banning asbestos as recently as 2007 but did not succeed.
5. Future funding - The Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense votes to include mesothelioma on the list of diseases eligible to receive funding through the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). In Fiscal Years 2008, 2009, and 2010 it was included in the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) to compete for a pot of $50 million dollars. In 2011, it was included in the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, to compete for a pot of $16 million. We ask that Mesothelioma have its own line item with a dedicated funding stream of $5 million given its direct link to military service.