Mesothelioma Interest Group: Congress 08"> International Mesothelioma Interest Group: Congress 08

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International Mesothelioma Interest Group: Congress 08 -

In October 06, our firm was pleased to be a major sponsor of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group’s 8th Biennial Congress 06 in Chicago. We are again pleased to sponsor this year’s IMIG Congress 08 in Amsterdam, being held at the end of September. This Congress brings together the world’s leading experts in mesothelioma research from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with hundreds of attendees taking part in an extensive three-track educational program.

The program includes extensive sessions on the basic science of mesothelioma, developments on the imaging of tumors, the pathologic diagnosis of the disease, developments in the various methods of treating the disease, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and various forms of surgery, as well as developments in the epidemiology of mesothelioma and prevention. The program will also include presentation of scores of posters submitted by researchers from all over the world.

We remain committed to working with the medical profession in the hope that they will continue to better understand the way that mesothelioma develops and find effective methods of treatment and, we hope sometime soon, a cure. We hope to be able to bring you additional news about IMIG’s Congress 08 as plans develop. In the meantime, please visit IMIG’s web site and drop in on our IMIG congress page.

Mesothelioma Victims"> IBAS: A Righteous Decision for UK Mesothelioma Victims

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IBAS: A Righteous Decision for UK Mesothelioma Victims -

Exciting news from England where a unanimous high court today affirmed industry liability for low dose bystander and take-home asbestos exposure as a cause of mesothelioma despite industry arguments that there is a safe level of asbestos exposure for which they should not be held accountable.

Here in California and in many other states the law has long protected such victims of asbestos industry lies and misconduct and we are pleased that England’s courts now agree. For more details see the full account at International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.

Mesothelioma Medical Breakthroughs"> Recent Mesothelioma Medical Breakthroughs

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Recent Mesothelioma Medical Breakthroughs -

doctors conferringIf you’ve read about malignant pleural mesothelioma online, then at first glance, it may have seemed as though there are just a few treatment options for MPM patients. However, researchers in dozens of U.S. laboratories are working diligently to develop new and more effective diagnostic tests, chemotherapies, surgeries and biological tools for attacking the disease.

After nearly four decades of helping patients make informed legal and medical choices, we at Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood have learned to keep this principle in mind: Every time you think that you’ve exhausted all available mesothelioma treatments, a new one might just appear on the horizon.

Here are a few good examples of recent mesothelioma medical breakthroughs, many of which are in the later stages of clinical trial.

Using CT scanning for surgery-free tumor tracking

In this case, there was no need for a trial, since computed tomographic (CT) scans are already routinely used as part of the MPM diagnostic process. In a recent study supported by The Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Oberman, Satterley & Bosl Foundation, Inc, a team of radiologists from the University of Chicago found that CT scanning may be used to non-invasively track the size of mesothelioma tumors.

Published in the journal Medical Physics, the group’s results indicated that this 3D imaging method may be as accurate as surgical biopsies in estimating the extent of MPM growth.

And what’s more, the technique might act as a stepping stone for the development of new treatments for MPM!

“[This] computerized method will be implemented in future studies to help evaluate novel therapies,” researchers concluded. “Further, we believe that these methods will be invaluable to researchers who attempt to create novel treatments for pleural-based diseases.”

What other advances in mesothelioma treatment are currently in development?

Plenty! Consider a report recently released by the Mayo Clinic, which explained that a drug used for kidney cancer may double as a chemotherapy for MPM.

Called pazopanib, the substance is typically administered to treat advanced renal carcinomas. However, as Dr. Julian Molina discovered, it may have other exciting applications.

“We…added it to mesothelioma cells that we had in the lab, and we noticed that pazopanib was very effective at killing these cancer cells,” he explained, quoted by the clinic’s magazine, Discovery’s Edge. “At the time, we were doing a Phase I study here in which we were testing pazopanib for patients who had all tumor types.”

In the same edition of the periodical, researchers from the University of Minnesota described their own cutting-edge, “biologic” treatment for MPM: a modified measles virus that can deliver radioactive iodine to mesothelioma tumors without actually infecting the patient.

Lab tests were encouraging. Compared to MPM-diagnosed mice given traditional therapies, those that were treated with this new approach lived twice as long on average. The team told the news source that some of the animals even appeared to have been cured!

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Resolved for DIY Home Improvement Asbestos Exposure Victim"> Mesothelioma Lawsuit Resolved for DIY Home Improvement Asbes...

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Mesothelioma Lawsuit Resolved for DIY Home Improvement Asbes... -

Rick Fenstermaker and his son Ross at a 2010 World Series game In 2011 the Fenstermaker family of Alameda, California received some news that changed their world. Husband and father Rick Fenstermaker was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by breathing invisible, odorless asbestos dust.

Rick Fenstermaker earned his success through hard work and hands-on education. In the 1970s he bought fixer-uppers. He worked on the houses himself: he patched and repaired walls, installed new windows, fixed roofs, and made the homes desirable to tenants. Rick took care of all the property management and maintenance for the homes he rented to his tenants.

Rick and his wife Eve used this entrepreneurial experience to build a thriving realty and brokerage business. Rick and Eve were close supportive partners in both business and home. They raised three children together and enjoyed the successes their perseverance brought.

What they didn’t know is that some of the products Rick used in the 1970s contained asbestos.

Kazan Law’s investigation revealed that the asbestos products Rick used had the same brand of asbestos, called “Calidria.” Calidria was mined, milled, and marketed by the Union Carbide Corporation, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company.

Trial commenced on January 23, 2012. Firm principal Dianna Lyons and associate William Ruiz served as lead trial counsel with law and motion support from associate Michael Stewart. The case resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction after “mini-opening statements” and plaintiffs’ counsel’s first round of jury voir dire.

Rick fought through extensive surgery and chemotherapy with Eve always by his side. Sadly, Rick finally succumbed to his illness and passed away on April 9, 2012, at his home and surrounded by his family.

Mesothelioma Tissue Tests are Improving"> Award-Winning Study Shows that Mesothelioma Tissue Tests are Improving

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Award-Winning Study Shows that Mesothelioma Tissue Tests are Improving -

family making medical decisionsBecause malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is such a tough disease to treat, it’s easy to feel like there’s little or nothing that patients have going for them. Fortunately, this isn’t true. At Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley, we make it our business to see that MPM patients have an advocate, someone who helps them learn their complete legal and medical rights. Making fully informed decisions about care and treatment is essential for people with mesothelioma.

Meanwhile, from the clinical end, researchers are making exciting new finds practically every month, many of which directly affect mesothelioma patients and their families.

Consider an award-winning presentation given at this year’s British Thoracic Oncology Group Conference. In it, researchers announced that diagnostic tissue tests for mesothelioma are getting better and better.

The ‘changing face of mesothelioma diagnosis’

Delivered by a team of British doctors from the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, the poster session won one of the conference’s runner-up prizes, out of a field of 0 entries.

So, what did they say?

The team addressed the “changing face of mesothelioma diagnosis,” concluding that it is shifting toward earlier, more thorough diagnoses. Even though it may seem like cases of MPM have been confirmed in the same manner for the last 30 or 40 years, researchers said that’s not the case. In fact, in just the past decade, the diagnostics that oncologists use for MPM have undergone a seismic shift.

The authors proved as much by analyzing every case of mesothelioma reported in Leicester, England, between 00 and 2010. The results of some basic number crunching indicated a major change in the ways oncologists find MPM.

Over a decade, histology makes a big leap

To start, researchers noted that nearly all cases of mesothelioma are now confirmed histologically – that is, under a microscope. Their data showed that while in 00 just three-quarters of cases involved doctors examining cell samples up close, by 2010 that figure had jumped to 96 percent.

Likewise, the proportion of cases diagnosed during post mortem exams plummeted from 34 percent to just 4 percent.

What do these changes mean? Basically, more cases are being confirmed in a thorough manner, while fewer are dying before diagnosis.

The team also noted that the kinds of diagnostic tests being used are shifting:

  • In the first half of the decade, CT-guided biopsies were used to confirm diagnoses in just 6 percent of cases. By the end of the decade, 36 percent of MPM patients were undergoing this test.
  • Medical thorascopy also had a meteoric rise in Leicester. The team noted that this less invasive form of biopsying leaped from being totally unused to contributing to more than one-third of all diagnoses.
  • Meanwhile, invasive surgical biopsies declined from 43 percent to 20 percent.

“Pre-mortem histological diagnostic confirmation has significantly increased in the past five years compared to the previous five years and is now achieved in [more than] 95 percent of our patients,” the group concluded. “This is due to increased use of CT-guided pleural biopsy and medical thoracoscopy.”

What does this mean for patients?

There are several positive findings in this study. The first is that, by using tissue sampling and microscopic cell staining, doctors are diagnosing more cases of MPM during patients’ lifetimes, making people with mesothelioma more likely to get a solid prognosis and have access to proper treatments and palliative care.

The poster session also indicated that histological staining can adequately confirm the presence of MPM, sparing many patients the experience of undergoing an invasive diagnostic surgery.

Finally, it’s nice to know that the methods doctors use to diagnose mesothelioma are getting more sophisticated all the time.

Mesothelioma Patients Can Keep Up the Spirit of Thanksgiving"> Mesothelioma Patients Can Keep Up the Spirit of Thanksgiving

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Mesothelioma Patients Can Keep Up the Spirit of Thanksgiving -

As Autumn gives way to winter, many people in the U.S. take this time to enjoy the holidays and reflect on the past year. In late November, Thanksgiving often involves cooking indulgent meals, enjoying good wine and counting one’s blessings.

For cancer patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as their caregivers, this may be a challenging time, both physically and emotionally. However, at Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley, we’re committed to helping you adjust to life with this condition as much as possible – and that includes keeping up the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Meal preparation

Thanksgiving dinner is cause for careful consideration for both mesothelioma patients as well as their caregivers – but for different reasons.

For example, those in the latter group may be looking to keep their energy levels up throughout the hustle and bustle of the holiday in order to continually care for their loved one. This is when a few tweaks in meal preparation may come in handy.

For instance, health experts say that a Thanksgiving dinner plate should be half vegetables in order to stave off the lethargy that comes with consuming too much turkey. The antioxidants in these foods, such as vitamin C and beta carotene, can help caregivers feel their best. Delicious choices include peppers, baby carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and beets. The healthiest plates will be light on butter, cream and sugar.

Additionally, brining a turkey in water, salt and seasonings the day before Thanksgiving can help add flavor without the use of fatty, fatigue-inducing ingredients.

Meanwhile, mesothelioma patients may worry about the effects that medical treatment can have on their eating habits, including a loss of appetite, a modified sense of taste, dry mouth, nausea and more.

For patients with no appetite, high-protein and high-calorie products – such as cheese, muffins and dairy – may help. The trick is to eat them more often throughout the day, but in smaller portions.

Individuals with dry mouth or oral sores may also want to consider eating moist and soft products, such as mashed potatoes and gravy.

Of course, the flavor of any Thanksgiving dish can be intensified with spices or sauces.

Enjoy time with your loved ones

As Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are grateful for, it is important for you to enjoy spending time with your friends and family. This is a good opportunity to play catch-up or discuss the challenges you may face every day. Talking to your loved ones and bringing them up-to-date on your situation may also allow them to understand the help you may need.

If you need to reach out beyond your social circles, there are many cancer support groups available online and in person. Hospitals and organizations such as the American Cancer Society are usually able to provide wonderful referrals.

Mesothelioma Patients"> Home Care Considerations for Mesothelioma Patients

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Home Care Considerations for Mesothelioma Patients -

meso_patientOnce you’ve been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, several important questions may come to mind. Some examples may include the following: What is the best course of treatment? Will I be able to endure certain side effects? How will I pay for medical care? What will I do once the disease reaches its advanced stages?

In regards to that last question, one important factor is where you prefer to live. Would you be more comfortable in a long-term care facility, or would you rather live at home?

If you chose the latter, you may find consulting a home health agency helpful.

What is home care?
Sometimes friends and relatives take it upon themselves to help a sick or disabled individual live at home for as long as possible. They can assist with simple tasks, such as bathing, cooking, cleaning or transportation. However, some jobs, such as administering medications, may require more skill. Furthermore, these tasks may prove to be too much, particularly if a caregiver also holds down a full-time job outside the home.

In these instances, it is a good idea to get help from a home health agency. Experts from the American Cancer Society describe these businesses as providers of a wide range of services, including skilled nursing, medical supplies, companion services, and homemaking to run errands around the household.

Why would mesothelioma patients select home care?
Once mesothelioma becomes advanced, you will have to decide where you want to live while you receive long-term medical care.

There are several reasons why choosing home care may be more desirable than institutional care. The former option would allow you to maintain some level of independence within a comfortable and familiar environment. Furthermore, it would be easier to maintain relationships with your friends and relatives. If any of them decide to take on the role of caregiver, hiring a home health agency would provide them some relief and make sure they don’t wear out.

Financial costs may also be a concern. Data compiled by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) showed that in 09, the daily cost of living in a skilled nursing facility was $622. Meanwhile, one visit from a home health visit cost $135.

In 08, individuals who had diseases of the respiratory system accounted for nearly 9 percent of home health patients in the U.S.

How do I pick the best home care business?
Home care services usually require an order from your doctor or other medical provider. The NAHC’s Home Care/Hospice Agency Locator is a great starting point for finding prospective agencies. Once you have a list of potential businesses, you’ll want to vet them thoroughly. The NAHC has some valuable questions for you to ask:

  • Does this provider supply a Patient Bill of Rights?
  • How does this agency pick and train its employees?
  • Will the provider consult with my family when it comes to formulating a care plan?
  • How are workers prepared to deal with emergencies?
  • Will my confidentiality be protected?
  • How do I pay for services?

Collecting a list of references from an agency is also important. Call each reference, and ask him or her about patient feedback. If one of the references is another health provider, ask about whether they referred patients who also had malignant mesothelioma or other similar disease. That way, you can gauge the agency’s familiarity with cases like yours.

Private health insurance policies may cover home health, but this can differ between different companies. Medicare and Medicaid may also cover some patients, but the laws may differ between different states. Furthermore, sufficient medical documentation may be required.