Asbestos-Related Illnesses are Increasing in Number

Dr Gunes Dr Hossami

Dr. Adem Günes & Dr. Abdulla El-Hossami

Asbestos-Related Illnesses are Increasing in Number

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an alarming increase of the number of deaths related to Malignant Mesothelioma. Malignant Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer that forms tissues that cover the lungs, abdomen or heart.

A news report shows that today almost 3,000 people die of this disease. Although majority of them are over 85 years of age, many younger people are increasingly getting affected.

Mesothelioma Related Deaths
In the 16 years between 1999 and 2015, the CDC reported 16,914 Mesothelioma related deaths of people 75 to 84 years old and 682 people aged between 25 and 44.

Since the use of asbestos was banned 40 years ago, researchers are unable to explain the potential causes of asbestos related deaths to people below the age of 35.

The National Cancer Institute has also linked asbestos exposure to other forms of cancer such as gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, and cancers of the throat, kidney, oesophagus and gallbladder.

“The problem with asbestos exposure is, there are really so many places where one can be exposed,” said Dr. Hedy Kindler, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

New cases of exposures to asbestos could be reported during maintenance activities or demolition of structures, installations and buildings. In such cases where exposure to asbestos is possible, protective equipment for all workers is a must. OSHA regulations require employers to provide special protective equipment, additional training and medical monitoring for the workers.

Malignant Mesothelioma Symptoms
The symptoms of asbestos related Malignant Mesothelioma take as long as 20 to 50 years to manifest after exposure. The variant levels of exposure over time could also make it difficult to predict the risk of Mesothelioma. One can be exposed in small levels over a long period of time or in high levels over a short period.

According to Kindler, genetics also play a role. In her own words: “You still need the asbestos exposure, but the genetic predisposition can make you more likely to develop Mesothelioma with a lower level of asbestos exposure.”

Screening for Malignant Mesothelioma is not done routinely and therefore a certain group of people should consider getting tested. Such groups include those with family members who had the disease.

While even early detection of the disease may not offer much help, a number of treatment options are available for patients. Patients have options of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy or a combination of two or more.

Palliative treatments options are also used at all stages of the illness to ease symptoms such as pain and to improve quality of life.

Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment
Alternative cancer treatments are increasingly being employed to help survivors live longer. These include: Metronomic Therapy, Local Hyperthermia, Herbal Medication, Dendritic Cell Therapy, Personalised Anticancer Diet, and Detox Treatments.

Before settling for any treatment regime, a Mesothelioma patient should consult with his or her medical practitioner. The medical benefits and cost effectiveness should be among the factors to be considered before a decision is made.

It is not all dire straits for those who are diagnosed with Malignant Mesothelioma. With appropriate available Mesothelioma treatment options, they can live long and productive lives.

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