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Recent Mesothelioma Research Produces Good News, Bad News

June 4, 2014

A recent study by Dutch researchers produced some good news and bad news about mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos.

First, the good news: The risk of mesothelioma to the general public is lower than it has been, and it’s shown to be lowest among non-smokers, even when the non-smoker may have encountered asbestos (a substance that causes mesothelioma when its fibers get into the lungs of the exposed person).

Now the bad news: Though exposure to asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, incidence of developing the disease is higher among smokers who were exposed to the substance. And even if the exposure was very short-term, smokers were more likely than non-smokers to have mesothelioma.

More good news: A separate study on ovarian cancer vaccines produced promising results for mesothelioma patients.  According to Oncology Nurse Advisor, a protein engineered to combine a molecule targeting a tumor’s cell surface was “found to prolong survival in animal models of both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. This novel approach to cancer immunotherapy may provide a new and cost-effective weapon against some of the most deadly tumors.”

In other promising research, British scientists found that mesothelioma patients’ genes can influence their response to chemotherapy. That means that treatments that are more individualized could be more successful in treating the disease.  According to a Cancer Monthly story, the researchers said that the “ability to predict in advance which patients are most likely to respond to treatment, and which patients are at risk for serious side effects, could help clinicians tailor treatment for better results with less treatment delay.”

Mesothelioma is generally thought to be an occupational disease, brought on  by exposure to asbestos. Men are far more likely than women to have it, most likely because men are more likely than women to work in construction and manufacturing, where asbestos exposure is most likely. However, women and some people who never were directly exposed have contracted mesothelioma. In many cases, they were exposed second-hand to asbestos that might have attached to a family member’s clothing.

There is help for people who have mesothelioma, and their family members. If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma or an asbestos-related cancer, contact us right away at (888) CALL-SAM for a free and quick consultation.

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