The Benefits of Getting Active for Mesothelioma Patients

Exercise benefits are well known and documented, but traditional wisdom says that anyone who is sick should rest and avoid vigorous activity. For people living with mesothelioma and other types of cancer, that traditional advice has been turned on its head. While someone going through treatments for cancer may not be able to do workouts that re too extreme, an appropriate amount of physical activity is actually beneficial.

Research is proving that exercise for people with cancer can help reduce pain, increase energy and fight fatigue, boost mood, improve mobility, manage side effects of treatment, and generally improve outcomes and quality of life. If you are living with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor or oncologist about how you could be more active and what your limitations are.

man riding bicycle

Safe Exercise Now Recommended for Cancer Patients

The American College of Sports Medicine created an expert panel to discuss and release guidelines for exercise for patients undergoing cancer treatment or having completed treatment. The 13 experts on the panel concluded that the basic guideline for people living with cancer is to avoid inactivity. What that means more specifically depends on each patient’s unique needs, abilities, and limitations, but in general, cancer patients should be getting some amount of physical exercise.

The panel came to its conclusion by reviewing research that demonstrates cancer patients get a number of benefits from being active. Those who get the most benefits are patients who have completed treatment. The benefits are numerous, but all come together to impact patients in the most meaningful way, by improving quality of life.

The guidelines released by the panel include more specific recommendations for particular types of cancer for which there is the most information. The panel emphasizes that workouts need to be modified based on the limitations and risks for each patient. For instance, in men with prostate cancer, hormone treatments can cause bones to become weaker, so the risks of fractures need to be considered when planning exercise. There are no specific guidelines for mesothelioma patients, but any cancer patient can work with their doctors, physical therapists, and other experts to create a safe and effective exercise plan.

Exercise and Strength Training Improve Fitness and Muscle Condition

As with healthy people, being active is important for overall fitness and strength. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, builds muscle and reduces age-related muscle loss, strengthens bones, and reduces the risks of many chronic health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. Mesothelioma patients are at risk for suffering from loss of fitness and muscle mass from being inactive. Even a little bit of exercise, like regular walks can help maintain fitness and reduce muscle loss.

Exercise is a Mood Booster

Another great reason to get active while battling cancer is that exercise is proven to boost mood, reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Living with mesothelioma puts patients at risk for experiencing these negative emotions, even to a debilitating degree. Exercise is not a cure, but it can help patients find a healthy way to cope with these feelings and to redirect focus to something more positive, like getting fit, being out with friends, and feeling stronger and in more control of their bodies.

Activity Fights Fatigue

Fatigue is a very common side effect of cancer treatments and a symptom of many types of cancer. Most patients report lacking energy and some even experience severe fatigue. Exercise is proven to boost energy and limit fatigue in cancer patients. According to research, patients who exercise to some degree experience between 40 and 50 percent less fatigue than those who are inactive. It can be difficult to get up and try exercise when feeling so fatigued, but the benefits of doing so are real.

Exercise Stimulates Appetite

Many mesothelioma patients will suffer from a loss of appetite. This can be caused by the cancer itself, but also be treatments like chemotherapy. Nausea is a common side effect, which leads to appetite loss and even weight loss and malnutrition. Being active is proven to stimulate appetite, which can help cancer patients feel motivated to eat more and to put weight back on.

Being Active Improves Mobility

Pain, like fatigue, is a common complaint of people living with mesothelioma. As with fatigue, pain can make getting up and being active a challenge, but the pay offs are significant. Regular exercise can reduce pain, improve flexibility and help patients get more mobile. With greater mobility, a patient can get up more often, engage in normal activities more, and take care of daily chores with less assistance, which in turn gives a patient a greater sense of control.

Exercising Reduces Symptoms of Chemotherapy

Most cancer patients will undergo chemotherapy for treatment. It is one of the most effective ways to shrink tumors, but it also causes a number of side effects that range from mild to debilitating. Studies have found that moderate exercise can significantly reduce those side effects. One study, for example, found that neuropathy, the shooting pains that chemotherapy may cause, is reduced by gentle exercise.

Exercise Improves Quality of Life

One of the most important things about getting more exercise as a cancer patient is improving quality of life. Often the main measure of success in treating patients for cancer is survival time or remission. While this is important, more health care workers are starting to focus on quality of life as an equally important measurement. With exercise mesothelioma patients can enjoy less pain and fatigue, more mobility, a better appetite, an improved mood, a greater sense of control over life, and the ability to get out more and feel less isolated.

Work with an Expert and with Your Medical Team

There are so many great benefits of getting exercise if you are living with mesothelioma or another type of cancer, but there are risks too. It is crucial that you talk to your doctors before you try any type of activity, no matter how gentle it may seem. Your doctors can tell you what types of exercise would be best, what your limitations are, and can even recommend a trainer or physical therapist to work with for the best results. Some hospitals or cancer treatments centers may even have these experts on staff to help patients use exercise as part of treatment. When you’re ready to feel better while living with cancer, you are ready to start getting active.

New Study Shows How Powerful Chemotherapy Is

A recent study carried about by researchers from Wayne State University School of Medicine confirms just how powerful chemotherapy can be for mesothelioma patients.

chemotherapy drugs

The study combined information with the Medicare claims database, along with data from  the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) in order to determine survival rate for patients who underwent chemotherapy for cancer. Age, gender, and health factors were taken into account during the study. The findings showed what numerous medical experts have said all along: chemotherapy has the ability to prolong survival rates significantly.

Not only are survival rates extended, but with a combination of other traditional therapies, chemotherapy can extend survival rate even further. According to Jennifer Lynn Beebe-Dimmer, the lead researcher in the story, the study is the first of its kind.

“None of the previous studies considered chemotherapy usage in their analyses. We also established that surgery is associated with improved OS, and that chemotherapy modified the effects of surgery.”

According to the research findings, close half of all patients (both male and female) who were given chemotherapy as treatment survived at least a year after their initial diagnosis. In addition, patients who received a combination of surgery and chemotherapy survived at least 16 months. The most common form of chemotherapy medications included Cisplatin combined with pemetrexed.

The study included more than 1,600 patients, one of the largest of its kind in terms of mesothelioma treatment patterns.

“Previous clinical trials of mesothelioma have included up to only a few hundred patients, typically derived from a single clinical center or a small geographic region,” wrote Beebe-Dimmer.

About Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy. quite simply, is the use of certain medication to kill and destroy cancer cells. Cancer cells grow more quickly than any other type of cell, and chemotherapy medications prevents them from their quick dividing.

Physicians typically administer chemotherapy in various ways and at various times, depending on the patient and the stage of mesothelioma. The most common ways include:

  • Prior to surgery and/or radiation therapy, in order to shrink cancerous tumors
  • After surgery and/or radiation therapy, to destroy any remaining cancerous cells
  • For recurrent cancer
  • For metastatic cancer (cancer that spreads throughout other body parts)

Mesothelioma patients may get one chemotherapy medication, but it’s common for doctors to prescribe more than chemotherapy drug. The type and amount will depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • The tumor size and location
  • The stage of mesothelioma
  • Patient age and health
  • The side effects the patient experiences
  • Prior cancer treatments

Since chemotherapy side effects can be extremely harsh, doctors usually refrain from having patients take the medication(s) daily. Instead, it’s usually administered during cycle periods determined by the physician. Chemotherapy medications can be administered intravenously (IV) in a hospital setting, a doctor’s office, and at clinics. Chemotherapy drugs can also be taken orally at home. Sometimes, chemotherapy ointment can be applied at home as well, while in other instances, a physician will recommend injected chemotherapy (a shot) into an arm, leg, or stomach.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

Can Exercise Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects?

Chemotherapy is a popular treatment option for mesothelioma, but as with most other cancer treatment, it can come with painful side effects. Exercise is beneficial for everyone, but can it help ease the harsh side effects of chemotherapy? A seven-year study shows that it can with moderation and a standardized program.

running shoes

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute carried out the study with a regime called the “Exercise for Cancer Patients (EXCAP) program,” specifically geared towards cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The preliminary results of the study indicated that patients who exercised experienced a reduction in peripheral neuropathy pain, one of the painful side effects of chemotherapy.

Peripheral neuropathy, when associated with chemotherapy, is actually induced when taking chemotherapy medications. Known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), the condition is marked by tingling and weakness in the hands and feet, cold sensitivity, a burning feeling, and numbness. It can become so severe that it can hinder daily activities, such as walking, cleaning, cooking, and typing.

The popular chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin and carboplatin, in particular, cause CIPN, and in turn, were the primary focus of the study. More than 300 cancer patients participated in the study, which included breaking the group into those who participated in a 6-week talking program and those who didn’t. According to a press release on the study, “The exercisers reported significantly fewer symptoms of neuropathy…and the effects of exercise seemed to be most beneficial for older patients.”

The exercise program used in the study is known as the EXCAP, a regulated program designed specifically for cancer patients. It includes a walking routine and resistance training, which starts out slowly, but increases in intensity and frequency as the program progresses. Since each patient needs their doctor’s approval prior to starting, the exercises are individualized to meet each person’s strength, health, and fitness level.

For example, a patient in decent physical shape could start the program at a moderate level, while incorporating elliptical machine use into the weekly exercise regime. Someone with a low fitness level, on the other hand, would start off with light, brisk walking for 15 minutes per day. If the patient is having balance or dizziness problems, walking may be replaced with stationary bike riding or another physical activity.

More Exercise Programs for Mesothelioma Patients

Since the results of the study were so positive, more and more cancer centers are now offering their own exercise programs for cancer patients. EXCAP creator Karen Mustian, Ph.D. wrote that when the program started, there was a lot of criticism and doubt. But now that the medical community sees the results, the concept of chemotherapy patients exercising in moderation is spreading like wildfire.

“Twelve years ago when we started this work a lot of people said it was not safe for most cancer patients to exercise. Now we know it can be safe when done correctly, and that it has measurable benefits. But more exercise isn’t always better for patients who are going through chemo — so it’s important to continue our work and find a way to personalize exercise in a way that will help each individual.”

Additional Resources and Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

Animal Therapy: How Pets Can Help Mesothelioma Patients

Pets have a way of bringing out the best in people, but for those living with mesothelioma or any other cancer, the benefits of being around animals can help reduce stress, alleviate symptom pain, and much more.

Golden retriever

What is Animal Therapy?

Throughout history, animals have been a part of human lives, assisting them and offering close companionship. The first instance of pets for therapeutic purposes dates back to the 1800s, when “founder of modern nursing,” Florence Nightingale, observed small children (who lived in mental health facilities) showing markedly reduced anxiety after spending time with animals.

Animal therapy, also known as pet therapy, continued to evolve, including a number of experiments and projects conducted by scientists and organization, including a 1977 project by the Delta Society (Pet Partners), an organization that dedicates its time to helping improve human health with the assistance of therapy animals. Today, animal therapy is widespread, used across the nation and many parts of the world.

How Does Pet Therapy Work?

According to the Mayo Clinic, pet therapy can include both animal-assisted therapy services and animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy services is conducted by qualified professionals who dogs and other service animals to help people better cope with invasive illnesses such as mesothelioma. Animal-assisted activities serve a more general purpose of providing a mesothelioma patient with comfort and companionship.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America wrote that per Cynthia Ingram, Animal Therapy Coordinator at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, studies have shown a marked difference after patients started animal therapy.

“Studies have shown that having a therapy dog in a hospital may lower anxiety and depression. Therapy dogs can provide for a sense of comfort and overall well-being, and present a more home-like atmosphere.”

Benefits of Animal Therapy for Mesothelioma Patients

Other benefits of animal therapy include:

  • A decrease in the need for pain medication
  • Decreased feeling of anxiety and isolation
  • Increase in positive tactile sensation
  • Reduction of risk for heart attack, stroke
  • Increase in focus and attention
  • Decrease in fatigue

Risks of Animal Therapy

While there are many proven benefits of animal therapy, there are also risks to be aware. The risks may not apply to every patient, but it’s important to understand each one before making the decision to start animal therapy.

  • Animal behavior problems: Therapy pets are screened and trained, but just like people, they may sometimes have behavior issues that can be off-putting to patients
  • Diseases: Disease transmission from pet to human is extremely small, but there still is a tiny risk that it can occur
  • Fear of animals: Some people fear animals. If the patient has a deep fear of dogs, then animal therapy likely isn’t an ideal choice

Where to Find Animal Therapy

The first step in finding animal therapy for a mesothelioma patient is with a cancer center. If you need assistance finding a nearby cancer center that offers pet therapy, feel free contact us. Likewise, you can also try asking your physician. A number of cancer centers offer comprehensive pet therapy programs, including Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s pet therapy program, Siteman Cancer Center’s TOUCH program, and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s canine therapy program.

Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

California Companies May Be Liable For Second-Hand Asbestos Illnesses

A new ruling by the California Supreme Court mandates that companies that used asbestos materials at job sites, will remain liable for any family member of a worker who develops an illness dues to second-hand asbestos exposure.

younger and older woman talking

The Los Angeles Times reports that in an unanimous decision last Thursday, the California Supreme Court decided that if anyone in the family home develops an asbestos-related disease due to a job site, the company the must pay. Goodwin Liu, an an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California, wrote that employers have to take “reasonable care” to ensure workers aren’t bringing home asbestos, which can affect anyone in the household.

“To be sure, there are other persons who may have reason to believe they were exposed to significant quantities of asbestos by repeatedly spending time in an enclosed space with an asbestos worker — for example, a regular carpool companion,” Liu wrote.

Even though it’s been over 20 years since asbestos was phased out of the majority of job sites in the U.S., the lawsuits don’t seem to be slowing down, and may likely pick up steam. This is due to the long latency period of asbestos-related illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. For instance, it may have been decades since someone came into contact with asbestos, but it could take up to 50 years before a diagnosis is made. Symptoms can lie hidden for years and years, making a diagnosis difficult.

Examples of Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

The following lawsuits helped bring about the California Superior Court’s decision to hold companies liable for second-hand asbestos diseases:

In 2008,  Lynne Haver was diagnosed with mesothelioma. She died a year later. Her children filed a lawsuit against their father’s former company, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, where he worked from 1972 to 1974. Part of his job included working with and around asbestos-containing pipes and other product. The lawsuit alleged that Haver developed mesothelioma after her husband came home daily with asbestos fibers embedded in his hair, skin, and on his clothes.

Johnny Blaine Kesner Jr. was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011. In 2014, at the age of 53, his passed away due to complications of the disease. Prior to his death, he filed a lawsuit against Pneumo Abex LLC, a Virginia-based brake manufacturing company where his uncle once worked. For several years during the 1970s, Kesner spent around three nights per week at his uncle’s house, where he came into contact with asbestos via his uncle’s clothing.

Dangers of Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

Second-hand asbestos exposure can affect people the same way as if they worked around asbestos themselves. When asbestos fibers are transferred from one person to another, the microscopic, odorless fibers are inhaled and become lodged in the body. While some fibers are excreted through sneezing and other bodily functions, it’s impossible to rid the body of all of the tiny fibers.

Asbestos fibers attach to the linings of major organs, and over time, can damage the system and create cancerous tumors. The tumors can result in severe, life-threatening asbestos diseases, none of which are curable (at present). Had employers provided showers and locker rooms for workers to change clothes in, most of the second-hand asbestos exposure cases likely wouldn’t have happened. Instead, spouses and children were needlessly put at risk when it could have been easily prevented.

The new ruling will likely spur additional second-hand asbestos lawsuits in California.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

An Antoxidant In Red Wine Helps Slow Down Mesothelioma

A new treatment involving and antioxidant found in red wine (and a number of foods) and a chemotherapy drug is proving to be a powerful way to battle malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Red Wine

According to scientists at South Korea’s Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital Cheonan, combining cisplatin (a popular chemotherapy medication) with the natural antioxidant resveratrol (found in red grapes, red wine, and other foods) helps to kill cancerous mesothelioma cells. Research indicated that taking cisplatin alone has limited effects, but resveratrol works well with the medication and makes the cancerous cells more vulnerable.

“The molecular basis of the synergistic anti-cancer activities of [cisplatin] and [resveratrol] is not yet understood in detail,” wrote Yoon-Jin Lee, the study’s lead investigator. “However, emerging studies have revealed that [resveratrol] acts as an excellent candidate for potentiation of platinum treatment in vitro and in vivo.”

This isn’t the first time resveratrol was studied to determine its effectiveness in battling cancer. In 2010, the Soonchunhyang research team gave lab mice 20mg of the antioxidant for a month. Results showed that the mice survived longer while their cancerous tumors were reduced from growing. In 2014, the team combined resveratrol with clofarabine, a chemotherapy medication that helps treat cancer and leukemia. The results showed that combination weakened mesothelioma cells.

However, according to Lee, cisplatin has proven to be more powerful that other methods studied, when combined with resveratrol.

“Escaping from apoptosis is one of cellular adaptation mechanisms that confer malignant cells resistance to anticancer therapies,” Lee wrote. “Therefore, therapeutic interventions targeting apoptotic pathways are considered a useful adjunct to standard cancer therapy and make a significant contribution to a favorable treatment outcome.”

About Resveratrol

Along with being found in red grapes and red wine, resveratrol is also found in  pomegranate, raw cacao, blueberries, cocoa, dark chocolate, cranberries, raspberries, peanuts, and mulberries. It’s created by plants to increase both their resistance to disease and survival rate. When consumed, humans can get similar benefits.

Science has long since proven that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even anti-carcinogenic properties. It not only helps to treat cancer, but also a number of other chronic diseases.

Red wine contains high amounts of resveratrol, but the drawback is when you drink wine in abundance, you’re subjecting your body to neurotoxins. When scientists combine resveratrol with chemotherapy drugs, there are no neurotoxins or any other type of toxins included. In addition, consuming red wine typically doesn’t give you enough resveratrol as the body’s chemicals break down wine quickly. It would typically take hundreds of glasses of red wine to get 20mg of resveratrol.

“You would need to drink a hundred to a thousand glasses of red wine to equal the doses that improve health in mice,” said Dr. Sinclair, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Doctors suggest instead of consuming too much red wine, consider eating muscadine grapes on a regular basis, as they contain nature’s highest concentration of resveratrol. Another option includes taking daily resveratrol supplements, but make sure they’re made from a whole food complex.

Dr. David Jockers DC, MS, CSCS, states that resveratrol supplements help fight cancer in six key ways, including:

  • Pausing the cell cycle for DNA repair
  • Stimulating mitochondrial activity
  • Stabilizing blood sugar
  • Decreasing systemic inflammation
  • Promoting cell death in cancerous cells
  • Suppressing cancer pathways

Jockers states that supplements are the better choice for consuming resveratrol. Supplements range anywhere from 20mg to 100mg, but Jockers suggests that cancer patients may need to take additional doses, in the 100mg to 200mg. As always, you should consult your own physician before trying any new supplements.

Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For more information, call 800-793-4540.

Top 3 Thanksgiving Foods For Mesothelioma Patients

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this year, whether at your own home or by bringing a dish or two to a friend or relative’s home, it’s easy to incorporate healthy alternatives that will help battle cancer while enjoying time with family. The following foods contain the strongest cancer-fighting items, approved by physicians and likely approved by your taste buds.

 

Blueberry Dishes

Blueberries

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), blueberries are one the most power cancer-fighting foods available. Packed with Vitamin C, fiber, and ellagic acid, blueberries have cancer-fighting components that are hard to match. Luckily, there are a number of dishes (look for the recipes under the sources section) you can make with blueberries that will compliment a Thanksgiving dinner, including:

  • Blueberry spinach salad
  • Wild blueberry relish
  • Pumpkin blueberry trifle

Carrot Dishes

carrots

The Cancer Cure Foundation states that carrots contain massive amounts of beta carotene. Beta carotene gives carrots their bright orange color, but it does much more than make foods look pretty. The body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, which may possibly help fight a number of different types of cancer. Another substance in carrots, known as falcarinol, was shown to help reduce the chances of developing cancer. Consider the following dishes for Thanksgiving (recipes in the sources section):

  • Sauteed carrots
  • Roasted coconut carrots
  • Julienne carrot salad

Mushroom Dishes

mushrooms

Not everyone likes mushrooms, but those that do can reap powerful cancer-fighting rewards. Mushrooms are packed with Vitamin D, selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and calcium. They also help ward off infections, and fight not only against cancer, but also diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. The following Thanksgiving dishes give an ample of mushrooms, and to many, are a delicious alternative to traditional side dishes (recipes are in sources section).

  • Last minute mushrooms
  • Mushroom saute
  • Herbed mushrooms with white wine

Other Cancer-Fighting Foods

According the to American Cancer Society (ACS), the following foods also have strong cancer-fighting properties. Keep in mind that the recipes and dishes are only general guidelines. Always consult with your physician or dietitian beforehand if you have any questions about your food intake.

Foods During Cancer Treatment:

  • Fish and poultry
  • Lean read meat
  • Soy foods
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Nuts and dried beans
  • Peas
  • Soy food
  • Lentils
  • Water (drink as much as possible)
  • Herbs
  • Fruit milkshakes

Foods After Cancer Treatment: 

  • High fiber foods, such as whole-grain cereals and breads
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • 2.5 cups of fruits each day
  • Apples/prune sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Clear broth soups
  • Yogurt
  • Water

Again, be certain consult with your doctor and/or dietitian concerning your specific nutritional needs and food intake.

Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Patients

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For any questions, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Asbestos Settlement Of $80 Million Reached For Kansas Courthouse Workers

Jackson County, Kansas, employees were awarded $80 million in a class-action settlement brought forth by two former workers who are concerned about the negative impact asbestos exposure will have on their health in the future. Both plaintiffs, as well as all the workers involved, were potentially exposed to asbestos the Jackson County courthouse.

Dc court house new asbestos law

The Kansas City Star reports that workers were exposed to asbestos when the courthouse when through renovations 30 years ago. Both Jackson County and U.S. Engineering, the Kansas City company hired to overlook the renovations, agreed to the settlement after overwhelming evidence showed that they were responsible for the plaintiffs’ failing health. Both plaintiffs are concerned about the future of their health after breathing in asbestos fibers daily.

The first plaintiff, Jeanne Morgan, a former courthouse employee, testified that dust and power nearly coated the entire area of the 5th floor office where she worked. Not only did the dust blow through the air vents, but renovation workers tracked it through the entire building as they hauled out materials. They apparently didn’t bother to take any precautions while renovating the building.

“The particles would be … all over the papers,” said Morgan. “The dust from their boots and their work shoes was on the stairway and in the hallways.”

Another former courthouse worker, David Elsea, the 2nd plaintiff, agreed with Morgan’s testimony. They were both represented by the same asbestos lawyer, who proved that the companies were extremely negligent in the renovation process, literally putting thousands of workers at risk of developing toxic illnesses.

The defendants initially argued that there was no proof that anyone was harmed by asbestos. Yet in 2010, another former courthouse worker, Nancy Lopez, passed away from mesothelioma complications in 2010. Her family won a $10.4 million settlement from U.S. Engineering in 2011. The plaintiffs’ attorney argued that it’s better to start health monitoring immediately, and on the defendants’ expense, before more people passed away from asbestos-related diseases.

According to the lawsuit, U.S. Engineering constructed the courthouse during the 1950s and used asbestos in a variety of places, including on air ducts and vents, pipes, walling, heating, the air conditioning system, and more. Although it was the norm to use asbestos freely during that time, it wasn’t standard 30 years later when the same company came back to the building to perform renovations.

One of  U.S. Engineering’s top former executives testified against the company. He claimed the company did absolutely nothing to stop asbestos fibers from flowing through the building’s vents. They also made no effort to stop asbestos fibers from spreading when workers cut into asbestos-containing materials.

Tyler Nottberg, U.S. Engineering’s current CEO, prepared a written statement read in court last week, stating that the company complied with everything required of them, including relevant industry and regulatory safety standards.”

“Integrity and safety have always been at the heart of our 123-year-old, family-owned business,” the statement read. “And we will not waiver from our commitment to these fundamental values and the Kansas City community, where we are proudly based.”

Part of the $80 million settlement includes around $25 million in lawyer’s fees. The rest of the settlement will go into a “medical monitoring fund,” which will provide workers with the necessary funds to undergo regular medical checkups. It will cover the costs of medical diagnostic tests for the workers, for the next 30 years. Asbestos-related illnesses can lie dormant for up to 50 years. In rare cases, workers develop asbestos diseases within a few years or less of exposure, but in most cases, illnesses such as asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma don’t surface until 20-50 years after exposure.

Fortunately, asbestos is no longer a danger at the courthouse.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.

Why Do People Still Ignore Asbestos Dangers?

Although a number of older buildings and homes in the United States contain asbestos, many people still ignore its dangers, or are simply unaware that it still poses a threat.

home renovation asbestos

 

Each month, more and more reports surface about people working in older homes, whether it be plumbing and pipework, roofing, breaking down walls, or repairing older appliances, that contain asbestos. Others simply ignore the threat of exposure or feel that asbestos is not a current problem, and therefore, they’re above developing a life-threatening illness.

Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that asbestos still remains a real concern in the nation and it’s not going to get any better if people aren’t aware that they too can develop a harmful disease if they’re exposed, not matter how small the exposure is.

Around 30,000 people are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness each year. While it’s true that most people diagnosed were exposed to asbestos on job sites during a time in which asbestos was heavily used, this doesn’t mean that people today are any less likely to develop malignant mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), no amount of asbestos, regardless of how small, is safe. Working on an older appliance that was built with asbestos can cause someone to develop a toxic disease the same way as someone who worked around asbestos for years.

Despite myths, asbestos is still legal in the U.S. It’s still being used in products and people are still being exposed to it. Even though the amount of asbestos in products is a lot less than what products contained in the past, a number of manufacturers still rely on asbestos for its ease of use, affordability, and ability to resist heat and fire.

Some children’s products still contain asbestos. The mineral isn’t nearly as dangerous if its fibers aren’t disturbed, but the issue with using even minute amounts of the mineral in children’s products is that kids may put crayons or clay (some brands were found to contain as asbestos as recently as 2015) in their mouths, and unknowingly swallow asbestos fibers. This increases the risks of children developing peritoneal mesothelioma, a form of the disease that affects the abdomen’s lining.

Spread Awareness About Asbestos

Until asbestos is banned in the U.S. and all products, building, and appliances that contain the dangerous building are destroyed, we need to spread awareness about its dangers. It’s something that a number of non-profit organizations have been doing for numerous years, but the more people who help, the easier it will be to get the word out about the health risks that are still out there.

To learn more about asbestos and myths that surround it, refer to our article, Asbestos Myths Exposed, which can help you understand the common presumptions about the mineral that result in people being needlessly exposed.

To ensure that you and your loved ones aren’t placed at risk of asbestos exposure, never do the following actions on older homes or buildings that may contain asbestos:

  • Repair old appliances in a home that may contain asbestos
  • Tear down old wallpaper or cracked walls
  • Allow children to play in attics, especially around attic insulation
  • Repair broken pipes
  • Help repair or work in older buildings in your community, such as churches or community centers

Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to simply look at home and determine if it contains asbestos, so the best course of action is to hire a professional asbestos inspector before starting any work on a home or building constructed prior to the mid 1980s. Check with your state’s appropriate agency if you need help finding a certified asbestos professional. If you need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Additional Help and Information for Asbestos Victims

If you suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbetosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.

University Of Maryland’s Asbestos Problem: 90 Buildings Still Contain The Dangerous Mineral

The University of Maryland (UM) in College Park, Maryland, constructed during a time when asbestos-containing materials were frequently used, has around 90 buildings on campus that still contain asbestos, despite numerous inquiries and complaints from parents.

Photo by Carmmichaelibrary/Wiki Images

Photo by Carmmichaelibrary/Wiki Images

UM’s student publication, Diamondback, reports that five of the 90 buildings infected with asbestos on campus are so dangerous that they’ve been blocked off completely from use. The other 85 buildings are still in use, and the asbestos is well-contained, according to the Director of Residential Facilities, Jon Dooley. However, parents are still concerned and call the school about asbestos issues, typically during the summer before their students move to dorms. Dooley assures parents that the dorms are safe.

“Every single residence hall is safe,” Dooley said. “We refer students to the residential facilities website if they have any questions about asbestos in their dorm.”

The majority of UM’s asbestos-containing building have the non-friable kind, meaning that exposure is minimal because the asbestos doesn’t crumble under pressure. However, the five buildings below contain friable asbestos and other hazardous materials which restrict any staff member or student from using them:

  • Engineering Lab Building
  • Reckord Armory
  • H.J. Patterson Hall
  • Mitchell Building
  • Francis Scott Key Hall

According to the school’s asbestos program manager, Jennifer Rous, asbestos removal has taken place over the past several years. A number of buildings have already been renovated and are now asbestos-free. Rous said there seems to be a “downward trend” as each year passes, and the amount asbestos being removed is declining.

“There is a downward trend in the general amount of asbestos being removed. Since no more was put into buildings after the 1980s, when you stop adding it and continue removing the material, it eventually is going to go away completely.”

“Going away completely” is what many parents are hoping for, but there is still no set date as to when the campus will finally be asbestos-free. Third party contractors take care of removing the asbestos, which is primarily done at night and on the weekends, when the risk of asbestos is lessened. According to contract construction supervisor, Julius Williams, the removal follows all federal standards and takes place inside a “negative pressure containment area.”

“These are the safest projects that anyone does because of the regulations and also because people are trained to remove asbestos safely…Our asbestos management program on campus is top notch. Our third party contractors, besides being trained specifically in asbestos removal, are collecting samples before, during and after asbestos removal projects in order to ensure the safety of workers, faculty and students on campus.”

This certainly sounds like refreshing news for parents and students alike, but it’s important to note that no amount of asbestos, no matter how small, is safe. Although people are less likely to develop an asbestos-related illness when being exposed to minute amounts, there is never a guarantee. Therefore, it’s crucial that students heed all warning signs around campus when asbestos removal is taking place. Parents also have the legal right to know ahead of time when any asbestos removal will occur at the school. According to the Environmental Health News,

“It doesn’t matter who you are – young or old, strong or frail, rich or poor, factory worker or CEO – if you inhale or ingest even one microscopic asbestos fiber, you’re at increased risk of developing a deadly disease whose symptoms may not show up for decades.”

In addition, teachers need to be especially careful, as history shows that they’re more prone to developing an asbestos illness when compared to students. For example, a 2007 study carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stated that teachers in the U.S. were more than twice as likely to die from asbestos disease when compared to the average American.

This information isn’t intended to scare students are parents, as most colleges do follow state and federal laws when it comes to asbestos containment. However, you should always be aware when asbestos work is being done and take special precautions to ensure minimal risk of exposure.

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more. 

FREE Financial Compensation Packet

Free Next Day Shipping
There is a time limit - ACT NOW
  • Info on the leading mesothelioma lawyers in your area
  • Learn how to get paid in 90 days
  • File for your share of $30 billion in trust funds
    • BBB Accredited Business
    • BBB Accredited Business A+
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.