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Immunotherapy and Mesothelioma

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseCancer research progress can be slow.  We are always encouraging patients to enter clinical trials. The facts remain that less than 5% of all patients with cancer enter a clinical trial.  Malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease making research even more important. Progress to a cure will only come if scientists are able to study the patients and the impact of the disease on them. When progress is made we need to celebrate it.

In the June edition of Nature Medicine there is an exciting story of a 52-year-old woman from Florida who had metastatic breast cancer and was told she had only a few months to live. Her breast cancer had metastasized throughout her chest and her liver. She had tumors the size of golf balls and was in pain from the tumors pressing on her spinal column, making any movement painful. She joined a clinical trial at the National Cancer Institute, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Rosenberg. The clinical trial protocol included taking tissue from her tumors and identifying the mutations. She had 62 genetic abnormalities in her tissue from her tumor. Of that only four were potential avenues to attack the tumor. The immune system uses white blood cells to fight off bacteria and foreign substances, but with cancer it is not enough.  A “living drug” is made from the patient’s own cells. Scientists screen the white blood cells and extract the cells that can attack the cancer. They then grow these cells in huge quantities in the lab. Along with drugs that will take the brakes off the immune system, and the patient’s own treated cells are infused back into the patient. This procedure took place two and a half years ago.  Almost immediately she started to feel better. Her scans showed her tumors shrinking and disappearing. Now she has been cancer free since the procedure. She is living her life and feeling well. She is the first known patient cured with metastatic breast cancer. In this clinical trial the response rate is 15%. That translates into 7 patients out of 45 survived. The clinical trial included patients with advanced colon cancer, liver cancer and cervical cancer.

Scientists do not know why this woman from Florida with metastatic breast cancer had such a positive, lifesaving response. To find out more much larger clinical trials need to be conducted.

Immunotherapy is a new exciting world of treatment for many cancers. The ways that immunotherapy works for different cancers are still being discovered. The basis of immunotherapy working is to use the person’s own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells, or to give your immune system additional man-made substances such as proteins.

For malignant mesothelioma patients this is a positive, exciting report. Once again, every person’s tumors are different, and scientists are finding the keys to unlocking what will work for certain tumor types. A response rate of 15% is a place to start working on why some patients and some tumors respond and some do not.

Joining a clinical trial not only saved this women’s life, it cured her cancer. No one can promise that anyone else will be cured but she has been!  Investigate clinical trials – you never know!

Staging Updates

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseDiagnosing and staging of malignant pleural mesothelioma has always been a challenge. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare disease but often, symptoms can mimic many more common diseases. Frequently, a patient’s symptoms can be present for months before a diagnosis is made.

After diagnosis, treatment can vary from patient to patient. Some patients are eligible for chemotherapy and supportive care while others with an earlier stage of the disease and better physical health might opt for aggressive multimodality regimes, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Currently at one major academic mesothelioma center, approximately 1/3 of the patients that are seen are candidates for surgery. That leaves the majority of patients with non-surgical options.

How is the decision made? And what does staging of mesothelioma do for patient options? These recommendations are made based on a staging system called TNM. T is for tumor and its size, N stands for nodes, and M for metastasis when lesions are found in other parts of the body. This staging is done to see what the prognosis might be, and for helping to decide what type of treatment the patient with the tumor might be eligible for. This staging is based on the tumor size, location, and what the scientists see under the microscope.

As part of the workup for diagnosing malignant pleural mesothelioma different tests are performed. One of the most common test is the CT scan. The CT can show valuable information particularly in the early diagnosis time to see if the tumor is resectable. The CT scan can show if the disease is limited to one lung, distant metastasis or whether there is involvement of the chest wall or involvement of the abdomen.

Some researchers have taken this information and investigated how the volume of the tumor can predict outcome and treatment. From the CT scans they assess the three- dimensional reconstruction of the tumor. This has helped researchers in the prognosis of overall survival. The second measurement that could potentially help with patient prognosis is the thickness of the disease in the fissures in between the lobes of the lung. Since everyone’ tumor is different this is a difficult staging system to implent due to the variability in the disease and the expertise of the radiologist interpreting it.

One of the researchers that is working on this staging system to help patients on what type of treatment is best for their particular stage of the disease is a Dr. Ritu Gill, a radiologist. Studying CT results of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients can give more precise options to the patients and aid in further research. Measuring malignant pleural mesothelioma is not straight forward because the pattern of MPM is irregular and inconsistent.

While the information from CT scans can be challenging to interpret, clinical trials can test these unique measurements and try to make them even more precise. In practice these findings can be used to monitor patient’s response to ongoing treatment and all over for workups of thoracic malignancy. This work takes the results of the CT one step further.

Although more research is needed, this work will help patients and their mesothelioma team in deciding the best possible treatment for that particular patient’s MPM.

The Journey Can Be A Roller Coaster

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseThe journey with mesothelioma can be a roller coaster of highs and lows both physically and mentally. Many times, we hear families, loved ones, or caregivers say that the patient was not in the state he or she was in before their surgery occurred. It is important to know that as someone undergoes treatment for mesothelioma, so much happens physically and emotionally and change should be expected. The physical portion most people can easily understand, they can see the pain, the scar, the tubes coming out of different parts of the body.

The emotional part is more difficult to understand. This disease has forced the patient to face their own mortality. They are now reliant on people to help them with everyday skills, a task that can be a lot to take in. As you walked into the hospital, it is unfathomable to think that you are going to get out the way you came in. Not only are you dealing with major surgery, but now you have been robbed of your independence.

As you progress through your recovery and eventually home, the reality sets in that you have mesothelioma and the fight must begin. How are you going to move forward, get back to where you started? This time can be quite emotional, and if you have family or friends helping you this may be quite beneficial. I actually saw people recover independently at a rehab but that too can be a rough road. It can be done, but it seems as if that makes it more difficult not to have support to help.

As you sit day to day and mentally feel down, the recovery moves forward but it may not seem fast enough. A good idea could be to keep a journal of your activity, mood, physical appearance, and weight. Most people have smartphones that you can take a quick photo each week as you progress through your recovery. A scale is an easy device to monitor your weight and encourages you to eat healthy. Your activity can be easily monitored if you keep the same route. You can jot down when you go beyond your previous walks, or jot down how many flights of stairs you took that day. All this information can be helpful, but I suggest that it be reviewed once a week as checking day to day may seem too daunting. As you are tracking your progress, try to scale your overall mood for the day, maybe use a numerical scale that is from 1-10. One could be just a lousy mood, frustrated, pain, etc. and ten could be a mood of joy, gratitude, happiness, etcetera. All this information can be helpful when you are able to reflect that you are making progress while you may still experience feelings of frustration.

Recovery from mesothelioma can be difficult, long and hard. Try to surround yourself with positive people and don’t beat yourself up. Remember we all only have today and allow yourself a bad day now and again. When the good and great days come be happy, celebrate and share with others. The journey has begun and now you have a say of how it will move forward.

Memorial Day 2018

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseThis past weekend the nation stopped to honor all that have died in service to our country. Memorial Day is an American holiday, by Federal law it is celebrated on the last Monday in May. Focusing on the reasons for this holiday and the men and women that it honors, it is important to remember how Memorial Day evolved and the history behind it. Originally it was a tradition started to honor the soldiers killed while fighting in the Civil War. It was called Decoration Day because people would decorate the graves of fallen servicemen as way of remembering and honoring their sacrifice for our country. Memorial Day became an official Federal holiday in 1971. This is a day of remembrance and giving thanks for those who have fought for our freedom. Parades are held and for many it is the unofficial start of summer.

War and the experiences in war can leave unseen scars that claim lives years later. Malignant mesothelioma is diagnosed every year in over 3,000 people each year in the United States. Of that amount approximately 1,000 are Veterans of the military, having served our country. Another way servicemen are affected after their service is over is by untreated mental health issues leading to suicide.

The longest foreign war this country has ever fought is still ongoing. In 2001 the war in Afghanistan started, it is now in its 18th year, with many military experts saying there is no end in sight. Many American soldiers have paid the ultimate price in this war. Many other servicemen have paid the ultimate price after leaving the war, dealing with the effects of war on their mental health.

This past week I attended a conference in which a Veteran gave a talk on his experience post military, in his search for mental health help. He is a service connected disabled Veteran who is advocating for fellow Veterans. He is a Veteran of 14 years of service. During his years in the military he had served 2 tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, had multiple commendations for bravery and service. He is a service connected disabled Veteran with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome. His wounds are not evident to look at him but are connected to his service. He has taken his experience with the Veterans Administration and become an advocate for his fellow servicemen. He has dedicated himself to helping other returning veterans so that their path back to health will be smoother than his. As he shared his story he related that in the past few years 15 of his fellow servicemen that he had served with had committed suicide. The suicides were all related to the long-term effects of their service. Some had received help, but most had not. He was advocating for improvements to the Veterans Administration access and availability for the returning service-member.

Some private organizations have recognized the need for ongoing emotional support for the Veteran and their families. One such organization that is dedicated to healing the invisible scars of war in Boston is called Home Base, started by the Boston Red Sox Foundation. Home Base is dedicated to ongoing counseling and support of Veterans and their families, regardless of their discharge status.

As we remember those who have given their lives for our country this Memorial Day 2018, remember the Veterans who are struggling with the invisible demons of their service.

Thank-You for your service.

It’s Okay to Talk About Dying from Mesothelioma

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseThe process of dying can be awkward, unpredictable and messy. We all like to have some control of our lives but this last final phase keeps us all on our toes. For many people this phase of life, is approached reluctantly with fear. To face dying, makes us face our own mortality and we begin to question ourselves, ideas and the world around us. For most of our lives we plan, we have goals, we take steps to reach those goals. For many this is an orderly process, and we take pride in accomplishing our goals. Dying is uncharted territory. We might have an idealized goal of a peaceful death surrounded by family at home, but the path to that goal is not one we have experience with.

As we prepare to care for people in the final stages of life we need to help them have peace with their decision. A personal choice of this magnitude cannot be dictated. Many people who come to terms with their disease often opt for comfort measures, in hopes that they will no longer be plagued by symptoms of the disease, multiple doctor’s appointments, medications and the side effects. This individual choice is what is right for that person on their own schedule.

The good news about coming to terms with ending aggressive treatment is that there is some rest and the energy that was spent on treatment, can now be focused on what the patient would want. Possibly it is just being home with loved ones, resting, have conversations at ease, and being with familiar surroundings. Patients don’t often come to a decision about ending treatment abruptly these are usually well thought out. When the body will not cooperate with your mind often this is the time that a mindset change.

Many time patients feel they are quitting, giving up, or their loved ones want them to pursue treatment for a little while longer. Whatever the reasons in the end patient and families want to know they did everything they possibly could. People do not want to be left behind thinking that there was one more thing they could have done that would have changed the results. It is hard not to think about ourselves, but the focus should remain on the patient offering peace and dignity, respecting their choice.

As we know there are no cure for Mesothelioma, but we continue to try every day. We are aware that 3000 patients are diagnosed a year and 2500 dies from asbestos related disease each year. Each of those people are unique with their own life experiences, influencing their decisions on treatments and dying. As the years progress we continue with more treatment options and are learning to treat symptoms of the disease better. In the end it reminds us of what asbestos can do and still continues to do. For the people who continue to bravely fight this disease, get involved with clinical trials, have surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and all the other procedures you endure thank you. Without you the treatments would not be as advanced, and we know so much more today than we did 2 years ago. Someday this disease will hopefully have a cure and people will no longer suffer, and all deaths will be where the person wanted, and the way they wanted.

You Are Not A Number

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseAs people progress through their journey of Mesothelioma often they believe that they just become another patient or a number. From the beginning of their journey all they hear are numbers. There are 3000 cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed a year. Your odds of survival are x percent. There are so many numbers thrown around that no doubt people wonder how they even count as a person.

Well I disagree. As we visit Mesothelioma patients, we began to know them as individuals and develop relationships with them. These patients become part of our daily thought process. We worry for them, we worry about their mental health, their own thoughts and families. Over the last few weeks this has reminded me how much we and other medical professionals are emotionally invested.

As I sat today and spoke with a doctor how various patients, outlooks, patient families, and upcoming worries it reminded me of the continual thought process that is poured into each of these individuals. We used to hear from a physician who would say you may feel like you are sitting and waiting for something to happen, but please know that things are happening despite what you see or don’t see.

When you lay awake at night and cannot fall asleep know that someone is thinking of you as well. When one patient starts their medical journey, the emotional investment begins. The mental and physical investment begins as well, but so much is poured into each and every case.
To be honest with you we speak about patients and families as if they are our own families or loved ones. This is a long journey and we see you at the most vulnerable state and try to build upon that. I don’t know of any other disease that commands such an investment that the mesothelioma team gives to each patient. It really does not seem like it is just the nurse, but it encompasses everyone from the social worker, to the chaplain, to the oncologist, surgeon etc. to the staff who can run the hospitality house.

Mesothelioma can make you feel alone, isolated and fearful. Please know you are not just a number, you are a person who someone cares for, a medical team who is working diligently to improve your life, and above all you are a fighter. You were diagnosed with this disease, which was completely baffling to you and your loved ones but there are medical centers out there who care and want you to be better. Yes, we all know there is no cure but there are treatments, that can help provide relief from symptoms and extend your life. Know that you are not a number, you are a person who is important to many.

Talc, Abestos and Finding Answers

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseWhen talking with patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there are a certain percentage of people that never know how they acquired the disease. There is no known asbestos exposure in their past that they can identify. For some it is a mystery that remained a mystery.

Recently we saw a pleural mesothelioma patient who has had a complicated post-op course. She is currently in rehab and looks fabulous! She is recovering and regaining her strength. She has not been able to link any risk factors to mesothelioma. Her job has not been in one of the known occupations that increase the risk of mesothelioma. She has been a long-term user of talc and powders that contain talc. Could this have been her exposure that led to her developing malignant mesothelioma?

Recent attention in the news has now linked the use of talc to the development of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral, it is known as the softest mineral. One of the reasons for this is that it can absorb moisture and be crushed to a powder that is used in “talcum powder.” Another form of talc is soapstone. Soapstone is used to make sculptures, bowls, countertops and many other objects. These are the two forms that most people think of when they think of talc usage. Talc usage is in many products and used as a filter in many. The most common use of talc in the United States is in the manufacturing of plastics, accounting for around 26% of total talc use. Approximately 17% of talc consumption is used as a filler in ceramic products such as bathroom fixtures. Talc is used in a variety of products including paint, paper, cosmetics, antiperspirants. It is also used in roofing materials to improve the resistance to the weather. It is also used as a carrier for insecticides and fungicides it can be blown through a nozzle and sticks to the leaves and stems of plants.

Talc is also commonly found in baby powder and in cosmetics. Talc is also used in rice and chewing gum and in some tablets. It is used to absorb moisture, prevent caking, or to improve the feel of a product.

Cosmetic products and the ingredients that are in them, do not have to undergo FDA approval before they go on the market. The cosmetic company is responsible for the safety and labeling of their products and for the ingredients in them. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act the companies are not required to share their safety information with the FDA.

What is talc? Talc is a naturally occurring mineral. The ingredients that make up talc are magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen. Talc is mined in the United States from an open pit. Most of the talc deposits in the United States are in metamorphic rocks on the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains or in Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, and New Mexico and Texas. China leads the world in production of talc.

Asbestos is also a naturally occurring mineral. Talc and asbestos occur naturally and are often intertwined in the ground. Since asbestos is a known carcinogen, and since asbestos is known to be present in talc deposition, this issue of asbestos and talc has been studied for many decades. However, it is only recently that the issue of asbestos and talc has received media attention through a number of legal cases. There have also been recent legal cases involving talc and ovarian cancer that have given attention to this issue as well.

This connection of the use of talc and the development of mesothelioma can possibly be the answer for some patients who have already been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. For those who have had no answer to the development of their disease, the issues that have come out about asbestos in talc could help in answering these lingering questions.

Why You Should Use Corn Starch and Not Talc

talc asbestosThe link between asbestos in talcum powder (talc) and mesothelioma has taken center-stage recently with several large jury verdicts leveled against the leading manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson). The company has been sued in thousands of claims alleging that its baby powder causes ovarian cancer. But cases involving mesothelioma are based on the presence of asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc products, which is breathed in by those using or exposed to the products. It is important that consumers understand that the corn-starch version of Johnson’s Baby Powder is 100% asbestos-free, whereas the talc-based classic Johnson’s baby powder formulation has been found to contain asbestos.

The Connection Between Talc and Asbestos

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral known for its moisture absorbing properties. Talc is found in close proximity to asbestos when growing in its natural state. Exposure to asbestos is the only well-established cause of mesothelioma in the United States. Consumer companies must refine talc before use, but studies reveal that many products, including baby powder, still contain small percentages by weight of asbestos. Cornstarch, however, can be safely used as an alternative to talc. Cornstarch is made of large particles located in the corn kernel and is completely free of asbestos. Many consumer product companies have acknowledged the benefits of using cornstarch and have increasingly used cornstarch in place of talc. Johnson & Johnson, however, continues to market two versions of baby powder: one with corn-starch and the classic, more-recognizable version with talc. Clearly, talc should not be used in any baby powder or body powder because of the findings of asbestos in talc, and because a 100% asbestos-free alternative exists in the form of corn starch. Studies also demonstrate an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who use talcum powder regularly below the waist.

Historic Verdict Links Mesothelioma to Talc in Baby Powder Products

In a major victory for mesothelioma patients in April, 2018, a court in New Jersey concluded that the talc found in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was contaminated with asbestos in the mining process. Plaintiff Stephen Lanzo, represented by two MesoLawyersCare law firms, maintained that he developed mesothelioma as a result of using baby powder for decades. Internal Johnson & Johnson documents revealed that the company was aware that the talc in its baby powder contained asbestos yet failed to provide warnings on its packaging alerting consumers about the dangers. This knowledge dates back prior to the 1970’s according to company documents. The jurors awarded $30 million to Lanzo and $7 million to his wife and an additional $80 million in punitive damages to be paid by Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America, Inc, a talc supplier.

Mesothelioma Litigation Against Talc-Based Product Manufacturers

Unlike asbestos lawsuits that often arise from occupationally-related asbestos exposures, the plaintiff in the Lanzo case was exposed to asbestos that contained in talcum powder. Evidence that asbestos was present in talc came from historical documents and testing, as well as modern-day testing of vintage products. Asbestos was found in the majority of Johnson’s baby powder products tested by the expert for the plaintiffs in the Lanzo case. Johnson & Johnson vigorously objected to the admission of this testing in the Lanzo case, but the trial court overruled its objections. Johnson & Johnson still claims, despite all this testing, that its talcum powder products never contained any asbestos. Johnson & Johnson also claims that any asbestos minerals in its talc-based powder do not meet certain geological definitions for “asbestos fibers”. However, the jury in Lanzo rejected these arguments and concluded that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was a defective product because it contained asbestos, that the product was unreasonably dangerous and that cornstarch is a safer feasible alternative.

The outcome of the case is significant because it is the first time Johnson & Johnson has been held liable in a mesothelioma case in connection with the presence of asbestos in its baby powder. Despite the company’s continued claims that their baby powder poses no health hazards, the verdict is further evidence why consumers should use corn starch instead of talc.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact MesoLawyersCare to learn how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We have recovered some of the largest and most notable verdicts in mesothelioma cases in the country. Call us at 1-888-568-1177 or complete the form on this page to speak to our attorneys about your case.

Keytruda

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseThis past week encouraging news came out regarding Merck pharmaceutical drug Keytruda and patients with previously untreated advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Keytruda is a drug that harnesses the immune system to attack tumors. It is an immunotherapy drug that works by targeting a protein called PD-1- programmed death receptors. It is thought that the cancer cells do not allow the white cells to attack and kill the cancer cells as they normally would do with other foreign invading toxins. The clinical trial that the news came from was presented by Dr. Leena Gandhi of New York University, Perlmutter Cancer Center and reported at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Chicago. The study showed that Keytruda was useful when added to the standard chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer, which is the type of lung cancer most commonly found in people that smoke. By adding Keytruda the one-year survival rate increased from 49% to 69% as compared to the group who received the standard chemotherapy only.

Keytruda whose generic name is Pembrolizumab, has been used to treat many different types of cancer. It has been used with some degree of success in patients with melanoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer of the stomach, head, neck, and bladder. The total sales for the treatment with Keytruda was a total of 3.8 billion, with an average cost of $150,000 per year, per patient.  Keytruda is administered intravenously. The common side effects are nausea, anemia and fatigue. The standard chemotherapy treatment used in the study and for non-small cell lung cancer is pemextred and carboplatin in the control group with Keytruda in the other group.

The only approved chemotherapy treatment in the United States is pemextred and cisplatin.  Scientists are excited about the possibilities that immunological drugs can offer to patients with a variety of cancers. It is not a one size fit all approach. All the additions and timing of when to administer the chemotherapy with or without the immunological drugs has to be studied through clinical trials that are carefully regulated.

For patients with malignant mesothelioma the number of patients is small. With approximately 2,500 to 3,000 patients a year diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the United States per year, the challenge is to encourage enrollment in clinical trials that patients may qualify for. Other immunological drugs are also showing promising results with malignant mesothelioma.

The timing of treatment is critical. Diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma can sometimes take time due to the rarity of the disease, and most symptoms mimic other more common diseases. The importance of knowing what clinical trials that the patient with malignant mesothelioma may be eligible for is how progress to a cure is going to happen.

Currently there are 13 studies listed on www.clinicaltrials.gov that are studying Keytruda/ Pembrolizumab and malignant mesothelioma. Of that 13, 2 are not actively recruiting patients, 10 are recruiting, and one has been withdrawn.

Progress is exciting! Encouraging continued participation in clinical trials is the way forward both scientifically and economically.

Investigate the possibilities, www.clinicaltrials.gov

Comfort Care

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseWhen it was announced on Sunday April 15th that Barbara Bush, the wife of one President and the mother of another, would be receiving comfort care, there was confusion as to what that meant. Comfort care refers to focusing on the symptoms of a disease and not focusing on curing the disease at the end of life. Hospice and palliative care are forms of comfort care. Comfort care is about maintaining dignity and managing patient’s symptom and maximizing the quality of the time that a person has left. The goal is care and not a cure of the underlying disease. There is a shift from fighting the disease to fighting the symptoms, the pain, and shortness of breath or whatever the symptoms may be.

The decision to change the focus of care is a personal one. Mrs. Bush chose to stop trips to the hospital for further aggressive treatment. Her choice and the choice of any patient who choses comfort care at the end of life, does not mean the patient is not cared for. We are all mortal, we all have a limited time on this earth. Although we know this in our head most of us avoid talking and dealing with this inevitable conclusion to our time on earth. Mrs. Bush announcement included a quote, “Life has been good and while more would be great this is enough.”

By opening up the conversation regarding care at the end of life it brings attention to a topic that most people are not comfortable with, our own mortality. April 16th, 2018 had been declared National Healthcare Decision Day. Medicare has a Voluntary Advance Care Planning benefit for people to make important decisions that give them control over the type of care they receive at end of life, and when they receive it. There are organizations that are trying to bring the importance of thinking about end of life issues and what our wishes are, to the forefront. The Conversation Project, End of Life Resources for Patients and Families, www.caregiver.org, www.nia.nih.gov, are all resources that can be used to start the conversation.

The choice is a one that not all family members arrive at or understand in the same time frame. Some patients look upon this decision as empowering. There is also some confusion as some patients and family members look upon this as “giving up.”

For many patients with malignant mesothelioma the end of the journey may come after months or years of dealing with disabling symptoms, along with having some quality time. It is very important that you speak to your medical team and make your wishes known.

Thank you, Barbara Bush for sharing so much of your private life and most intimate wishes.
Because of you this will give the power and courage to help people guide themselves through the pathway to the end of life. Hopefully the door has been opening to change the culture to openly talk about what matters most to all of us at end of life and share it with our loved ones.

MLC Law Firms Win $117 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Against J&J

Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Talc Mesothelioma Verdict for Stephen Lanzo

Pictured: MesoLawyersCare attorneys Joseph Satterley (left), Moshe Maimon (middle) and Denyse Clancy (right) after this historic verdict.

April 11, 2018 – Two of the MesoLawyersCare law firms, working together for our deserving mesothelioma client, won a historic victory today in New Jersey state court against Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (“J&J”), and Imerys Talc America, Inc. (“Imerys”), a supplier of the talc. The jury unanimously found that Steve Lanzo’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos in Johnson’s talc baby powder and Shower to Shower products. The trial proceeded in two phases: the liability and punitive damages phase. Last week, after a three-month trial, the jury awarded $37 million dollars to compensate Steve and Kendra Lanzo for their damages resulting from Mr. Lanzo’s mesothelioma. Today, the jury awarded an additional $80 million dollars in punitive damages, consisting of $55 million against J&J and $25 million against Imerys.

Both J&J and Imerys continue to claim that their talc never contained asbestos. However, the jury rejected this argument, unanimously finding that Mr. Lanzo breathed in asbestos from his use of J&J’s talc powders. In its verdict, the jury also decided unanimously that both defendants failed to adequately warn about the health hazards of asbestos in their talc. The jury was also asked to decide whether Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower were “defective” products as the result of being unreasonably dangerous. The jurors all agreed that the products were defective because it contained asbestos and J&J had a safer feasible alternative design (corn starch) that they could have sold instead of its talcum powder. The MesoLawyerCare attorneys devoted themselves to the Lanzo family and this cause in order to win this important victory. The team of MesoLawyersCare attorneys presented a large number of previously confidential corporate documents regarding asbestos in talc for the jurors to view and consider in deciding the case.

This trial was the first mesothelioma case in which J&J has been held responsible for asbestos in its baby powder talc products. There have been previous verdicts against J&J in ovarian cancer cases, but those cases have not centered around the presence of asbestos in the talc and did not involve mesothelioma. The documents unsealed in court, which came from the defendants’ confidential files, dated back to the 1960s and 1970s. These documents showed that the companies knew that there was asbestos in the talc used in Johnson’s Baby Powder, but failed to provide any warnings to customers about this severe hazard. The jury was also shown documents showing that J&J could have replaced its talc baby powder with a safer alternative (corn starch) but failed to do so because of marketing and litigation concerns. One of the documents from 1977, indicated that J&J had done market testing showing that most customers preferred corn starch baby powder (a substance that is 100% asbestos-free).

The United States government has never regulated cosmetic talc powder products. The companies instead “self-regulated” and opted to primarily use a test method that they knew lacked the sensitivity needed to identify asbestos in talc. In the 1990s and 2000s, additional testing and correspondence put J&J on notice that there was asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder. One of these reports, from the 1990s, was a published article that identified a talc sample as “Sample I” that contained asbestos fibers. It was not until litigation with J&J in 2017, that it was revealed that J&J had documentation that “Sample I” (which contained asbestos) was Johnson’s Baby Powder, purchased off-the-shelf in the 1990s.

Evidence was introduced at trial showing that, in 2008, Imerys’ head of product stewardship made a monopoly board called “License to Market” for selling talc. On this monopoly board, a skull and cross bones and “DANGER” were placed next to squares marked “Public perception” and “Litigation”.

At the punitive damages phase of this trial, Imerys’ Chief Financial Officer testified that Imerys Talc America’s Board of Directors had not discussed making any changes as a result of the jury’s finding that there was asbestos in the company’s talc. J&J did not have a corporate representative testify during the punitive damages phase of the verdict.

The dedicated lawyers and staff from all the MesoLawyersCare law firms are proud to announce this important verdict for the Lanzo family. We are also hopeful that our victory in this case will help others diagnosed with mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos from dangerous talcum powder products, and that these companies will stop using talc in baby powder and body powder products.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact us so that we can see if MesoLawyersCare can help you. Our firms have collectively recovered over $10 billion dollars for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. As this verdict shows, we are willing to take on powerful corporations to get our clients the justice they deserve. You can contact us today by calling the phone number on this page, typing into the “live chat” with one of our representatives now, or filling out the form on this page.

Dignity

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma Nurse“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” In 1948, after World War Two this declaration with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is thought of as the beginning of the modern-day human rights movement.

Dignity is the one thing we all value and take for granted. We just assume we are going to function independently and our goals will be met. Diseases like Mesothelioma try to rob individuals of their dignity. It is hard as a loved one to witness a person struggle and not jump in and take over. I have watched an individual over the last few months become plagued by the disease and continue to maintain his independence and dignity. From an outsider’s viewpoint everything seems to be such a struggle and it is heartbreaking to watch. We recently had a conversation about some of his activities that he does independently. As he explained to me, the physical symptoms are the hardest. Shortness of breath is one and the fluid has made his mobility almost impossible. There are a few activities that he still enjoys and feels he can still do. As he continues to control his medical journey independently he has learned to ask for help when needed. The activities that he performs independently he hangs onto and is unwilling to give up despite the thoughts of others. Perhaps his family or friends could do it quicker or better, but he still can do it. We must respect what people can do despite how it appears on the outside. We all need to know we can perform somethings independently.

As we watch so many people battle with their illnesses we realize all we really can do is support them. Sometimes just watching can be the hardest but possibly the most important. Often, we can be guilty thinking “if that was me I would do this.”. Truth be told I believe no one really knows what they would do. For this individual he continues to fight despite what others think he should do. The one thing Mesothelioma has not stolen is his power to make decisions about how he will travel through his journey. Choices are freedom and he continue to make these for himself.

This has to be one of the hardest parts of watching someone deal with Mesothelioma, how it steals someone’s self- worth. How do we help someone preserve this component that makes us all individuals? Being able to care for ourselves independently gives us self-worth. For this person the mere task of dressing, putting on shoes, still provides self-worth. It would be easier for a loved one to step in and do some or all of it, and sure would be quicker, but we must allow a person to continue to provide himself with the simple tasks of caring for himself. No doubt the fight and will are still there so we must support these people. Taking over for a loved one who is having difficulty with anything can dash their hopes and dreams. If we don’t allow patients to try, then what have we left them with.

Mindfulness

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseBeing diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma is a life altering event. How does one handle and function when facing the voice in your head that cannot be turned off? A growing number of patients are finding relief in a way of thinking known as mindfulness.

One definition of mindfulness in Psychology Today is: “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”

Mindfulness is a way to “rewire the brain for the better.” This is not a new technique it has roots that go back thousands of years to Buddhism and Hinduism. The modern-day movement is thought to have started in the 1970’s. In 1975 the Insight Meditation Society was started by 3 people. Another leader is Jon Kabat-Zinn is credited with starting the conversation regarding the clinical effects of mindfulness. In the late 1970’s he founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester Ma. He currently is a Professor of Medicine Emeritus at UMASS. He developed a stress reduction and relaxation program called “Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR), putting mindfulness in scientific context. His program is 8 weeks long, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and continues to be taught and practiced.

Mindfulness must be practiced. It is not something that clears your mind of all thoughts and concerns, it is not a way to relax. It takes time and practice to incorporate it into your life and get results. It helps both the mind and spirit. Meditation is a part of mindfulness.

There are classes available to learn about mindfulness. Cancer Centers, or Centers for Integrative Health Care, might have one available or be able to tell you were the nearest one is. There are classes available on line, books, apps, all different ways to learn about mindfulness.

One book, Mindfulness- Based Cancer Recovery, by Linda Carlson, includes research that shows mindfulness can lead to a 65% reduction in stress symptoms, has a measurable biological affect, slows the cells aging and maintained the shortening of telomeres. According to Carlson, “the goal is to focus on the events in your life as they are instead of ruminating about what could have been or what might still be.”

In a 2017 pilot study a researcher from the Mayo Clinic, Robert Benzo MD, found that people with lung cancer who practiced mindfulness before and after lung surgery, had fewer complications and better lung function.

A study published by Britta Holzel, a research fellow at Harvard and Giessen University in Germany, demonstrated that through meditation, the brain was able to create new gray matter. Practicing meditation can play an active part in increasing our quality of life, while helping reduce a number of symptoms.

People diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and their loved ones are under enormous stress. Practicing mindfulness may be a way of letting go what you cannot change and become comfortable in the present moment.

Review Your Nutrition

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseThe role of nutrition before, during, and after a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma or any cancer is being studied and the results are constantly evolving. The basic information is that your personal diet should fit your taste, contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and be affordable for you. Generally, it is recommended that your diet be low in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

The National Cancer Institute has a division, Nutritional Science Research Group, in the Division of Cancer Prevention, whose purpose is to, “promote and support studies, establishing a comprehensive understanding of the precise role of diet and food components in modulating cancer risk and tumor cell behavior.” On Cancer.gov, there are results of studies that have been conducted and their connection with cancer.

Research has shown that you can reduce your chance of getting cancer or improve your chances of recovering from it by making conscious decisions about what you eat. We all have heard through the media many propositions for what someone should eliminate but one of the most promising diets is a plant-based one which eliminates meat, dairy and eggs. Back in 2012 there was an analysis of all the studies that concluded that vegetarians have significantly lower cancer rates. A study funded by the National Cancer Institute showed that vegans have lower rates of cancer than meat eaters and vegetarians. What is it that makes vegan and vegetarians less prone to cancer? When eating animal protein, the growth hormone called IGF-1 is increased. By performing studies that collect blood from meat-eaters, vegans, and vegetarians and placing it on human cells growing in a petri dishes, the results showed that those who ate more plant- based diets were found to suppress the growth of different types of cancer. Additionally, research has shown that being overweight can be a risk factor for cancer.

When you are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma you may lack hope and doubt that a diet change is going to improve your outcome. Despite what the cancer will bring, you may feel better by just making some positive changes. Your whole diet does not have to change overnight but simple steps can improve your overall health and outlook. The American Cancer Research encourages us to eat a diet where our plates are filled with 2/3 of plant- based foods.

We know that Mesothelioma is not related to diet but the overall control of how you treat and fuel your body may feel empowering. Possibly you do not want to change your diet and you are satisfied with your nutritional status and that is fine. Although there is not one study that could provide all the answers, find what is right for you and give it a try.

There are a lot of healthy foods and vitamins widely available to all. Supplements can help a limited diet but, unfortunately one vitamin cannot take place of a food that would otherwise be full of it. Many times, vitamins work with other vitamins and not individually so that should be considered when making food choices. Remember it is quality over quantity; if you cannot get fresh vegetable, try the frozen version. Always remember something is better than nothing.

Sleep Week

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseWhen dealing with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma it is vital to take the best possible care of yourself. One of the ways to do that is to get enough sleep. The amount of sleep that can provide you with optimal physical health, optimum immune function, mental health, and cognition, is what you need to obtain. This is often easier to say and to intellectually know but to achieve can be challenging.

Mesothelioma SleepSleep is a basic need of the body for physical and psychological well-being. The importance of sleep for best health cannot be underestimated. Sleep is something that has been undervalued by many of us. The amount of sleep we need varies with age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults age 18-64 should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Age 65 years and older 7 to 8 hours are recommended. Infants and younger people require more sleep. Over time not sleeping, called short sleep deprivation, can lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and all-cause mortality. The immediate effects of not getting enough sleep are irritability, negativity, bad mood, inability to concentrate, short term memory loss, apathy, poor communication and questionable decision making.

Sleep and its effect on the human body is studied by sleep doctors. These specialized experts are called somnologist- from the word “somnus” meaning sleep. These physicians have additional training in the science of sleep medicine and are board certified by the American College of Sleep Medicine. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, is dedicated to achieving optimum health through advancing the field of sleep medicine at the state and local levels.

There have been many studies conducted regarding sleep and its effects. In our culture often people admire someone who claims to get only 4 hours of sleep a night. In one study nearly 30% of adults in the United States reported that they sleep 6 or fewer hours a week.

Research has shown that long-term sleep disruptions may raise the risk of diagnosis of certain types of cancer. The findings that lack of sleep increases inflammation and disrupts normal immune function. Involved in the sleep cycle is a hormone called melatonin, which we produce with sleep, this hormone is thought to have antioxidant properties that help prevent cellular damage.

March 11-17 is Sleep Awareness Week. “Begin with Sleep” (#YourDayBeginsWithSleep), the focus of this week is to educate people about the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals. The week is sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to improving health and well being through sleep education and advocacy.

Being diagnosed with cancer can lead to sleepless nights. In the middle of the night unable to sleep our darkest fears can seem to be reality. It is important when this happens that we realize that what we think at 4 a.m. is often shrouded in lack of sleep, and a negative hopeless frame of mind. It is important for all of us to take care of ourselves and get enough sleep for our physical and emotional well-being.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is getting a good night’s sleep.” – E. Joseph Cossman

Mesothelioma TV Commercials

Everyone has seen commercials for mesothelioma on television. When you are watching the news or a football game or your favorite show, you see commercials targeting people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Some of these commercials offer a free mesothelioma book, while others talk about a 30 billion dollar asbestos trust fund. What should people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their family members make of these TV commercials?

1. Any Law Firm Can Run a TV Commercial.

It’s important to keep in mind that any lawyer or law firm can pay money to run a TV commercial. This does not mean that the law firm or lawyer has any experience or track-record in actually litigating mesothelioma cases. A law firm can have a commercial on TV even if the law firm has never won a single jury verdict in a mesothelioma case. If you watch closely, you will see the name of the law firm that put the commercial on TV at the very end of the commercial. You can read the name of the firm and research the firm to find out: if they actually have a proven track-record in mesothelioma cases, if their attorneys have good credentials and if they have handled mesothelioma cases similar to yours.

2. The Firm Running the TV Commercial May Not Handle Your Case.

You may be surprised to know that there are lawyers that run TV commercials that do not actually file and litigate the claims for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Many firms advertising on TV will come and meet with you and have you sign a contract and then send your case to a litigation firm that primarily works on the case. Marketing and litigation require different skills and focus. Some firms are very skilled in marketing and running very polished and persuasive TV commercials. Other firms put their focus on litigating cases including trying mesothelioma cases in front of juries. Some firms are skilled in both marketing and litigating. However, there is no way to make this judgment about the firm based on a 30 second TV commercial.

3. If You Found MesoLawyersCare, Then You’ve Been Doing Your Homework

If you are reading this, then you have decided to research which attorney would be best for your mesothelioma case. You have decided that you are not going to base your decision solely on a 30 second TV commercial. And if you have found MesoLawyersCare, you have done your homework in finding the group of attorneys that together have accomplished more for families affected by mesothelioma than any other group of attorneys. We are four firms that have come together to provide the highest level of representation for mesothelioma victims from coast-to-coast. While you are on our website, you can take more time than the 30 seconds it takes to watch a TV commercial. Read about us. Read about our verdicts and settlements. Read about some of our attorneys. See why people choose MesoLawyersCare.

The choice of an attorney for a mesothelioma case is very important. It is one of the biggest facts that will affect how much your case is worth. Just like you would not choose a surgeon to operate on your mesothelioma, based on a TV commercial, you should do research to find the law firm that can best help you.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help you with your mesothelioma case. We also can connect you with experienced mesothelioma nurses who can help guide you through the medical decisions you are making. We are proud to have recovered more than 10 billion dollars for mesothelioma victims and families. We are also proud that we give back to fund mesothelioma research and patient services. Connect with us now to see if we can help you, by (1) using the phone number on this page, (2) starting a live chat, or (3) filling out the form on this website.

Yoga – A Successful Treatment

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NurseOne of the side effects that patients undergoing treatment for cancer often notice is fatigue. Doctors that study fatigue related to cancer treatment have found that the interventions that are prescribed fall into three categories. The first is treatment of a physiological problem like anemia, the second is drugs to stimulate the patient such as amphetamines. The third, and most successful is to suggest an exercise program such as yoga. Research is showing that yoga can help with pain and fatigue for patients undergoing cancer treatments. Used in conjunction with standard medical therapy, yoga is included as the third most popular complementary treatment used in the United States.

Yoga Cancer MesotheliomaYoga is an ancient practice of at least 5000 years, there are more than 100 different forms of yoga varying from fast paced to relaxing. The practice of yoga can help increase strength, endurance, and flexibility. Hatha is the form of yoga that most people think of when they think of yoga. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuji,” meaning yoke or union. Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body. One of the premises being that mental and physical health are not just closely tied together they are equivalent. For many yoga is a low risk, high yield approach to improving overall health. Yoga has been described as a total mind -body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses called asanas, with breathing exercises known as pranayama, and meditation or relaxing.

The past few years have shown an increase in the number of people who practice yoga. It is estimated that approximately 7.5% of U.S. adults have tried yoga at least once- nearly 4% in the previous year. A survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and The Yoga Journal, the results noted in an article in Forbes March 15,2016, stated yoga is being practiced by 37 million people in the United States up from 20 million, 3 years ago. Of that number 72% are women and 28% are men. The coasts of the United States are where yoga is most popular rather than in the middle of the country. One study identified some of the reasons people are trying yoga is 61% for flexibility, 56% stress relief, 49% general fitness, 49% overall health, 44% physical fitness, 86% experience a strong sense of mental clarity and 90% yoga is a form of meditation.

What are some of the effects of yoga on your health?

– Yoga can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful with both anxiety and depression.

– University of Utah study showed that people that have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain.

– Techniques such as yoga, can help a person regulate their stress and pain responses.

– Can decrease the levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone- helps lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression

– Studies have shown that practicing yoga can lead to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety

– May reduce inflammatory markers in the body and help prevent pro-inflammatory diseases

– Could improve heart health- alone or with other therapies

– Improves quality of life

– Fights depression by decreasing symptoms of depression by influencing the production of stress hormones

– Reduce chronic pain increasers the secretion of melatonin a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness

– Improves balance and mobility in older adults

– Yoga may stimulate the vagus nerve and reduce migraine intensity and frequency- alone or with conventional therapy

– Mindful eating- yoga encourages mindfulness which may be used to help promote mindful eating and healthy eating habits

Yoga has many health benefits, is affordable, and open to people of all ages. It may help in your journey with mesothelioma.

Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome, PTSD

Eleanor Ericson Mesothelioma NursePost-traumatic stress syndrome, PTSD, is something that a lot of people associate with seeing or being involved in a traumatic event such as service in the military, it can also extend to being diagnosed with cancer. PTSD can develop at any age, and not everyone diagnosed with PTSD has been through a traumatic event. A friend or family member may experience a trauma, or a sudden unexpected death can lead a loved one to experience PTSD.

The United States National Library of Medicine defines post-traumatic stress syndrome as, “an anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events.”

Often when a person is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma it is after eliminating other more common diseases. This time can be an emotional roller coaster. For many it is mentally going from their usual excellent health to maybe a common condition like pneumonia, or an infection, to a diagnosis of a rare deadly cancer. The symptoms might have started as annoying, through the work up and elimination of other diseases it becomes a process that indicates a life altering diagnosis.

A recent article in the journal Cancer in November 2017, found that approximately one in five cancer patients reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder within six months of diagnosis. After four years, about 6% of patients had PTSD.

In general PTSD affects approximately 3.5% or about 8 million, of the people in the United States. Not everyone that has experienced a traumatic event develops PTSD. Consisting of ongoing- chronic -or short term -acute- PTSD the symptoms can develop within one month of the traumatic event or years after. PTSD affects more women than men. Generally, the symptoms are divided into four different groups: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, changes in physical and emotional reactions. The diagnosis is made for adults they must have these symptoms for at least one month, at least one re-experiencing symptom. These symptoms can cause issues in everyday life. They can include flashbacks- reliving the traumatic event over and over and experiencing it physically. Avoidance symptoms which include staying away from places, events, or objects, that remind the person of the traumatic event and avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event. The 3rd symptom includes arousal and reactivity symptoms that include being easily startled, feeling tense, difficulty sleeping, angry outbursts. These symptoms are constant, leaving the person angry and stresses and with difficulty doing activities of daily living. The fourth category of symptoms are cognition and mood symptoms which include trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event, negative thoughts, distorted feelings of guilt or blame and loss of interest in enjoyable activities. When symptoms last more than a month, interfere with your ability to function and cannot be attributed to other mental health issues, substance abuse, medical issues it might be PTSD.

Treatment for PTSD includes medications, commonly an anti-depressant and psychotherapy – talking with a competent mental health professional who is knowledgeable in PTSD. Talk therapy with a competent professional can last 6- 12 weeks but for many people it can last a lot longer. With help the symptoms can improve gradually. Support of friends and relatives is also important, letting them into what triggers your symptoms also can help.

Post – traumatic stress disorder is a very serious condition, it can upset your relationships, livelihood, and your health. It is vital that the symptoms be recognized and to seek help. PTSD can be treated and managed but not cured. Reach out get help, improve your life and the lives of those who love you!

Comprehensive Mesothelioma Centers

Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseOne may ask what happens when you arrive at a comprehensive mesothelioma center. What is the difference between a local doctor and a doctor with years of experience? First of all, a comprehensive mesothelioma center offers customized treatment for each individual. This is not a cookie cutter package where everyone has the same treatment method. Every diagnosis is unique and treated individually. A person will have a battery of tests that will tell exactly where the mesothelioma is and what condition the body is in. There are a variety of options that may be presented to you. While treatments may appear similar to another person’s, I assure you no two treatment plans are the same.

Most often the hardest question asked is what do you want? As we sit in a generalized orientation meeting it is explained that this factor is just as important as any other medical decision. Some people despite how minimal or advanced their disease, want everything done. Other patients may take a different route and choose to take a more passive option. Emotionally this can be difficult. This question requires reflection and conversations with your loved ones. Most people who enter our center have decided they want some treatment but have no idea what their options are. There is no right or wrong answer, and everyone is entitled to make their own decision.

Everyone’s body is different, with its own strengths and weaknesses. This is another reason for all the tests that must be done. Each organ needs to be evaluated for the treatment plan. Some people feel that all of these tests are overkill. However, it is important to remember knowledge is power. Think of your body as a machine with its own assets. While nothing is one hundred percent guaranteed, the more information we have about your body the better we can devise a treatment plan. The other factor involves one’s mental state, what has this diagnosis done to you mentally? If your diagnosis has caused anxiety, restless nights, fear and worry, you are not alone. These emotions are real and can make you feel overwhelmed. Most comprehensive centers offer social workers, chaplaincy and psychiatrists. A serious illness like this can cause emotional issues and you are not alone. Researchers at Baylor University Medical Center have found that 77 percent of people with a terminal illness experience depression. Remember there is no right way to feel about your illness, but it is good to identify these emotions and share with people how you are feeling. Another feature of a comprehensive mesothelioma center is support groups. These centers often provide support groups related to your illness. There are other people who are going through what you are currently experiencing or have been through something similar.

At the end of the day one needs to know they made the best choices possible about their health. It really is about being comfortable about your decisions. Not everyone chooses to travel to a mesothelioma center and that is fine. Often people prefer to stay close to home because that is what works. As research and treatment options continue to progress hopefully the ingredients to a successful treatment plan will be shared and will be available to other areas of the medical community.

How Much is My Case Worth? Three Important Factors.

Mesothelioma Case ValueWhen patients and families contact MesoLawyersCare, one of the most common questions asked of us is: How much is my case worth?

The answer to these questions is that “it depends” on many factors. Based on the decades of experience of the the four firms that comprise MesoLawyersCare, three important factors that affect the value of your mesothelioma case are:

1. The Identification of Asbestos-Containing Products Made or Sold by Specific Companies in Your Case:

Many people have been led to believe that if someone has mesothelioma, then they automatically will be paid a large amount of money. This is not true. One of the most important factors that will influence how much a mesothelioma case is worth is whether there is solid evidence of exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured or sold by specific companies. The identification of a product manufacturer or seller is known as “Product I.D.” in asbestos litigation. This evidence usually takes the form of eyewitness testimony by the person who used the asbestos-containing products or other eyewitnesses (such as co-workers). For example, if a person who developed mesothelioma worked as an auto mechanic and was exposed to asbestos from performing brake repairs, this does not necessarily mean that any company that made asbestos-containing brakes will agree to pay or be required to by a jury. The case would require “Product I.D.” evidence that the person diagnosed with mesothelioma was exposed to dust from brakes manufactured or sold by a particular company or companies.

2. The Location Where Your Case Can be Filed:

Another important factor that will impact the value of a mesothelioma case is the places in which the particular case is able to be filed. There are certain locations or courts (known as “jurisdictions”) where the value of cases typically is higher. However, there are rules regarding what cases are allowed to be filed in which jurisdictions. A mesothelioma case can usually be fled in a jurisdiction where some of the asbestos exposure occurred. However, the case can also be filed in other jurisdictions, including the place where the defendants are headquartered or committed wrongful acts relating to the case. If the case can only be filed in “lower value” jurisdictions, then the case is more likely to have a lower value. On the other hand, if the case can be properly file in a “higher value” jurisdiction, then the chances of obtaining a higher case valued are increased. Factors influencing whether a jurisdiction is “higher value” versus “lower value” include: whether punitive damages are available, whether there is a history of high jury verdicts and the legal claims that are available to pursue in the particular jurisdiction.

3. The Lawyers You Choose For Your Case:

All mesothelioma lawyers are not equally qualified or experienced. The value of your mesothelioma case in the hands of one firm can have a much different value as compared to the value of the same case in the hands of another firm. The most important reasons for choosing MesoLawyersCare and for the success of our firms in representing families affected by mesothelioma are: Experience, Resources, Proven Track Record and Commitment. The Experience comes from a group of more than 70 attorneys who have been doing this work for more than 3 generations. We have seen essentially every different type of asbestos exposure in mesothelioma cases. The Resources comes from the combination of 4 successful law firms with offices, attorneys and investigators located throughout the United States. The Proven Track Record comes from decades of verdicts and settlements for our clients. For more information on this, see our verdicts and settlements page. Our Commitment is shown by our willingness to take on the most challenging mesothelioma cases, the close relationships we have with our clients, and our continuing contributions to mesothelioma research, which is part of the mission of MesoLawyersCare.

The three factors discussed above are important to consider in determining what your mesothelioma case may be worth. Keep in mind, that the most important first step is verifying that the diagnosis of mesothelioma exists in a particular case and that the case can be filed by the applicable statute of limitations. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us now (using the phone number, live chat or form on this website), so we can see if we can help you with your case.

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