Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Cope With a Terminal Mesothelioma Relative

Mesothelioma cancer is often a terminal illness with most victims dying within one year of diagnosis. This grim fact is a very difficult fact that victim and the people around them will have to face. The person with cancer may be in pain, may be incapacitated by the cancer or may be able to walk only a few steps, or may be confused. It is hard to watch someone you love gradually pass away in this manner.

No matter how hard it may be, it is still important to try to be there for the person. The person with cancer may feel lonely even if there are people around. This is because the people nearby may not be really in tune with what is going on with the person. You can be the person who is in sync with your loved one every step of the way. Just by staying close and listening with a smile or gentle touch, you show you are there for your friend or family member. It takes courage and extra energy to be in this situation.

Sometimes the person with advanced mesothelioma cancer may pull away from people and seem to be withdrawing as he enters the dying process. This is usually a natural process and is one way of disconnecting from life. The best thing you can do if this happens is to take the person's cue, and simply stay in the background and be available. Try not to take this withdrawal personally or feel hurt when the person pulls away. It likely has nothing to do with you.

Most people do not what to say when a person talks about dying. This is a very common occurrence. Some people want talk about different parts of the dying process, they want to know what to expect. Some want to know how they will die, and ask, "What will happen when I'm actually dying?" For answers to these questions, you will need to find experts in hospice care or care of the terminally ill. If you don't know the answers to specific questions, you can say, "I don't know, but we will call some people who can help us with those answers." These professionals can guide you and the person with cancer by explaining the things that might happen as death gets closer.

Hospice staff members are used to answering these questions, and they are skilled in answering doing it in a supportive, caring way. In many communities, hospice organizations give expert, compassionate care for people with advanced disease.

The mesothelioma victim might ask you why the cancer is afflicting him or her. This is a very tough question to answer because there is really no answer, and it is heart wrenching to feel the pain that lies within such a question. It is always better to give the simple answer "I don't know" and hold the hand of the victim and let the person cry or talk about their sadness and regrets. Allowing a person to do this is a true help because so many people avoid the topic of dying and won't allow themselves to feel this pain with their loved one.

Sometimes dying mesothelioma victims may feel the need to get some things off their chests. They may want open up to you about some of the things they did in their life that they are not proud of and they are now regretting. They may want to apologize about these things. They may want to give you instructions about what to do for them in the future.

Respectfully listening and, of course, providing forgiveness and a loving attitude are all that's needed. There are no magic words for the dying person, but often your presence is like magic and having an open heart is priceless.

Bello kamorudeen.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Choose the Best Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

You can find out about good mesothelioma clinical trials in different ways. You can enter for clinical trials do so after hearing about them from your doctor. You can also actively look for clinical trials on the Internet or in other places, hoping to find more options for treatment. Some clinical trials are advertised directly to patients.

Information about mesothelioma cancer resources can be obtained from several resources. These resources can be divided into 2 main types: clinical trials lists and clinical trials matching services.

1-Clinical trial lists

These sources give you the names and descriptions of clinical trials of new treatments. If there is a study you are interested in, you will probably be able to find it in a list. The list will often include a description of the study, the criteria for patient eligibility, and a contact person. If you (or your health care providers) are willing and able to read through descriptions of all the studies listed for your cancer type, then a list may be all you need. Some organizations that provide lists can help you narrow the list a little, according to the kind of treatment you are looking for (chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.) and the stage of your cancer.

2-Clinical trials matching services

Over the past few years, several organizations have developed computer-based systems to match patients with studies they may be eligible for. This service is often offered online.

Each may differ somewhat in how it works. Some of the services allow you to search for clinical trials without registering at the site. If you have to register, they usually assure you that your information will be kept confidential. Either way, you will probably have to enter certain details, such as the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, and any previous treatments you may have had. When given this information, these systems can find clinical trials for which you may be eligible, and save you the time and effort of reading descriptions of studies that are not relevant to you. Some groups also allow you to subscribe to mailing lists so that you are informed as new studies open up.

Although they are usually free to users, most clinical trial matching services get paid for listing studies or get a finder's fee from those running the studies when someone enrolls. Because of this, there may be some differences in the way they rank the studies, or the order in which they present the studies to you.

Because different services work differently, be sure you understand how the service you are looking at operates. Ask the following questions. (Note that the answers do not necessarily mean that the service is not worth using.)
• Is there a fee for using the service?
• Do I have to register to use the service?
• Does the service keep my information confidential?
• Where does the service get its list of clinical trials?
• Does the service rank the studies in any particular order? Is this based on fees they get?
• Can I contact the service through the Internet or by telephone?

Examples of clinical trials matching services are:

1-The American Cancer Society Clinical Trials Matching Service:
The American Cancer Society helps patients find high quality care in clinical trials that best match their medical needs and personal preferences, while helping researchers study more effective treatments for future patients

The TrialCheck® database, developed and maintained by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, is a comprehensive database that includes the Coalition, National Cancer Institute, and industry trials. To our knowledge, this is the most complete matching database of cancer clinical trials available.

The clinical trials information provided by the American Cancer Society is not biased in any way. It is updated every day, as is the contact information that allows patients to get in touch with the doctors and nurses at cancer centers running each of the studies.
You can access the TrialCheck at (click on "Find a Clinical Trial") or through a toll-free number, 1-800-303-5691.

2- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsors most government-funded cancer clinical trials. The NCI has a list of active studies (those currently enrolling patients), as well as some privately funded studies. You can find the list on their Web site at or by calling 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). You can search the list by the type and stage of cancer, by the type of study (for example, treatment or prevention), or by zip code.

3-The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an even larger database of clinical trials at, but not all of these are cancer studies.

4-EmergingMed provides a free and confidential matching and referral service for cancer patients looking for clinical trials at, or you can call 1-877-601-8601.

5-CenterWatch ( is a publishing and information services company that keeps a list of both industry-sponsored and government-funded clinical trials for cancer and other diseases.

6-Private companies, such as pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms, may list the studies they are sponsoring on their Web sites or offer toll-free numbers so you can call and ask about them. Some of these firms also offer matching systems for the studies they sponsor. This can be helpful if you are interested in research on a particular experimental treatment and know which company is developing it.

Bello kamorudeen.

Friday, February 26, 2010

5 Important Facts About Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are vital in studying all aspects of medicine, not just cancer. They are particularly even more important in the research for newer and more effective treatments for terminal diseases like mesothelioma cancer, but all new treatments (drugs and medical devices) actually pass through clinical trials before being approved by the relevant drug regulatory bodies. These are important facts about clinical trials:

1- All clinical trials are voluntary

Although participation in a clinical trial in the treatment of terminal diseases like mesothelioma is highly advisable it is not mandatory that you take part in them. You always have the right to choose whether or not you will take part in a clinical trial. The level of care you get should not be affected by your decision. And you have the right to leave a clinical trial at any time, for any reason. If you decide to leave, your health care team may ask that you agree to continue to be watched for a certain length of time to look for any long-term effects of treatment.

2- Not all clinical trials study treatments

Not all clinical trials are about the study of new treatments, many clinical trials study new ways to detect, diagnose, or learn the extent of disease. Some even look at ways to prevent the disease from happening in the first place.

3- Even among clinical trials that do study treatments, not all of them study drugs

Many clinical trials test other forms of treatment, such as new surgery or radiation therapy techniques, or even complementary or alternative medicines or techniques.

4- Not all clinical trails study new treatment methods

Some clinical trials are about the study of already approved drugs. Even after a drug has been approved for use against a type of cancer, doctors sometimes find it works better when given a certain way or when combined with other treatments. It may even work on a different cancer. Clinical trials are needed to study these possibilities as well.

5- Mesothelioma cancer clinical trials do not usually involve the use of a placebo

A placebo is an inactive ingredient or pill used in some types of clinical trials to help make sure results are unbiased. A placebo is sometimes called a "sugar pill." Over the years, doctors have observed that some people begin to feel better even if they just think they're being treated. Although this effect tends to be brief, and does not really affect a cancer, it can make a new treatment seem to help. The possibility of getting a placebo keeps people from knowing if they are getting the treatment being studied or not, which makes the results more likely to be valid.

Placebos are rarely used alone in cancer research unless no known effective treatments exist. It's certainly not ethical to have someone take a placebo if an effective standard treatment is already available especially in the case of a grave disease like mesothelioma cancer. When cancer clinical trials compare treatments, they compare the new treatment against the current standard treatment. At times, a study may be designed so that patients may not be told which one they are getting, but they know they are at least getting treatment that meets the current standard of care.

In some clinical trials, the doctors want to learn if adding a new drug to the standard therapy makes it work better. In these studies, some patients get the standard drug(s) and a new one, while other patients get the standard drug(s) and a placebo. But none of the patients would get only a placebo. Everyone gets standard treatment if there is a standard treatment available.

Bello kamorudeen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

7 Important Tips to Help You Find the Best Mesothelioma Doctor

Making a choice on your preferred doctor can be a long process and you should resist the temptation of rushing the process so as to get your treatment started as soon as possible.

Carefully choosing the doctor you need now (such as a good surgeon, radiologist, and/or oncologist) will pay off for years to come. Your relationship with this person will probably last through treatment into long-term follow-up care. These are some important steps you need to take to be able to make the best choice:

1-Make up your mind about the desired qualities you want in your doctor.

Before you start looking for a doctor, think about the qualities you want your doctor to have. A few ideas are listed below, but you may want to add others.

• Choose a doctor who has experience with mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer and doctors have better success treating this cancer only if they have a lot of experience with it.

• You will probably need a doctor who is part of your health plan (often called a preferred provider) and/or accepts your health insurance. Otherwise, you may have to pay for your health care yourself.

• Pick a doctor who has privileges (is able to practice) at a hospital that you are willing to use. Doctors can only send patients to hospitals where they have admitting privileges.

• Choose a doctor you feel comfortable with. Languages spoken, gender, ethnicity, and educational background may be important factors for you to consider. You may also have your own preferences for certain personalities and bedside manners. Some people prefer their doctors to have a business-like manner, while others value a doctor who can help with their emotional health as well as their medical needs.

2-Make a list of doctors who might be a good fit

You can also start your search for a good mesothelioma doctor by asking your primary care doctor, usually your family physician to refer you to good specialists in this field. If you know people that are receiving treatment for this type of cancer, you can also ask them for other options of doctors
. Some hospitals and communities also have physician referral services available by phone or online. These allow you to learn more details about the doctors in your area, such as their areas of expertise, medical certifications, office locations, languages spoken, and so on. You can find these referral services through many hospitals by calling their main number or visiting the hospital Web site. Or you can ask your primary care doctor about them.

If you are in a health plan, you can begin by checking their list of doctors. This is usually available online or by calling the member services hotline. You will still want to find out more about each doctor before you decide.

3-Make the first visit to your doctor, call the doctors' offices and make appointments.

Once you've found doctors that seem like a good fit for you, call their offices and ask whether they are covered by your health plan and are taking new patients. You may also want to find out which hospitals they work in and have admitting privileges for.

During this first appointment, ask them how long have they been managing mesothelioma? If they are surgeons ask them how many times have they carried out mesothelioma related surgeries, and what has been their success rates in these surgeries.

After the visit ask yourself how comfortable you feel with the doctor. One way to measure this is to ask yourself these questions after your appointment.
• Did the doctor give you a chance to ask questions?
• Did you feel like the doctor was listening to you?
• Did the doctor seem comfortable answering your questions?
• Did the doctor talk to you in a way that you could understand?
• Did you feel the doctor respected you?
• Did the doctor ask your preferences about different kinds of treatments?
• Did you feel like the doctor spent enough time with you?
Trust yourself when deciding whether this doctor is right for you. Keep in mind, though, that relationships take time to develop and you may need more than a single visit before you and your doctor really get to know each other.

4-Find out if the doctor is board certified.

Doctors who are board certified have had extra training in special treatment areas, such as medical oncology (cancer care), hematology (diseases of the blood), or gynecologic surgery (female reproductive system). They have taken and passed certification tests given by doctors in their field. To keep their certification, doctors must continue their education and keep up with advances and changes in their specialty area.
Not all doctors who are specialists are board certified. Doctors do not need to be board certified to be excellent caregivers. Still, more than 85% of doctors become board certified in at least 1 specialty.

To find out if a doctor is board certified, contact the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) at The ABMS has a list of board certified doctors who subscribe to the ABMS service. You can search for all doctors in a certain specialty by state. Or you can type in the name of the doctor you have questions about to learn about their specialty. Information on doctors who have extra training and certification may also be available at your public library. Ask for the Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, or get your librarian to help you.

5-Find out the experience of your prospective doctor

Find out how long the doctor has been in practice. Ask how many people with cancer she has treated. If you are thinking about surgery or special procedure, you may want to ask about the number of these procedures she has performed. How many patients is the doctor currently treating? How many are cancer patients? How much experience does she/he have with mesothelioma cancer?

Along with finding out about the doctor's experience, you may also want to find out who the leading authorities in the field are. A visit to a medical library may be useful. You can do research on the Internet, too. You can start with us, or go to other respected Web sites like,, or Look for the names of doctors who have written about the cancer you have and whose work is most often quoted. If your doctor has done research and had it published, you may ask to see copies of those articles at the library. By doing so, you will learn more about her approach to cancer treatment.

6-Find out which hospitals is the doctor affiliated

Where you will get inpatient cancer care is determined by where your doctor practices. Find out where you would go for surgery or other care. Check with your health insurance company, to see which doctors and hospitals your insurance plan covers.

7-Find out if the doctor is affiliated with any medical school

If the doctor is affiliated to a respected medical school it may suggest that a doctor is a leader in her field. Doctors who teach and who also practice medicine often are more abreast with the latest information concerning that type of cancer and they are usually in contact with medical experts from around the country.

Bello kamorudeen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Mesothelioma Survivor's Story-Bonnie Anderson

Bonnie graduated from college with a dual degree in Elementary Education and Library Science in the year 1974 but could not find a teaching job because the Vietnam War had caused low enrollment in primary schools. At the same time, a local oil refinery posted advertised job opportunities for mechanics and Bonnie applied for the job.

She was eventually hired and became one of the first female industrial electricians in New Jersey.
She worked for around twelve years in the industry before she eventually got as a middle school librarian, which was in line with her initial love of working in a teaching environment.

Early in 2001, Bonnie began to experience severe stomach pain, diarrhea and other general symptoms. These were treated as irritable bowel syndrome. Treatment, which included anti-spasmodics and pain medication, proved ineffective. She underwent numerous tests: blood work, gynecological work-ups, a scope of her bladder, both upper and lower GI colonoscopy and endoscopy.

After performing the latter, her gastroenterologist suggested exploratory surgery, but the surgeon thought it unnecessary. A barium enema followed by an X-ray also revealed nothing.
Her primary physician referred her to another gastroenterologist, who ordered a CAT scan. The doctor noted some abnormal streaking on the scan, but other than suggesting a possible relationship to a complete hysterectomy Bonnie underwent in 1988, he couldn't determine its cause.

Finally, in December of 2001 Bonnie developed ascites which is excess fluid build up in the abdomen. Another CAT scan was ordered, and her gastroenterologist attempted to remove the fluid. Bonnie found the procedure too painful and the specialist had to end it before he was able to withdraw all of the fluid. Tests taken from the fluid did not reveal any cancer cells. But Bonnie was still in pain, and described the pressure as "horrible" and "unreal."

In February of 2002, her gastroenterologist sent her to a surgeon for a laparoscopy. The surgeon removed 6 liters of fluid and was able to see what he described as indoor-outdoor carpet spread all over the lining of the abdomen. Before Bonnie left the OR, he asked the hospital's pathology department to confirm that he was indeed viewing what he suspected to be mesothelioma. Pathology confirmed his assessment. Though he had been in practice for many years, the surgeon confessed had never seen mesothelioma before,except in a textbook.

When Bonnie woke up, she and her husband John received the news. Since they had never heard of mesothelioma, only the word "cancer" registered.
Though the process of arriving at the correct diagnosis had been so long and difficult, Bonnie's story then took a serendipitous turn, one that quite possibly saved her many months of searching before arriving at an effective treatment.

Her surgeon's partner had done his residency under Dr. John Chabot and he immediately gave Bonnie a direct recommendation to a team currently at the forefront of research and treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma, the team of pathologist and MARF Science Advisory Board Member Dr. Robert Taub and his treatment partner, surgeon John Chabot, both of Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. Dr. Taub visited Bonnie immediately, while she was still in the hospital seeing Dr. Chabot.

Later Bonnie saw Dr. Taub at Columbia Pres, and from slides acquired during the laparoscopy, Dr. Taub identified her mesothelioma cells as both epithelial and sarcomatoid. He informed her that generally, epithelial cells are less aggressive and grow on the outside of the peritoneal lining and organs. Sarcomatoid cells, he said, are woven throughout the lining like thread through a fabric. They are more aggressive, and usually considered to be inoperable. But because Bonnie had a mixture of the two types of cells, the team decided to try surgery.

At this point, in order to comply with her insurance plan's coverage, Bonnie sought treatment within her home state of New Jersey and saw two oncologists there. The physician considered to be the top oncologist in NJ informed Bonnie that his treatment plan would consist of one operation followed by chemotherapy with doxyrubicin.

With her investigative spirit Bonnie quickly discovered that patients treated in this program showed an 18 percent chance of surviving for five years. She also learned that doxyrubicin was an older medicine, introduced and tested fifteen years previously. Surely, she thought, there existed better, more current treatment than this.

She returned to Dr. Taub's protocol and the multimodal approach, which was reporting an approximately 35% four-year survival rate for those who successfully underwent treatment.

From Bonnie's insurance provider, Dr. Chabot got pre-certification to perform surgery on April 2, 2002. Prior to surgery she was feeling very apprehensive, and got the names of two other patients who had successfully undergone the same aggressive protocol with Drs. Taub and Chabot. During the initial surgery Dr. Chabot found no mesothelioma on her organs and no large masses, though little tumors were spread all over the lining of her abdomen like shotgun pellets. He also found that the cancer was not as advanced as the team had previously thought, so Bonnie's surgery took only one and one-half hours.

Dr. Chabot scraped out as much as he could of what he could of the visible tumor, removed Bonnie's omentum and installed the ports used to administer chemotherapy. While healing and waiting for the staples to be removed, Bonnie joked and kept her inquisitive attitude. "I have no idea what to expect minute to minute," she said. "I feel like I'm in Star Trek, going where I have never gone before."

Meanwhile, Dr. Taub had obtained the HMO's permission to begin chemotherapy. Bonnie began the first of eight sessions of a three week cycle: the first week receiving treatment for two days; the second week, treatment for three days; and the third week off. The three-week sessions consisted of Doxorubicin one week alternating with Cisplatin plus Gemcitabine the next. "You're just about feeling fairly decent when you had to start over again," Bonnie remembers.

When the sessions ended six months later, she began four weeks of gamma interferon, once per week.
At this point, right in the middle of receiving the treatment she and her doctors believed could save her life, Bonnie faced another enormous obstacle. Her insurance provider once more informed her they would not provide coverage outside of New Jersey. Bonnie's treatment with Dr. Taub had to be stopped. Again she considered the statistics she had been given: 18% survival rate versus 35% with Dr. Taub's second clinical trial. Of course, there was only one choice.

Bonnie, her husband, and her daughter Darcy mounted a "major campaign" to get the coverage she needed to complete Dr. Taub's protocol. They contacted their senators, congress-people, the governor's office, the Department of Banking and Insurance and every federal and state agency or advocacy group they could turn up. At last they found someone at the Department of Health and Senior services who would help arm them with the resources to convince the insurance company to cover Bonnie's case.

After directing letters, documentation, and phone calls from both Dr. Taub and her own primary physician to the insurance company, Bonnie arrived at a pivotal moment. She spoke in a conference call directly with a director and the appeals board of the insurance company. She told them if they didn't allow her to continue treatment at Columbia Pres, she was going to die. The appeals board said they would "take her case into consideration." Bonnie was shocked when she received their written determination: denied.

For three or four weeks she was in a panic, but still did not give up. Finally, Dr. Taub got in contact with the state-level director and was able to convince the company that all of the components of his clinical trial had already been tested; the only experimental element was that he had put the pieces together. At last the company acquiesced, agreeing to cover treatment partially at first, then completely with just a co-pay. Ecstatic, Bonnie was completely back in the protocol. She finished the cycles of chemotherapy, completing them in August, 2002.

Bonnie underwent the second surgery of the protocol in October of 2002. Dr. Chabot's observation indicated that everything looked well. He removed the ports and obtained four random biopsies. Of these, two showed no cancer cells, while two did. The surgeon was hopeful that the hot chemo belly wash would have flushed these two out. It wasn't until January that Bonnie was sufficiently recovered from the surgery to begin radiation. After five and a half weeks of radiation, Bonnie broke out in a rash that no one could identify and halted the treatment temporarily. She finished radiation in the beginning of March, 2003, and Drs. Taub and Chabot consider her to be in the 43% of those who will survive after completing the 2nd stage clinical trial.

Six months since she finished the protocol, Bonnie says she feels 100% better than she did a year ago. In April of 2003 she returned to her position as a middle school librarian and will be working again regularly this fall. "It feels so good to be back to work because I love what I do," Bonnie says. "I like to multi-task, I love to teach, and of course, I like research." Later this fall she is looking forward to returning to the other thing she loves to do: ride her quarter horse, T.J. She still gets fatigued easily, and she can't take the heat or the sun. But she says her energy is returning and her weight, which was down to 105 pounds during chemotherapy, has stabilized at 145.

Every three months she returns to Columbia Pres for a CAT scan, PET scan and blood work. In July 2003, her treatment team detected two activity spots in her abdomen, but other than that, no change or growth was visible.
Recently, in September of 2003, Bonnie attended the Race to Remember, a four-mile timed run or walk held in Mercer County Park, West Windsor, NJ. The event commemorates mesothelioma victim John Zipper and all others who have struggled or are struggling against mesothelioma, and raises funds for mesothelioma research.

Bonnie worked in the registration tent and made many wonderful memories of the event and of the people she met, including John Zipper's widow Karen and son Dan, the Race's creators.

"It was so terrific!" Bonnie says. "I got to shoot off the starting horn and I met the nicest people. It was a beautiful day." Right now, Bonnie affirms that "Life is wonderful!" She encourages other mesothelioma patients to believe that every minute is worth fighting for, and when facing treatment, to adopt a "Just do it! attitude."

"That's the way I've always lived my life," Bonnie says, and from the evidence, that is likely the way she will keep living for years to come.

Bello kamorudeen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Are the Different Stages of a Mesothelioma Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are typically conducted in different phases. Each phase is designed to answer certain questions. Knowing the phase of the clinical trial is important because it can give you some idea about how much is known about the treatment being studied. There are advantages and disadvantages of taking part in each of the different phases of a clinical trial.

Clinical trials for mesothelioma cancer passes through this different stages:

1-Phase 0 clinical trials: Does the new drug work? How does it work?

Phase 0 studies are exploratory studies that involves the use of few small doses of a new drug in each patient. They test to find out whether the drug reaches the tumor, how the drug acts in the human body, and how cancer cells respond to the drug. The patients in these studies must have extra biopsies, scans, and blood samples. The biggest difference between phase 0 and the later phases of clinical trials is that there is no chance of a direct benefit to the patient from taking part in a phase 0 trial. Because drug doses are low, the chances of risks is less compared to the other phases of the clinical trial.

Phase 0 studies help researchers find out early which drugs do not do what they are expected to do. If there are problems with the way the drug is absorbed or acts in the body, this should become clear very quickly in a phase 0 trial. This process may help avoid the delay and expense of finding out years later in phase II or even phase III clinical trials that the drug doesn't act as it was expected to based on lab studies.

The studies are very small, mostly with fewer than 20 people. Although this phase 0 is not a compulsory part of testing a new drug, it is used as part of an effort to speed up and streamline the process of testing new drugs.

2-Phase I clinical trials: How safe is the new treatment?

Although the treatment has been tested in lab and animal studies, the side effects in people can't always be predicted. For this reason, these studies usually include a small number of people (15 to 50). These studies are usually done in major cancer centers.

The main reasons for doing phase I studies are to find out the highest dose of the new treatment that can be given safely (without serious side effects) and to decide on the best way to give the new treatment. The first few people in the study often get a low dose of the treatment and are watched very closely. If there are only minor side effects, the next few patients may get a higher dose. This process continues until doctors find the dose that is most likely to work while having an acceptable level of side effects.

Safety is the main concern at this point because this is usually the first time the treatment has been used in people. Doctors keep a close eye on how the people in the study are doing. They watch for any common but serious side effects. Special tests, such as blood tests to measure levels of the drug in the body at certain time points, are often a part of these clinical trials. Some studies may require time in a hospital.

These studies are not designed to find out if the new treatment works against cancer. Overall, these trials are the ones with the most potential risk. And only phase 0 has a smaller chance of helping you than phase I. But phase I studies do help some patients. For those with life-threatening illnesses like mesothelioma, weighing the potential risks and benefits carefully is needed.

3-Phase II clinical trials: How effective is the new treatment?

If a new treatment is found to be reasonably safe in phase I clinical trials, the treatment can then be tested in a phase II clinical trial to see if it works the way researchers think it will.

Usually, a group of 25 to 100 patients with mesothelioma cancer gets the new treatment in a phase II study. They are treated using the dose and method found to be most safe and effective in phase I studies. In a typical phase II clinical trial, all the volunteers usually get the same dose, and no placebo is used.

But some phase II studies do randomly assign participants to 1 of 2 treatment groups, much like what is done in phase III trials (see below). These groups may get different doses or get the treatment in different ways to see which provides the best balance of safety and effectiveness. Phase II studies are often done at major cancer centers, but may also be done in community hospitals or even doctors' offices.

Doctors look for some evidence that the treatment works. The type of benefit or response they look for depends on the goals of the clinical trial. This may mean the tumor shrinks or disappears. Or it might mean there is an extended period of time where the tumor does not get any bigger, or there is a longer time before a cancer comes back. In some studies the benefit may be an improved quality of life. Many studies look to see if people getting the new treatment live longer than they would have been expected to without the treatment.

If a certain percentage of the patients benefit from the treatment, and the side effects aren't too bad, the treatment is allowed to go on to a phase III clinical trial. Along with watching for responses, the research team keeps looking for any side effects. Larger numbers of patients get the treatment in phase II studies, so there is a better chance that less common side effects may be seen.

4-Phase III clinical trials: Is it better than what's already available?

Treatments that have been shown to work in phase II studies usually must go through one more stage of testing before they are approved for general use. Phase III clinical trials compare the safety and effectiveness of the new treatment against the current standard treatment.

Phase III clinical trials usually have a large number of patients, at least several hundred. These studies are often done in many places across the country (or even around the world) at the same time. They are more likely to be offered by community-based oncologists.

Because doctors do not yet know which treatment is better, patients are often chosen at random, (called randomized) to get either the standard treatment or the new treatment. When possible, neither the doctor nor the patient knows which of the treatments the patient is getting. This type of study is called a double-blind study.

As with other studies, patients in phase III clinical trials are watched closely for side effects, and treatment is stopped if they are too bad.
Randomization is used in many phase III studies because it helps reduce the risk that one group will be different from the other when they go into the study, which could affect outcome. Blinding reduces the risk that the doctors will be biased in their evaluations of the patients' outcomes. These controls help make the study results more credible.

5-Phase IV clinical trials: What else is there to know about the drug?

Although a drug might have been approved for general usage, the full effects of the treatment may not be known, and their might still be some questions about the drug that are yet to be answered. For example, a drug may approved by the relevant drug regulatory authority based on the fact that it was shown to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence but does this mean that those who get it are more likely to live longer? Are there rare side effects that haven't been seen yet, or side effects that only show up after the drug is used for a long time? These types of questions may take many years to answer fully, and may not be critical for getting a medicine to market. They are often addressed in what are known as phase IV clinical trials.

Phase IV studies look at drugs that have already been approved by the relevant drug regulatory bodies. They are already available for doctors to give to patients, but these studies are still needed to answer important questions.

When thinking about taking part in a phase IV trial, you should know that the drug has already been approved for use. The care you would get in these types of studies often is very much like what you could expect if you were to get the treatment outside of a clinical trial. You should be reassured that in taking part you would be getting a form of treatment that has already passed through different phases of testing and that you would be doing a service to future patients.

Bello kamorudeen

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?

The main way by which asbestos fibers get into the body is through the respiratory system. Fibers released into the air are inhaled by the exposed individuals and are transported into the deep parts of the lungs.

Asbestos fibers that have been lumped into heavier particles of plaster, concrete or paint are often expelled through coughing and rarely get to the deep parts of the lungs. Post- mortem examinations of lungs of dead victims of mesothelioma have revealed that asbestos fibers tend to accumulate near the bottom lobes of the lungs, in the gutter of the thoracic cavity and on the surface of the diaphragm.

These asbestos fibers migrate from the lung spaces called the alveoli into the intra- pleural space, within the mesothelial layer of the space. This was described by many physicians as a “clearing” of the lungs. It has also been hypothesized that asbestos fibers can be swallowed or may enter directly by piercing the skin. It is not known why some patients develop peritoneal mesothelioma rather than the more common pleural based disease.

The clearing of the lungs is directly connected to the two primary theories about how injury is caused by asbestos.

The first theory postulates that the asbestos fibers pierce the tissue walls of the pleural space (and sometimes the peritoneal space via the stomach or the diaphragm) and cause tissue damage which creates an inflammatory immune response.

The second theory states that the asbestos fibers are so small that they begin to interact with mesothelial cells at a molecular level, interrupting cell replication and/or damaging the cellular DNA during mitosis, or cell division.

The migration of the asbestos fibers out of the alveoli is possible because of the small size of the asbestos fibers. This allows them to pierce the cell walls and migrate between cell boundaries into the mesothelial lining of the pleural cavity or even into the intrapleural space. There, they sometimes penetrate the diaphragm and make their way into the abdomen or the testes leading to abdominal and testicular mesothelioma.

Whenever these fibers migrate, they leave a trail of damaged or compromised cells behind. They usually elicit an inflammatory response which leads to the formation of malignant tumor cells of mesothelioma. The response to this damage varies by individual and invariably involves the immune system. Evidence for the response is found in the irritation and destruction of cells and the creation of scar tissue at the site of the injury.

This process can be quite significant in the case of heavy asbestos exposure and can lead to major impairment of the lungs as a crust or plaque of fibrous scar tissue forms over the affected areas. Microscopic examination of this material has often found asbestos fibers entombed in the nodules and layers of tissue and has been used as undeniable evidence for the asbestos connection as a cause for the injury in asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma.

About the Author: Bello kamorudeen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mesothelioma Treatment Centers- How to Find the Best One For You

Most mesothelioma doctors work at hospitals that are good at cancer care. Mesothelioma cancer is best treated at large cancer centers which have the needed experience in mesothelioma treatment. If you live in a small town, you may need to travel to a larger city to find a center with enough mesothelioma cancer experience. This experience advantage may be the key to getting the best possible treatment and be well worth any extra travel or inconvenience to you in the short-term.

These are some steps you should take to look for the best treatment center:

1-Ask other doctors and nurses for their opinions on hospitals in your area. Your primary doctor who was the first doctor to suspect that you have this type of cancer is the first person you should ask to suggest the names of 2 -3 good mesothelioma doctors and the hospitals where they are currently practicing to you.

2-You can also seek for information from an organization called The Joint Commission. This organization accredits hospitals that meet their very stringent although not all the hospitals they accredit are expert in cancer treatment.

You can go to their website at and do a quality check on the performance of the cancer center that you are considering. You can search for the cancer treatment center by name, zip code, or state. You can also access them by phoning 630-792-5800.

3- Another organization that will be of immense help to you is the Commission on Cancer (CoC) program of the American College of Surgeons. This program through their cancer treatment facilities approval program approves hospitals or facilities that have committed to provide the best in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Its list of approved facilities includes more than 1,400 cancer centers throughout the United States.

A good way to judge the quality of cancer care at a treatment facility is to find out if it has been approved by the CoC. If it has, you know it meets certain standards and offers a range of cancer care services. No matter its size or location, its ability to deliver quality cancer care is constantly being surveyed by the CoC.

CoC-approved cancer programs are found in many different kinds of hospitals or facilities. They may be in major treatment centers, community hospitals, or other diagnostic and treatment centers. Approved programs must provide state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services. They have many different specialists available to treat patients, and they can give you information on clinical trials and new treatment options. CoC-approved cancer programs also must offer life-long follow-up care to people with cancer. This gives patients ongoing long-term care so that any problems, such as late side effects, recurrences, or new cancers, are found and treated as soon as possible.

4- Finally you can also make use of the programs of the National Cancer Institute. This institute (NCI) is part of the U.S. National Institutes for Health. The NCI is dedicated to better understanding, diagnosing, treating, and preventing cancer for all people. Its goal is to support and enhance the quality of clinical cancer research. The NCI works with more than 60 cancer treatment centers in the United States. It recognizes 3 levels of cancer treatment centers, ranging from a comprehensive cancer center to the more basic cancer treatment center. These facilities are often housed at universities and research is a large focus.

You can get a list of the NCI-designated Cancer Centers and read more about the NCI by visiting the NCI Web site at You can also learn more about your cancer and treatment options at the NCI Cancer Information Service, available at

Bello kamorudeen.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Immunotherapy -A New Way of Fighting Mesotheloma

Conventional cancer treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy are more widely used to treat mesothelioma, but alternative treatments such as immunotherapy are becoming more and popular too. Other therapies such as immunotherapy provide the patient with additional options for the control of symptoms. While immunology does not yet offer a cure for mesothelioma, researchers continue to experiment with the treatment in hopes of achieving better results.

Immunotherapy involves the use and manipulation of a patient's own immune system to help them fight diseases to which the immune system would not normally respond.

In the case of mesothelioma and other types of asbestos cancer, the patient's immune response does not typically react or destroy cancer cells for one very important reason: a normal healthy immune system does not recognize cancer cells as foreign cells so it does not destroy them.

Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that tricks the immune system into believing that cancer cells are foreign. When this type of treatment is administered to cancer patients, the immune system can be made to destroy cancer cells, while leaving normal healthy cells unharmed.

Treating mesothelioma patients with immunotherapy relies on helping the body's immune system to recognize the difference between healthy cells and cells that have become cancerous.

To understand how immunotherapy works, it is first important to understand how the immune system differentiates between normal body cells and foreign cells. The immune system does this by recognizing and reacting to antigens. Antigens are molecules that are present on the surface of all cells, whether human, bacterial, or viral. A normal immune system can react to and destroy cells that produce antigens that are foreign, but cannot react to cells that produce "self" antigen (an antigen produced by the body).

Immunotherapy, therefore, is geared towards making the immune system recognize antigens on cancer cells as being foreign, allowing the immune system to destroy those cells. There two ways by which immunotherapy can be used:1]Active immunity and 2]Passive immunity

Active Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma

Active immunotherapy treatments stimulate the immune system to fight disease. Vaccines, for example, are a type of active immunotherapy. Cancer vaccines are slightly different in that they are designed to fight diseases that already exist in the body, whereas most other vaccines are administered to prevent disease.

Mesothelioma vaccines may be created by removing cancer cells from a mesothelioma patient. This is usually done in a laboratory by using either whole cancer cells or antigens removed from cells. The cells or antigens are modified in a laboratory so they can be recognized by the patient's immune system and are then injected back into the patient.

Active immunotherapy treatments for mesothelioma are highly specific treatments made with cells from the patient's own body. Thus, a different vaccine is created for each patient who receives active immunotherapy treatment.

Passive Immunotherapy Treatment for Mesothelioma

Passive immunotherapy treatments are those which use components that are created outside the body. These types of treatments differ from active immunotherapy in that passive treatments do not attempt to force the immune system to actively destroy cancer cells.

One example of a passive immunotherapy treatment is monoclonal antibody therapy, which is currently the most widely used immunotherapy for treating cancer. Antibodies are molecules the immune system produces to help fight infections. In an immune system that is functioning normally, antibodies are produced that recognize and bind to foreign antigens present on foreign cells, which effectively targets foreign cells for destruction by other parts of the immune system.

Monoclonal antibody therapy involves removing cancer cells from a patient, which are then grown together in a laboratory with other cells that produce antibodies in response to antigens on the cancer cells. During this process, identical antibodies are produced that recognize the same antigen (hence the termed monoclonal).

The next stage of the treatment involves injecting the patient with the monoclonal antibodies. Once inside the body, the antibodies recognize and bind to tumor cells, as the tumor cells possess the specific kind of antigen that the antibodies were created to identify. If the cancer treatment is successful, the immune system will recognize the monoclonal antibodies and destroy the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy is however still largely in experimental stages of different clinical trials all over the world and most of them are yet to be approved for general use, so if any mesothelioma patient wants to benefit from immunotherapy they must participate in relevant clinical trials.

Bello kamorudeen.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Important Nutritional Tips For Mesothelioma Patients.

Though mesothelioma is not a cancer that is related to poor nutrition, improving nutritional intake can help mesothelioma cancer patients fight the progressive disease.

Consumption of a healthy diet is crucial to the healing process. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins all play major roles in a healthy human body. These groups of foods are known to prevent the accumulation of certain chemicals called free radicals in the body which are believed to be responsible for the development of diseases like cancer in the body.

The right balance of nutrients help the body to effectively fight cancer. In addition, malnutrition causes the body to be susceptible to infection. Many cancer patients do not pass away from the cancer itself, but rather a medical condition stemming from the body’s weakened condition.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, it is important to discuss a nutritional plan with your doctor. This can be as important as radiation, chemotherapy or other forms of cancer treatment. Your chances of a good outcome are greatly improved with the right nutritional plan.

In addition to improving chances of survival, proper dietary care can help relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms of cancer. This helps to improve the quality of life even if the cancer is in very advanced stage and death is imminent.

One of the most common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment is nausea. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help this problem. Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm an upset stomach. Bland foods will also help with nausea, as well as acid reflux problems.

Decreased immunity as a result of reduced white blood cell count is also another common complication of cancer, this increases your chances of contacting an infections. To cope effectively with this state of vulnerability to infections you should make some changes in the foods you eat. It is most important to avoid bacteria, which is common in foods that are damaged or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi) avoid eating uncooked meals like salad and cold slough, and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged.

Cancer is a complex medical condition, with many factors playing various roles in development and treatment. However, most patients will undoubtedly benefit from a better diet in a number of ways. In addition to eating a balanced diet, use the following tips to help strengthen the body’s ability to function well and fight disease:
• Avoid alcohol in excess amounts.
• Monitor weight carefully, not only being sure to stay trim, but also being sure to avoid becoming too thin.
• Learn about safe food preparation techniques.
• Cut the "bad" fats from your diet, opting instead for "good" fats, such as olive oil.
• Choose fruits and vegetables daily (these food groups should represent the bulk of your diet, approximately 50 percent).
• Avoid processed foods, like prepackaged meals.
• Make healthy choices when eating out, opting for low-carb or vegetable-based meals when possible.
• Monitor the types of fish you eat, choosing species low in mercury.
• Buy products that are organic.
• Do not eat fast food.
• Cut tobacco products out of your life.
• Take a multi-vitamin every day.
• Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet.

Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn about more ways to improve your chances of survival, modifying your diet lifestyle will strengthen your body to fight this mesothelioma cancer more readily.

Bello kamorudeen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mesothelioma Treatment-How to Get the Best Out of Your Oncologist

Oncologists are specialist medical doctors who have specialized in the treatment of cancers. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or are currently being diagnosed, you are certainly going to have a lot of consultations with an oncologist.

Oncologists will often make a definite diagnosis of the type of cancer a patient has, and they develop a treatment program that is designed to treat the type and stage of cancer appropriately. Accurate diagnosis and treatment relies on different types of technology, and involves the gathering of different types of information from different types of tests.

A mesothelioma patient will meet several types of doctors and undergo different diagnostic and treatment procedures in the process of receiving treatment. The oncologist's will coordinate treatment of mesothelioma which is usually involves a group of different medical professionals who will administer different aspects of the treatment plan while working towards a common goal of giving the patient the best and most appropriate treatment possible.

Some oncologists specialize in particular areas of cancer treatment, such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Many specialize in certain types of cancer, including mesothelioma and other cancers such as lung cancer, colorectal cancer, or breast cancer.

Generally you will begin seeing an oncologist after receiving a referral from your general physician, who may be able to provide you with several different referrals. However, you may not always have the luxury of being able to choose an oncologist. This might depend on who your treating physician is, and other factors such as the hospital to which you are admitted.

You are most likely not likely to meet an oncologist until when you are almost through with the diagnostic process when your diagnosis is virtually certain. When you first meet with the oncologist, you will be asked to give a full history of the disease, its symptoms, how and when it started and a thorough physical examination will be carried out on you.

During diagnosis you may also undergo procedures such as biopsy, blood tests, and medical imaging scans such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan. All of these tests are used to determine whether or not you have cancer or another asbestos-related disease, what type of cancer is involved, where the primary tumor is located, and the stage of cancer.

The oncologist will gather all this information and use it to determine the best course of treatment.
During the treatment stage, an oncologist will use ongoing test results to determine what types of treatment are best. To do this, they will constantly re-evaluate your general health and the progression of the cancer within the body.

Having to undergo different diagnostic and treatment procedures can become very exhausting and it can often be a frightening process. Remember, that all of these procedures are essential to help you get the right treatment for your cancer.

The types of treatments that will work for you is highly dependent on the type of cancer you have and the stage it is at, thus, it is very important that your oncologist have access to up-to-date information about your health.

Depending on a variety of factors, the oncologist may recommend treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. These three treatment options are the most commonly used in the treatment of mesothelioma cancer.

Oncologists will recommend some type of surgery, followed by a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The type of chemotherapy and the dose you receive is carefully calculated by the oncologist according to factors such as your body weight, type of cancer, and stage of cancer.

Ask your oncologist questions any time you are not sure about something in the treatment process. Your oncologist will clearly explain the different types of diagnostic and treatment procedures you will undergo, the reasons why you are having these procedures, the results of these procedures, as well as overall prognosis.

If there are any aspects of the process or of your results that you don't understand, or would like more details about, do not hesitate to ask your oncologist for more information.

Diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can be a very daunting experience for you and your family, and if you need information to make you feel more at ease with your treatment, your oncologist should be able to help in any way possible.

Bello Kamorudeen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy-What is the Role of Cisplatin?

Mesothelioma chemotherapy is one of the major conventional ways of treating mesothelioma and one of the commonly used chemotherapy agents is Cisplatin.

Cisplatin is a chemotherapy medication that contains platinum. This element is used to treat several forms of asbestos cancer, including mesothelioma.Most often, Cisplatin is used in combination with other chemotherapy agents to increase its effectiveness.

Cisplatin has been on the market for some time, though it was generally found to be ineffective in treating mesothelioma, but when used in combination with the new chemotherapy drug Alimta, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005, Cisplatin has proven to be an effective medication. The Alimta and Cisplatin combination is now considered to be one of the most effective chemotherapy treatments for pleural mesothelioma patients that are suitable for surgery.

Because the drug was introduced approximately 30 years ago and was the first in its class of alkylating agents, it often causes more side effects than newer chemotherapy drugs. Because of this, doctors will have tried other chemotherapeutic drugs before recommending treatment with Cisplatin.

If you are placed on Cisplatin you should discuss any potential concerns with your doctor. Make sure to review statistics on the effectiveness of Cisplatin and Alimta, the administration of the drug combination, and the side effects that patients encounter with treatment. It is imperative to take a B12 supplement orally starting a week before treatment begins, as well as weekly B12 shots throughout treatment. Patients should also take folic acid supplements daily (by mouth), which will continue for 21 days after the last dosage cycle of Cisplatin and Alimta.

Most times oral steroids are also prescribed along with this drug to help minimize side effects such as skin rash. If you are on other medications, either prescriptions or non-prescriptions such as supplements, you must inform their physician to avoid potential serious drug interactions.

Cisplatin in combination with Alimta is given to mesothelioma patients every 21 days on an outpatient basis, usually at a hospital or cancer treatment center. The treatment consists of a dose of Alimta by IV (which typically lasts about 10 to 15 minutes), followed by Cisplatin (which takes approximately two hours to administer). The number of cycles required will depend on the patient's response to medications, as well as any side effects experienced.

Side Effects

Side effects of Cisplatin and Alimta are usually mild to moderate for most patients with pleural mesothelioma, and include:
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Fatigue
• Thinned or brittle hair
• Loss of appetite or weight
• Diarrhea
• Changes in taste
• Numbness or tingling in the fingertips and toes
• Kidney toxicity
• Low white blood cells (neutropenia)
• Low red blood cells (anemia)
Patients experiencing any of the following symptoms should immediately call their doctor:
• Unusual bruising or bleeding
• Black stools
• Fever
• Chills
• Dizziness
• Diarrhea
• Shortness of breath or wheezing
• Swelling of the feet or ankles
• Seizures
• Rash
You may sometimes experience extreme side effects, which should be reported to your doctor immediately. Cisplatin can also cause severe kidney damage so it is important to take plenty of fluids during treatment with this chemotherapy agent

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy-What is the Role of Alimta?

Mesothelioma is a notoriously difficult asbestos related cancer to treat. Most chemotherapy drugs that have been used to treat this type of asbestos cancer have not had appreciable success in the treatment of this deadly cancer.

Among recently approved medications, Alimta stands out as having the most promise in prolonging the life of mesothelioma patients, as well as improving their quality of life.

Alimta, also known as Pemetrexed is a newer chemotherapy medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005. Most times it used in combination with Cisplatin ,and Alimta is the first medication that is specifically approved for the treatment of mesothelioma and is considered to be the most effective chemotherapy treatment for pleural mesothelioma patients especially those that have advanced cancer that are not candidates for surgery.

Alimta is a multi-targeted anti-folate medication that works by blocking the enzymes required for DNA replication and cell division. During clinical trials, Alimta (used in tandem with Cisplatin) added an average of three months to the lives of malignant mesothelioma patients and also helped to reduce symptoms.

As with most cancer medications, it is imperative for patients to discuss the use of Alimta and Cisplatin with their doctor before beginning cancer treatment. An oncologist will provide facts about the effectiveness of Alimta, the administration of the medication, and the side effects patients encounter.

Cancer specialists doctors usually recommend the complimentary use of B12 supplements given intramuscularly{injection}and folic acid supplements given orally on a daily dosage (supplementation will continue for 21 days after the last dosage cycle of Alimta).

Patients are also placed on adjuvant oral steroids to help minimize side effects. Patients should inform their doctor of all other medications being taken to avoid dangerous interactions.

Alimta is given to mesothelioma patients every 21 days on an outpatient basis. Treatment consists of a 10-minute IV infusion, followed by two hours of Cisplatin. The number of cycles patients are required to receive will depend on their response to the medications and intensity of resulting side effects.

Side Effects

The side effects of Alimta are usually mild to moderate for most patients with pleural mesothelioma. Some patients may experience extreme side effects and a doctor should be informed immediately if a reaction becomes a serious problem. Side effects typically include:
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Fatigue
• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Tiredness
• Weakness
• Pale skin
• Headache
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Fast heartbeat
• Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
• Changes in mood
• Depression
• Joint or muscle pain
• Low red blood cells count(anemia)
• Low white blood cells count(neutropenia)
• Low platelets count(thrombocytopenia)

Patients experiencing any of the following symptoms should immediately call their doctor:
• Diarrhea
• Sores in the mouth, throat, or on the lips
• Unusual bleeding or bruising
• Sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection
• Chest pain
• Difficulty breathing or swallowing
• Slow or difficult speech
• Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
• Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
• Hives
• Rash
• Itching
• Decreased urination

Mesothelioma patients should avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other signs of illness because during chemotherapy the immune system is weakened by the chemo drugs thus making the patient very prone to “catching” infections.

Make sure to contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of an infection. Before you receive Alimta, tell your doctor if you are taking an NASAID, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, indometacin, ketoprofen, and others, these drugs tend to interact negatively with Alimta. Also before receiving Alimta, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease,liver disease,immune deficiency or the presence of excessive fluid in your lungs or in any organ in your body.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Commonly Asked Legal Mesothelioma Questions

A diagnosis of mesothelioma raises a lot of legal challenges for the victim as you try and pursue legal options to get your deserved compensation.These are some of the commonly asked questions that you will be seeking answers for when you are pursuing your case:

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure.

How many related deaths are recorded due to mesothelioma?

Approximately three percent of cancer-related deaths in the United States are attributed to mesothelioma annually.

How many new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year?

In the United States, between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually.

How long does Mesothelioma take to develop?

Mesothelioma symptoms typically show up is between 15 and 40 years after asbestos exposure.

What health hazards are associated with asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure can cause numerous maladies that range from debilitating to absolutely fatal. Some of the common asbestos related diseases include:
• Asbestos lung cancer
• Asbestos warts
• Asbestosis (may develop into fatal cancer)
• Diffuse pleural thickening
• Fibrosis
• Malignant mesothelioma

Can I sue for compensation if I have mesothelioma?

Yes, you can. You will likely be suing the manufacturers of asbestos products, but each case is different depending on how you were exposed.

Should I hire a mesothelioma lawyer and what should I look for?

Yes, it is best to hire a mesothelioma lawyer who specializes in these types of cases, as mesothelioma lawyers are experts in asbestos exposure and the related diseases. The lawyer's team of investigators can track down the cause of your exposure and find the companies that are responsible. You should not hire just any other type of lawyer.

I was exposed to asbestos in the Navy-can i sue the military?

No, your can not sue the military nor the Navy. The companies that produced the asbestos-laden materials are responsible for resulting illness, not the government or the military.

What factors determine the level of compensation in mesothelioma cases?

There are many different factors that determine the amount of compensation you might be entitled to. Some of the major factors will include: the medical expenses incurred from illness; lost wages from inability to work; pain and suffering; the state laws; and the companies that are responsible for exposure.

Is it every case that goes to court? Or are there some cases that are settled out of court?

Many cases never go to court because the companies settle before trial. Each case is unique and there is always the chance that your case may need to go to court.

Is there a time limit for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit?

Yes, each state has a statute of limitations for how long you have to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. The best thing to do is hire a mesothelioma lawyer and file a case as soon as you are diagnosed.

In what jurisdiction will I file my mesothelioma lawsuit?

That will be decided by you and your mesothelioma lawyer once he or she has the important information about your case. The jurisdictions for filing may be plentiful and the decision is one that can impact the outcome of your case. Talk to your mesothelioma lawyer about which jurisdiction is best to file your claim.

I don't know where I was exposed to asbestos-can I still sue?

Yes, even if you don't know where you were exposed to asbestos, you can still sue. Your mesothelioma lawyer and their team of investigators will work hard to pinpoint the place or places where you were exposed to asbestos and which companies are responsible for those products.

If I file my mesothelioma lawsuit out of state, will I have to travel?

No, you will not have to travel. Your mesothelioma lawyer will come to you to perform an interview, record your deposition, and will go to court on your behalf.

Does smoking cause mesothelioma?

Smoking does not cause mesothelioma. If you are a smoker and you have mesothelioma, you can still launch a mesothelioma lawsuit. Smoking however limits the chances of survival of a mesothelioma patient.

Who is at risk for developing this kind of cancer?

Workers in the following occupations and workplaces are at risk for developing mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease:
• Auto Mechanics
• Boilermakers
• Carpenters
• Construction Workers
• Drywall Tapers
• Electricians
• Fire Fighters
• Industrial Workers
• Insulators
• Iron Workers
• Machinists
• Merchant Marines
• Metal Lathers
• Millwrights
• Navy Vets
• Oil Refinery Workers
• Painters
• Pipe fitters and plumbers

Is hiring a lawyer expensive?

No, most mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only receive compensation if and when you do. They will take a percentage of your awarded compensation, which will be determined upon hire. Most lawyers take 35%-40% of the compensation you get.

Where do I find a mesothelioma lawyer?

Mesothelioma lawyers are found throughout the country, you can look on the internet for resources about available mesothelioma lawyers and you can also check relevant Law registries for information. Also you can ask your health team about available mesothelioma lawfirms in your area.

About the Author: Bello kamorudeen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mesothelioma Treatment-How to Increase Your Chances of Remmission

Remission is a term generally used in cancer management to refer to a state of absence of any disease activity among patients with diagnosed to have cancer. There are two types of remission according to medical experts, these are:1} complete remission and 2} partial remission.

Complete remission is the total absence of the disease without signs of cancer. Partial remission only indicates shrinkage of the tumor and lessening of the disease with lesser but still recognizable symptoms.

Most times mesothelioma cancer reoccurs after treatment.A cancer recurrence is defined as a return of cancer after treatment and after a period of time during which the cancer cannot be detected. (The length of time is not clearly defined.) The same cancer may come back where it first started or in another place in the body. For example, prostate cancer may return in the area of the prostate gland (even if the gland has been removed), or it may come back in the bones. Either situation is a cancer recurrence.

Some other times the cancer undergoes progression.Progression is when cancer spreads or gets worse. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between recurrence and progression. For example, if the cancer has been gone for only 3 months before it comes back, was it ever really gone? Is this a recurrence or progression?

In mesothelioma cancer , remission hardly occurs, this is due mainly to the fact that most mesothelioma cases are detected early enough, most times by the time the diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer is made the cancer is already in an advanced stage of stage 3 or stage 4.

Nevertheless, some doctors have reported a handful of cases of both drug and therapy-induced remission. Researchers believe mesothelioma remission after treatment or therapy may be linked to changes that caused boosting of their immune system.

It has been noted that many long-term survivors of mesothelioma indicate they drastically changed their diet and added daily supplements to enhance their immune system. Many of these same survivors promote the efficacy of alternative treatments as part of their regimen and several have shunned conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.

However, that does not mean conventional treatments should be discounted. There have been a number of cases where mesothelioma patients have experienced remission after chemotherapy. There is a reported case of a 71-year-old Japanese woman with peritoneal mesothelioma who went into remission after receiving intraperitoneal injections of the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin. She also received other chemotherapy medications that were administered in the traditional manner. The case, as reported by Yokohama City University School of Medicine, was judged to be quite rare and the disease did return less than a year later. Nevertheless, the woman enjoyed several additional disease-free months.

Today, with the advent of new medications, improved treatments, early detection methods and clinical trials, remissions are becoming more common. Additional money is now being spent on mesothelioma research and support groups nationwide are receiving more donations. Unfortunately, research still has a long way to go in conquering this aggressive disease.

It is advised therefore that mesothelioma patients should apart from taking conventional medical treatment like surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy should also make use of other non conventional treatment methods like strict diet modification and use of immune boosting supplements as complementary treatment to improve their chances of going into remission.

Bello kamorudeen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mesothelioma Treatment-Commonly Asked Questions About Hospice Care

There are a number questions you will need to ask once you and your family have decided to seek for the services of a hospice care program in the management of your well advanced mesothelioma cancer disease. These common questions are:

1-What is the accreditation status of your prospective hospice?
Is the agency accredited (certified and licensed) by a nationally recognized group, such as the Joint Commission? The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits health care organizations and programs. It is an important resource in selecting quality health care services.

2-Is the agency certified?

Is this hospice program certified by Medicare? If so it means that the agency has met Medicare-certified minimum requirements for patient care and management.

3-Is the agency licensed?

Does the agency have your state license?

4-Does the agency have good consumer information?

Does the agency have written statements outlining services, eligibility rules, costs and payment procedures, employee job descriptions, and malpractice and liability insurance? Ask them to send you any brochures or other available information about their services.

5-What about references?

How many years of experience does the agency have? The agency should be able to provide you with references from professionals, such as a hospital or community social workers, who have used this agency before. Ask for names and telephone numbers. A good agency will give you these if you ask for them. Talk with these people about their experiences with the hospice. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau, your local Consumer Bureau, or the State Attorney General's office.

6-What are the criteria used for admissions by the agency?

How well does hospice work with each patient and family to apply policies or negotiate differences? If the hospice imposes conditions that do not feel comfortable, it may be a sign that it is not a good fit for you. If you are not sure whether you or your loved one qualifies for hospice or whether you even want it , is the agency willing to meet with you to help you talk through these concerns?

7-What is their plan of care?

Does the agency create a plan of care for each new patient? Is the plan carefully and professionally developed with input from you and your family? Is the plan of care written out and are copies given to everyone involved? Check to see if it lists specific duties, work hours/days, and the name and telephone number of the supervisor in charge. Is the care plan updated as your needs change? Ask if you can look at a sample care plan.

8-Who is their required primary caregiver?

Does the hospice require you to have a primary caregiver as a condition of admission? What responsibilities are expected of the primary caregiver? Will someone need to be with you all the time? What help can the hospice offer to organize and assist the family's efforts? Can the hospice help you fill in around job schedules, travel plans, or other responsibilities? If you live alone, what other options can the hospice suggest?

9-How is their Initial evaluation done?

Who does the initial evaluation for the agency, is it a nurse, social worker, or therapist that comes to you to talk about and evaluate the types of services you may need? Is this done in your home, rather than over the telephone? Does it highlight what you can do for yourself? Does it include input from your family doctor and/or other professionals already involved in your care? Are other members of your family included in this visit?

10-What kind of personnel is the agency using?

Are there references on file for home care staff? Ask how many references the agency requires for each staff member who gives home care (2 or more should be required). Does the agency train, supervise, and monitor its caregivers? Ask how often the agency sends a supervisor to the patient's home to review the care being given to the patient. Ask whether the caregivers are licensed and bonded. Who do you call if you have questions or complaints? What is the procedure for resolving issues?

11-What are the costs?

How does the agency handle payment and billing? Get all financial arrangements, costs, payment procedures, and billing in writing. Read the agreement carefully before signing. Be sure to keep a copy. What resources does the agency provide to help you find financial assistance if it is needed? What kind of payment options are available?
Some other questions you might need to ask will center on the telephone response of the agency, their limits of treatment and your rights and responsibilities as a patient amongst other considerations.
You and your loved ones are facing a sensitive and difficult time, facing likely imminent death is not something you can do on your own. Hospice care is a way to get the help you all may need. Please remember that there are also professional cancer information specialists who are ready to talk with you about your concerns. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at the National Cancer Information Center. You can speak to one of them by calling 1-800-227-2345.

Bello kamorudeen.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mesothelioma Treatment-Important Facts About Hospice Care

Hospice, when it was started, was a concept rooted in the centuries-old idea of offering a place of shelter and rest, or "hospitality" to weary and sick travelers on a long journey. Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable diseases like people with stage 3 and stage 4 mesothelioma cancer so that they can live their last days on earth as fulfilling and comfortable as possible.

Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it focuses on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care is family-centered care.

The patient and family are the ones making the decisions. Care is provided for the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice care can be given in the patient's home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Most hospice care in the United States is given in the home, with a family member or members serving as the main hands-on caregiver.

Hospice care is meant for the time when your cancer is so advanced that treatment will no longer give you any notable benefit, and you have a limited lifespan of less than six months left to live. Hospice offers you palliative care, which only helps to relive the mesothelioma cancer symptoms and not cure the cancer; its main purpose is to improve your quality of life. You, your family, and your doctor decide together when hospice cares should begin.

Cancer patients do not start hospice care early enough. Sometimes the doctor, patient, or family member will not want to start hospice because he or she thinks it means you're giving up, or that there's no hope. This is not true. If you get better or the cancer goes into remission, you can be taken out of the hospice program and go into active cancer treatment. You can go back to hospice care at a later time, if needed. The hope that hospice brings is the hope of a quality life, making the best of each day during the last stages of advanced illness.

These are some important points about hospice care:

-They are a team of professionals

In most cases, an interdisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. This means that many interacting disciplines work together to care for the patient. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you. Each of these people offers support based on their special areas of expertise. Together, they then give you and your loved ones complete palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support.

They offer pain and symptom control

Pain and symptom control helps you to live the remainder of your life as comfortable as possible thus allowing you to stay in control of and enjoy your life. This means that side effects are lowered to an extent that you are as free of pain and symptoms as possible, yet still alert enough to enjoy the people around you and make important decisions.

They offer spiritual support

Hospice care also tends to your spiritual needs. Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is set up to meet your specific needs. It may include helping you to look at what death means to you, helping you say good-bye, or helping with a certain religious ceremony or ritual.

Home care and inpatient care

Although hospice care can be centered in the home, you may need to be admitted to a hospital, extended-care facility, or a hospice inpatient facility. The hospice can arrange for inpatient care and will stay involved in your care and with your family. You can go back to in-home care when you and your family are ready.

Respite care

While you are in hospice, your family and caregivers may need a break, they may need some time away from the chores of taking care of you.. Hospice service may offer them a break through respite care, which is often offered in up to 5-day periods. During this time you will be cared for either in the hospice facility or in beds that are set aside for this in nursing homes or hospitals. Families can plan a mini-vacation, go to special events, or simply get much-needed rest at home while you are cared for in an inpatient setting.

Family conferences

Through regularly scheduled family conferences, often led by the hospice nurse or social worker, family members can stay informed about your condition and what to expect. Family conferences also give you all a chance to share feelings, talk about expectations, and learn about death and the process of dying. Family members can find great support and stress relief through family conferences. Conferences may also be done informally on a daily basis as the nurse or nursing assistant talks with you and your caregivers during their routine visits.

Bereavement care

Bereavement is the time of mourning after a loss. The hospice care team works with surviving loved ones to help them through the grieving process. A trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor provides support to survivors through visits, phone calls, and/or letter contact, as well as through support groups. The hospice team can refer family members and care-giving friends to other medical or professional care if needed. Bereavement services are often provided for about a year after the patient's death as it takes most people about a year to get over the grief of losing a loved one.

Bello kamorudeen.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heated Chemotherapy-A Better Way of Treating Mesothelioma

Chemotherapy is one of the major forms of treatment for mesothelioma and most chemotherapy agents for the treatment of mesothelioma are administered intravenously, typically once a week or once every three or four weeks (length of time is determined by the patient's physician). There are several common chemotherapeutic medications that may be used to treat mesothelioma, including Alimta, Cisplatin, and Carboplatin.

There is however a new form of chemo that is being tested in clinical trials of treatment of mesothelioma patients. This treatment, known as heated chemotherapy, is showing some promise for the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma, a form of mesothelioma that attacks the protective lining around the abdomen. (Due to the nature of the treatment, it has been deemed inappropriate for pleural and pericardial mesothelioma.

Heated chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma, which is also known as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy, is administered in a totally different method from the usual ways of giving chemotherapy.

During the heated chemotherapy procedure, a patient is treated with chemotherapeutic medications in liquid form that are administered directly into the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity). Before this can take place,the mass of the abdominal tumor is reduced by surgery.

Once the surgical procedure has been completed, chemotherapy can begin. During this part of the treatment, the patient's peritoneum is permeated with heated chemotherapeutic medications to expose all organs and tissues within the peritoneum in a uniform fashion (this ensures all affected organs receive treatment).

The chemotherapeutic drugs used in the procedure are heated to a temperature between 44 - 46 °C (111-114 F°), and the intraperitoneal environment is maintained at a temperature of approximately 42 - 43 °C (107-109 F°). The chemotherapeutic fluid is perfused in the peritoneum for one to two hours and then drained from the operation site.

This type of chemotherapy treatment has two main advantages over the standard type of chemotherapy:

First, the chemotherapeutic medications are applied directly to the affected site. This means the medications are in direct contact with tissues that are affected by mesothelioma, unlike in the usual form of chemotherapy in which the chemo drugs are given intravenously thus exposing the other healthy tissues of the body to side effects of the chemo. Injecting chemotherapeutic agents directly into the peritoneum increases their concentration at the cancer site and causes less serious side effects than traditional chemotherapy treatments.

The second important feature is the heating of the medications to the approximate temperature of the human body. Chemotherapeutic agents that are administered at body temperatures have an increased ability to penetrate tissues. This gives this form of chemo an edge over traditional chemo as traditional chemo has a problem of poor penetration of dense tumor masses.

Heated chemotherapy can only be given to peritoneal mesothelioma patients, it can not be used for the other forms of mesothelioma like the pleural and pericardial mesothelioma. Patients eligible for heated chemotherapy will be informed by their doctor and will need to discuss treatment options extensively before embarking on this form of treatment.

Bello kamorudeen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three Reasons Why You Must Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer

Mesothelioma patients may know they worked around asbestos which led to their development of the deadly cancer, but some other victims are not aware that the asbestos materials that they had been exposed to has led to their development of cancer symptoms. Asbestos is a well recognized carcinogen responsible most times for the mesothelioma cancer.

Unfortunately, there have been thousands of products that contained asbestos - cigarette filters, hair dryers, brakes, basement and roof materials, pipes, boilers, insulation, and many other products found throughout the home and at work. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma it is more than likely that you were exposed to asbestos over a long period of time your life and that this happened decades before your were diagnosed with the symptoms of the disease.

In general, the value of your case depends on how many asbestos containing products you were exposed to, the number of identifiable defendants that still exist (many have declared bankruptcy), your age and earning capacity. And the speed of your case can depend on a number of variables including the state where you worked and lived when you were exposed to asbestos.

When you are given this diagnosis of mesothelioma, you will probably not feel like you have the time nor the emotional strength to pursue a lawsuit to claim damages. However once you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma the best time to start pursuing your case is immediately. These are three main reasons why you should start pursuing legal action immediately:

1-Statutes of Limitations - There are statute of limitations which means you only have a limited time to file your case after diagnosis. The statute of limitations time period is set by individual states and varies. The clock usually starts ticking on the day of diagnosis. You co not have all the time on your side.

2-Financial Pressure - A mesothelioma diagnosis can bring financial stress, medical treatments for this type of cancer involves huge bills which are not covered by insurance all the time. You will need as much financial aid as you can get.

3-Lawyers Can be Excellent Resources - The more experienced mesothelioma lawyers and law firms can often be excellent sources of information about various doctors and treatment options available for this disease. They have been involved in this field for a long time and they know where you can best find help.

Choosing the best lawyer is serious business and you can not rely on TV ads as the reason to hire an attorney, you should check their credentials;

What type of accomplishments has the law firm achieved?

How committed are they to mesothelioma/asbestos cases?

Are these cases a substantial part of their practice or just a small piece?

How similar cases have they handled?

Also, make sure you discuss and agree on fees to be charged. Most mesothelioma lawyers charge on a contingency basis. Contingency fees are only paid to the lawyer only after they collect money for you. The amount of the contingency fee that your lawyer can charge varies and is usually around 35% to 40% of amount of claims won at the end of the case, if you do not win the case the lawyer does not get paid.

It is important to discuss fees openly, ask what services they cover, how they are calculated, and whether there will be any extra charges.

Finally, for something as important as a mesothelioma lawsuit, your attorney should not only be experienced, skilled, and dedicated, but also a trusted partner who understands that your health needs always take precedence. The best lawyers are those that are not only expert at what they do, but are also caring, supportive, thoughtful and compassionate.

Bello kamorudeen.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How Do You Do Follow Up After Mesothelioma Radiotherapy?

After completion of radiotherapy treatment for mesothelioma you will still need regular doctor visits to check your progress after your radiation therapy ends. You may also need help to deal with any problems that may come up.

This phase of your treatment is called follow-up care. Your follow-up care will include checking the results of your treatment, but it may also involve more cancer treatment, rehabilitation, and counseling. It may include appointments with your original doctor, surgeon, medical oncologist (a doctor specially trained to treat patients with chemotherapy), and your radiation oncologist.

These are some steps you will need to take care of yourself after radiotherapy:

- If you have skin problems after your treatment ends, be gentle with skin in the treatment area until all signs of irritation are gone. You may need extra rest while your healthy tissues are rebuilding. You may need to limit your activities to conserve your energy and not try to go back to your regular schedule right away.

-If you are still experiencing pain after radiotherapy, unless directed by your doctor, do not use a heating pad or warm compress to relieve pain in any area treated with radiation. Talk to your doctor or nurse and describe the location and type of pain in as much detail as possible. Allow your health team to help you manage this pain effectively.

-After treatment, you are likely to be more aware of your body and any slight changes in how you feel from day to day. If you have any of the problems listed below, tell your doctor at once:
• pain that does not go away, especially if it is always in the same place

• lumps, bumps, or swelling

• nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or trouble swallowing

• unexplained weight loss

• fever or cough that doesn't go away

• unusual rashes, bruises, or bleeding

• any other signs mentioned by your doctor or nurse

Do not hesitate to let your doctor know about any new problems or concerns you have. It is always best to find out the cause of a problem so it can be dealt with right away.

-You will want to get copies of your treatment records to keep. It is important that you be able to give any new doctor you might see in the future the exact details of your diagnosis and treatment, also these documents might become very relevant to your case if you are about to pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit to get compensated for damages . Make sure you have the following information handy:

• a copy of your pathology report from any biopsy or surgery

• if you had surgery, a copy of your operative report

• if you had radiation therapy, a copy of your treatment summary

• if you were hospitalized, a copy of the discharge summary that every doctor must prepare when patients are sent home from the hospital

Bello kamorudeen.