Understanding Mesothelioma

Each year more than 3,000 people are diagnosed with this rare and destructive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. This disease aggressively invades the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen after a latency period of just 10 years or up to 50 years. Mesothelioma is a solid tumor that forms in the body as a result of microscopic asbestos particles.

For years, since at least the 1950’s, asbestos was referred to as a ‘miracle mineral’. It was extremely common in work environments such as shipyards, paper and steel mills, construction sites and power plants. Millions of Americans were put at risk by working with this substance. Ultimately, family members have also been known to contract this cancer by inadvertently inhaling the dust introduced to the home by unsuspecting workers.

There are limited options to fight this cancer and there are no known cures at this time.

  1. B Klein
    March 10, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Representative Betty McCollum has introduced a Mesothelioma Awareness Day Resolution in the House of Representatives. Contact your Representative to ask for his or her support for H.Res 771 by Representative McCollum.

    Believe in a Cure!

    Contact us here for immediate expert help and a free copy of the book “100 Questions & Answers About Mesothelioma.”

    (877) END-MESO
    (877) 363-6376

  2. B Klein
    March 12, 2010 at 3:10 AM

    Merlin Olsen SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor Merlin Olsen has died. He was 69.

    Utah State University assistant athletic media relations director Zach Fisher says Olsen died Wednesday night at a Los Angeles hospital.

    He was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year.

    Olsen was an All-American at Utah State and a first-round draft pick of the Los Angles Rams in 1962.

    The burley giant from northern Utah joined Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier on the Rams’ storied “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line known for either stopping or knocking backward whatever offenses it faced. The Rams set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed during a 14-game season in 1968.

    Olsen was rookie of the year for the Rams in 1962 and is still the Rams’ all-time leader in career tackles with 915. He was named to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, a string that started his rookie year.

    Olsen was also an established televisio n actor with a role on “Little House on the Prairie,” then starring in his own series, “Father Murphy,” from 1981 to 1983 and the short-lived “Aaron’s Way” in 1988.

    Olsen was a consensus All-American at Utah State and won the 1961 Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman. The Rams drafted Olsen third overall in 1962 and he spent the next 15 years with the team before retiring in 1976.

    Utah State honored Olsen in December by naming the football field at Romney Stadium “Merlin Olsen Field.” Because of his illness, Olsen’s alma mater didn’t want to wait until football season and made the announcement during halftime of a basketball game.

    Olsen was well enough to attend, but did not speak at the event. He stood and smiled as he waved to fans during a standing ovation and chants of “Merlin Olsen!” and “Aggie Legend!”

    Utah State is also planning a statue of Olsen at the southeast corner of the stadium.

    The Rams also honored Olsen during a g ame Dec. 20, with a video tribute narrated by Dick Enberg, Olsen’s longtime broadcast partner. Olsen did not attend because of his health. His name was already part of the Ring of Fame inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis along with other franchise standouts.

    He was voted NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973 and the NFL MVP in 1974, and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

  3. B Klein
    March 12, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Settlement Weighed as 9/11 Firefighter Battles CancerUpdated: 2 hours ago
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    Katie Drummond

    AOL News NEW YORK (March 12) — Ken Specht knew that his career choice was dangerous. But he never thought being a firefighter would leave him bedridden before his 40th birthday.

    “I knew this job could take years off my life. I get that,” he told AOL News. “But I didn’t anticipate that it would take decades.”

    Specht, now 41, is one of some 10,000 ground zero rescue and recovery workers who could settle their lawsuit against the city of New York and affiliated contractors today.

    Courtesy of Ken Specht
    Ken Specht, here in an undated photo, spent months working at the World Trade Center site. “We stopped to eat there, we drank our water there, we literally ingested every contaminant through our mouths, noses and eyes,” he said.
    A firefighter who started working with the city’s fire department when he was only 21, Specht was hands-on at ground zero for months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Although he wore protective equipment, Specht said, everyone on his crew had no choice but to pull their gear off while in the contaminated areas.

    “We stopped to eat there, we drank our water there, we literally ingested every contaminant through our mouths, noses and eyes,” he said. “There was nowhere to go to get away.”

    Three years later, Specht was rushed to the hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery. He’s since suffered from chronic gastrointestinal problems, including ongoing heartburn, digestive trouble and stomach pain.

    And that was only the start of his health problems. At 37, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Specht has undergone three surgeries, including removal of his thyroid gland, but the illness is still ravaging his body. Today, as U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein reviews the $657 million settlement, Specht will be meeting with his doctor to review his latest round of blood tests.

    “I absolutely attribute my medical problems to what I went through at ground zero,” he said. “It’s getting worse with every day that I live. I wake up, and each day is harder than the last.”

    Still, Specht considers himself lucky. His health insurance has paid most of his medical bills, although he still shells out several hundred dollars a month for co-payments on doctor visits and the four daily medications that he anticipates taking for the rest of his life.

    Seeing fellow firefighters die of their own illnesses since 9/11 spurred Specht to team up with colleagues and start the NYC Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation. The nonprofit raises money and offers resources for firefighters and their families.

    He decided to join the lawsuit to protect the financial future of his wife and 13-year-old stepson. “We’re living on a fixed income, and I don’t think I’ll ever work again,” Specht said. “I never thought I’d be retired at 40.”

    Today, though, Specht isn’t sure whether he’ll consent to the settlement, and says he’s left with more questions than answers. “Why did it take this long? How many people have died waiting for their share of this money?” he asked.

    Specht is also dissatisfied with the suggested payout, which he doubts will make much of a dent in his monthly living expenses. “You’ve got 10,000 people splitting those millions,” he said. “Some of whom can hardly even prove they were at ground zero.”

    A nonsmoker and nondrinker who exercised daily before he got sick, Specht said he’s still stunned at how his life has changed. “Money won’t change that I can’t get out of bed,” he said. “It just shouldn’t have come to this.”
    Filed under: Nation, Top Stories

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