Anyone who has ever done any DIY-style home renovations and construction on a home built before the 80s may be at risk for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancer usually associated with asbestos exposure. It is most often found in the lining of the lung or abdomen, and sometimes other organs as well.
It is a common misconception that asbestos has been banned or that regulations are in place to protect the public. In fact, asbestos has still not been banned in the United States and while it is no longer manufactured here, it is still imported in a number of products. Although asbestos is regulated through workplace laws which help prevent occupational exposure, they do not protect the general public, as homes built between the 1940s and 1980s are likely to contain asbestos already (attic insulation, plaster, tiling, pipe insulation, etc…).
Do-It-Yourself-ers and “weekend renovators” are especially at risk when renovating or repairing and if doing the work in an occupied residence, all residents living in the home are at risk of inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers which are easily distributed throughout the home through HVAC system.
Mesothelioma can take between 20-50 years to develop from the time of inhalation of asbestos. The cancer is known as very aggressive and survival at five years from diagnosis is less than 10%.
However, for some patients appropriate treatment can greatly extend survival. Although the FDA approved only one treatment regimen for mesothelioma in 2004 (chemotherapy combination of Alimta/cisplatin), mesothelioma patients should be aware of all of their options many of which include surgery and experimental drugs (through clinical trials).
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation can be a resource to those who have been diagnosed by helping them and their families navigate available treatment options, access treatment and clinical trials, and provide financial assistance. If you are a mesothelioma patient and need help, please contact Gleneara Bates, MSW, the organization’s Director of Research and Medical Outreach at (703) 879-3821 or email@example.com.