A recent news feature from the Huffington Post looks at fights against various diseases in the United States and around the world throughout modern history. One example was Polio, which was a major fear in cities such as Boston as recent as 70 years ago. The disease was finally listed as being officially eradicated in the United States in 1994, which is about 50 years after the vaccine was first created.
This, of course, was the Polio vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk. Now that disease is listed as completely eradicated, children are no longer given oral or injectable vaccine against it, which was once commonplace. Polio is a disease that ravages the human nervous system and causes paralysis and death without the vaccine.
While this disease and many others have been cured and eradicated, there are many that haven’t and, along with diseases like cancer, including malignant mesothelioma, are far from being cured. However, President Obama called for what has been named a “cancer moonshot” during his last State of the Union address. The reason it is called a moon shot is in reference to President John F. Kennedy’s famous pledge to put an American on the moon before decade’s end. This feat was of course accomplished, but it required the full support of Congress, the American people, and a lot of funding.
In terms of malignant mesothelioma, a disease almost always caused by exposure to deadly asbestos fibers, there are over 2,500 Americans being diagnosed with the disease every year, and many of them are dying within one year. The total number of deaths in the Untied States alone per year is as high as 15,000. While there has been some progress made in terms of treatment, everything that is available now is basically able to slightly slow the growth of the deadly tumors and is aimed at prolonging life by a matter of months, or in the absolute best case scenarios, a year or two. This is not to say there aren’t patients who survive ten years after being diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, but in these cases it is common for both doctors to and family members to consider it a miracle, so this is far from the norm.
Another issue that is discussed in this article is, even though there has been no question about asbestos fibers being deadly, using asbestos is still technically legal, and the products containing asbestos are still imported into the United States on a regular basis. It should be noted that overall use of asbestos in the United States has gone down substantially since the late 1970s; however, there has not been a reduction in the amount of deaths each year.
There are a variety of reasons for this, and one of them is that it often takes between 20 and 50 years for those who are exposed to deadly asbestos fibers to die from malignant mesothelioma. In other words, people who were exposed in the 1970s may still not have been diagnosed. Fighting malignant mesothelioma is the only way to help these tens of thousands of future victims.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
The Moment for Congress to Fight Against Cancer and Asbestos Is Now, February 12, 2016, Huffington Post, By Raja Flores, MD, Linda Reinstein
More Blog Entries:
Can Family of Asbestos Workers Sue for Illness?, September 15, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog