When it comes to expertise in asbestos exposure and its role in mesothelioma, few come close to Professor John Cherrie. In addition to his role as Professor of Human Health at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, he is the Principal Scientist in the Research Division at IOM, one of the leading providers of workplace health research worldwide.
As lead author of a study recently published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Cherrie cites the fact that malignant mesothelioma is generally diagnosed at such an advanced stage as the number one reason for the challenge in treating it.
He proposes an enhanced method of screening that relies on assessed levels of exposure to asbestos provided directly from the individual worker, and suggests that having such a system in place would provide those at risk with the opportunity to take advantage of more aggressive therapeutic approaches.
In most cases, malignant mesothelioma is not diagnosed until the cancer is late stage, and there are few options for significant improvement. Cherrie suggests the development of a screening program that relies on individual exposure reconstruction by the patient.
Cherri supports his idea with results from a validation study that he conducted, which shows that there was a good association between the amount of exposure that individual workers believed that they had been exposed to and actual measured exposure levels.
Based on this, Cherrie believes that “an important use for this exposure reconstruction method could be selection of past asbestos workers or others at increased risk of asbestos-related cancer for screening (lung cancer or mesothelioma) and/or trials of novel chemoprophylaxis strategies.
Those who were exposed to asbestos in the past and their families are naturally often concerned about the risk of being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.”
Having a way to anticipate actual risk of mesothelioma and therefore submit to frequent testing might provide greater hope for more effective treatments and longer survival times. For information on how new research into this asbestos-related disease can help you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. Reach us at 1-800-692-8608.