A recent study of the collected mesothelioma data has shown that despite all of the work that has been done over the last four decades, there has been no improvement in mesothelioma survival. This news is of particular concern to veterans with mesothelioma, as they make up over one third of those diagnosed with this rare and fatal disease.
The National Cancer Institute is a federal agency dedicated to supporting research into all forms of cancer. As part of their process, they have created a database of patients who have been treated over the last forty years.
Included in this information is statistical information on mesothelioma and on 14,000 patients who have been treated since 1973. This database, known as the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) Program, makes historical information available to researchers with the hope that it will provide greater understanding towards future work.
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure, and in most cases, that exposure came from the patient’s working environment. A disproportionate number of those who have been diagnosed with the disease have a history of having served in a branch of the American military between World War II and the Iraq War.
This is because asbestos was widely used in various applications, ranging from the insulation of barracks and mess halls to the construction of Navy vessels. The disease has a long latency period, which means that disease symptoms do not make themselves known until forty to fifty years after exposure to asbestos fibers from boiler rooms, shipyards, and other sources.
With veterans with mesothelioma making up a large number of those included in the SEER database, the news that survival rates are flat are discouraging.
Despite this, there is also positive information that came from the analysis done of the database results. Scientists have successfully identified characteristics that offer the promise of improved response to available therapies and extended survival rates for those who have these characteristics.
They include being female, being younger at the time of diagnosis, and being diagnosed when the disease in its earlier stages. The research has also pointed definitively to surgery being the therapy that has offered the greatest and most successful outcomes in terms of extending survival. Researchers hope that this understanding will lead them to improved overall survival in the future.
If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important for you to understand that you have the right to pursue those responsible for your illness.
Though you may not take action against the government or the military, a mesothelioma lawyer can help you to file a claim against the suppliers who provided the military with the asbestos-contaminated materials that made you sick.