"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Friday, October 5, 2012

Doug Karr: Mesothelioma and Veterans

Many thanks to Doug Karr for the following article on Mesothelioma, an extremely deadly disease that unfortunately affects many of our nation's veterans and heroes. Sadly, People do not find out that they have mesothelioma until long after exposure to asbestos, sometimes over 20 years, and early detection is key.

Doug is a former Petty Officer Second Class for the United States Navy. He currently writes about veteran health for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Mesothelioma and Veterans - What mesothelioma needs to grow 

Mesothelioma risks among the 23 million vets currently living in the United States are high. Veterans serving in the navy who work in shipyards and facilities where asbestos is used face even higher risks of being diagnosed with one of the deadliest forms of cancer. New promising mesothelioma research could be critical in improving the survival rate.

Mesothelioma and the role of HMGB1

Mesothelioma doesn’t have to be a death sentence if it is detected in its earliest stages. Mesothelioma cells require HMGB1 to grow, researchers concluded. Under the direction of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, researchers learned more about the role a protein critical to the development of mesothelioma played in the progression of the disease. The role of the protein, HMGB1 (high-mobility group box 1), in the progression of mesothelioma is better understood as a result of the research.

Now scientists are one step closer to being able to detect the mesothelioma in its earlier stages. The highly resistant form of cancer is usually detected in its later stages and responds poorly to current treatments available. According to Cancer Research, the protein affects the progression and survival of mesothelioma cells. Using laboratory mice, antibodies were used to inhibit HMGB1, slowing the growth of mesothelioma cells in mice. This extended the survival rate of mice infected with the cancer. This could have an impact on the survival rate of mesothelioma patients, especially among high-risk populations like veterans.

What does this mean to vets?

Like all mesothelioma patients, veterans diagnosed with cancer have a survival rate of less than one year after diagnosis. One in four mesothelioma patients have served in the navy or in shipyards. This means that most who have served in this environment have reason to be screened for mesothelioma. Retired veterans who have been exposed to asbestos are more likely to notice mesothelioma symptoms decades after being initially exposed. Many veterans experience flu-like symptoms and never seek medical attention when they manifest. This means that retired veterans must be particularly vigilant in seeking medical treatment when minor, basic flu-like symptoms occur.

Since most veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma in advanced stages, the research is promising. It is still important, however, to be proactive in taking notice of any flu-like symptoms to improve chances of early detection.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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