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Small group of mesothelioma patients show promise in therapy

Asbestos used to be widely employed in construction, shipbuilding and the manufacturing of goods like appliances and vehicles. It was once prized without reservation for its ability to withstand flame and insulate rooms. But long-term exposure has been studied and may be very hazardous to the people who worked with it.

One of the best known potential ill effects of exposure to asbestos dust is mesothelioma, a specific type of cancer that affects the lining of thoracic organs and traced specifically to the substance. The two best known forms are pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the stomach or digestive tract.

A few unfortunate patients have been diagnosed with both forms of the disease. Life expectancy for these people was low and survival rates were equally low for years. But a new study shows that the combination of forms of mesothelioma can be managed by personalized care from specialists on the condition.

"This is an understudied, and poorly understood, group of patients that often is just written off," said a surgical oncologist who worked on the study. "But we've shown a meaningful survival."

The group of 50 patients was studied over more than two decades in order to verify the effectiveness of new therapies. This is excellent news for the small number of patients who suffer from the combination of forms.

One of the best allies for patients struggling with mesothelioma is an attorney. Medical expenses may be reimbursed, and patients may receive various types of compensation with a lawsuit brought in civil court by a lawyer.

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