Mesothelioma, Asbestos Awareness on the Agenda At Conference

Mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases will be on the agenda at the sixth Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference has been scheduled for the weekend of April 9-11, 2010 and will take place in Chicago, Illinois.

Sponsored by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, the conference is intended to discuss the state of asbestos mining and exportation around the world; the medical advances in treatment for mesothelioma and asbestosis; and the continued need for stricter regulations regarding asbestos use.

Scientists, activists, physicians and other health care professionals, families affected by asbestos diseases and caregivers will be in attendance. A reception for patients and their families, a remembrance brunch, and a recognition of those who increase global awareness of asbestos will be among the scheduled activities over the weekend.

Asbestos continues to be mined in a number of countries, and exported for use in construction and industrial materials, most often in underdeveloped nations. Additionally, it is still legally allowable in some amounts, and in certain applications, in the United States. Unfortunately, inhaling the dust that is created when asbestos materials are manufactured or used is potentially deadly. The dust is made up of microscopic, sharp fibers that penetrate the mesothelium and can lead to a number of debilitating diseases, including mesothelioma cancer.

There is no cure for mesothelioma, and the treatment options are limited—and of limited effectiveness. Surgery is only possible when the cancer is diagnosed early, which is rare. Chemotherapy and radiation are more commonly used treatments, but even these are of limited value in eradicating the cancer. Most patients opt for palliative measures and pain relief, and many also explore alternative treatments such as massage, acupuncture and nutritional supplements to make their remaining months of life more comfortable. Across the world every year, approximately 20,000 people die from this devastating disease.