01/31/2011 // Chicago, IL, USA // Mesothelioma Lawyers – Cooney & Conway // Cooney & Conway

For years, mesothelioma lawyers and researchers have been warning the public about the grim consequences of mesothelioma, an increasingly prevalent cancer that’s caused mainly by asbestos exposure. The problem, though, may be even more severe than they think, according to a new study.

A new report in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives concludes that worldwide cases of mesothelioma—an aggressive, incurable cancer—are widely underreported and that for every four to five documented cases of the disease, at least one case goes unreported.

Mesothelioma can develop decades after asbestos exposure, and a diagnosis is difficult until the cancer is well into its advanced stages. Over the years, mesothelioma lawyers have won significant verdicts and settlements from manufacturers, suppliers, employers and building owners who improperly used, handled or provided asbestos materials or who did not adequately warn of its dangers.

But mesothelioma researchers still struggle to find a cure for the deadly disease, which typically proves fatal within a year of diagnosis.

Using data provided by 56 countries, the study authors looked at the 174,300 mesothelioma deaths from 1994 through 2008. Since mesothelioma usually develops anywhere from 20 to 50 years subsequent to asbestos exposure, they also looked at country-level asbestos use from 1920 through 1970.

Based on these figures, the study’s authors concluded that a country’s combined use of asbestos in the past was a reliable predictor of later deaths from mesothelioma. That enabled the authors to calculate that from 1994 through 2008 an additional 38,900 mesothelioma cases may have occurred in the 33 asbestos-using countries that did not report mesothelioma data.

“Our most important finding is the magnitude of unreported mesothelioma in countries that use asbestos at substantial levels but report no cases of the disease,” says report coauthor, Ken Takahashi of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Japan. Countries reporting no cases include Russia, Kazakhstan, China and India—all of which rank in the top 15 countries for cumulative asbestos use.

Takahashi and his coauthors recommend that developed nations share their experience and technology to help developing countries better diagnose, report and treat mesothelioma cases. Better yet, they say, developing nations should ban the mining, use and export of asbestos outright, since the best way to prevent the disease is to eliminate its cause.

*This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and financial compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly diseases it can cause.

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