Every year, in the United Kingdom, over 2,500 people die from the relatively unknown disease of Mesothelioma. The disease is a type of cancer that affects the linings of the lungs known as the pleura and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Symptoms include the following: A dry cough, Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Fatigue, Weight loss and in very rare circumstances difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness in the voice and some nerve pain.
The Shortness of breath and fluid around the lungs are the symptoms that are usually the starting point for physicians who will conduct a thoracotomy, a procedure involving an incision in the chest wall in the pleural space. Mesothelioma is often called Pleural Mesothelioma for this reason. Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer and the treatment options include surgery which is performed in order to cure and also to help relieve pain. Other treatments include chemotherapy which is thought to be a viable form of treatment of Mesothelioma in all of its four stages. Radiation therapy is also used as a treatment both before and after surgery in order to shrink tumours or kill any remaining cells after surgery.
There are also multi-modal treatments such as aggressive surgical treatments in conjunction with the other therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. These multi-modal treatments can improve the life expectancy of the patients. The use of clinical trials is also a treatment option which includes the use of new therapies such as gene therapy and photo-dynamic therapy.
A report published in 2018 found that the United Kingdom has the highest rates of Mesothelioma as a percentage of the population in the world. Unfortunately, the United kingdom has consistently held this dubious record. The United Kingdom also has the highest death rate for females in the world and despite white asbestos being banned back in 1999, the death rate has continued to rise contrary to predictions that the it would level out and start falling.
Because many of the cases of Mesothelioma are caused by work related exposure to asbestos, in the United States there is a compensation fund available worth up to $35 billion dollars with some individuals reportedly receiving $1 million dollars. In 2011, the family of Nancy Lopez, received a settlement of $10 million dollars. Lopez had worked as a court clerk in Kansas city for 27 years and had been exposed to asbestos during the court's renovation. Nancy Lopez had died the year before in 2010 and the family proceeded with the law suit. The law suit had claimed that U.S. Engineering Co. had not followed proper procedures for the handling of asbestos.
In the UK, there are two compensation schemes which are the 'Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979' and the 'Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme', which was set up by the 'Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008'. The payments differ depending on your circumstances and if you can find your employer or not.
A 2011 study entitled 'Curcumin suppresses growth of mesothelioma cells in vitro and in vivo, in part, by stimulating apoptosis' scientists investigated the effects of curcumin on mesothelioma cells. The oral administration of curcumin was found to inhibit malignant pleural mesothelioma cells in mice and it was believed that curcumin did this by promoting apoptosis or programmed cell death.
In another study from 2014 entitled 'Curcumin: a double hit on malignant mesothelioma' researchers investigated the role of curcumin in the pyroptotic cell death of malignant mesothelioma cells. Pyroptosis is a different type of programmed cell death which is highly highly inflammatory. The results from the study found that curcumin created a 'double hit' because not only did it promote pyroptotic cell death of malignant mesothelioma cells but it also protected against inflammation, once again highlighting its ability as an anti-inflammatory.