Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer, and often does not get the attention that other forms receive. Each year in the U.S., there are about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma, compared to 221,000 cases of lung cancer. State cancer registries, such as the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, track new cases of lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, but do not include mesothelioma. However, a new bipartisan bill in Congress may change that.
U.S. Representative John Katko has proposed the Mary Jo Lawyer-Spano Mesothelioma Patient Registry Act of 2015 (H.R. 3284), which would establish a national registry of mesothelioma patients. The national registry would provide more complete data regarding the prevalence of mesothelioma than existing state registries. This data will also allow doctors and researchers to observe trends in the disease, track diagnostic and treatment methods and identify potential risk factors.
National Registry Data Provides Big Picture View of Mesothelioma Trends
By making this information available to the public and to the medical community, the registry will help researchers share information regarding the effectiveness of particular treatment methods, which could help take some of the guesswork out of developing a plan for specific patients. The registry will also offer some insight into the key demographics affected by the disease, which could stimulate efforts to prevent the disease from developing. Several government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense will be able to utilize the data.
The bill was named in honor of Mary Jo Lawyer-Spano, a Syracuse resident who passed away after suffering from mesothelioma for four years. Her father also died from mesothelioma, and her sister is currently suffering from another asbestos-related disease. Her sister believes that her father’s job at an elevator company may have put them all at risk, as asbestos fibers may have traveled into the house on his clothes.
Other Legislators Taking Aim at Asbestos
Rep. Katko is not the only Congressman who is proposing mesothelioma-related legislation. Recently, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dick Durbin have introduced bills prioritizing the treatment of asbestos as a hazardous substance. Asbestos has been found to cause debilitating respiratory conditions, including mesothelioma, yet it can still be found in various products.
Mesothelioma is a devastating condition for the 3,000 Americans diagnosed each year, but many feel that they lack resources to deal with the condition. The national registry would supplement the fact sheets that are currently available with patient-specific data, which can be invaluable for both the doctors treating the disease and the patients suffering from it. Mesothelioma patients have limited treatment options and a short life expectancy, but the national registry can help patients feel as though they are not alone.
Pennsylvania Asbestos Lawyers at the Shein Law Fight for Rights of Mesothelioma Victims
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at the Shein Law. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is responsible for your asbestos exposure, and prepare an aggressive legal strategy to get you the compensation you are entitled to. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, we help mesothelioma patients and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-877-SHEINLAW (743-3652) or contact us online to review your case with a qualified asbestos lawyer.