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High lung cancer rate seen in North Toledo

March 11, 2006 - Lung cancer is high in North Toledo's Lagrange Street area, according to a presentation yesterday at Toledo Hospital by one of the Ohio Department of Health's top officials.

Robert Indian revealed the information to some 115 public health officials from northwest Ohio who attended the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department's 5th annual Spring Forum on Environmental Health.

In an interview with The Blade, Mr. Indian said he doesn't know if the finding simply means that one of North Toledo's oldest working-class neighborhoods has a bad smoking habit, or if there's something else triggering the problem, such as exposure to an industrial pollutant.

About 7 percent of all cancers are caused by exposure to pollution.

There is a strong association, in particular, between benzene exposure and leukemia, Mr. Indian said.

But lung cancer is far different from leukemia. And about 85 percent of all lung cancers are caused by smoking, he said.

In his report Mr. Indian said that portions of the Lagrange neighborhood were built over a landfill and that some of the homes apparently have dirt basements.

But he declined to elaborate upon that during his interview, except to say that he didn't believe radon gas was seeping up through the basements because this area has less radon than others.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the ground. Long-term exposure to it has caused lung cancer in other parts of the country.

The state health department agreed to study nearly 10,000 people who live in the vicinity of Lagrange Street last year, after several residents had brought their concerns first to then-Mayor Jack Ford and later to the city-county health department.

The study began following an April 14 meeting at the Chester Zablocki Senior Center, 3015 Lagrange.

Mr. Indian said his agency focused its research on health records culled between 1996 and 2002.

Fifty-four confirmed cases of lung cancer were documented, nearly 40 percent more than the state health department expected to find.

Thirty-nine cases for that type of sample would have been considered normal, according to Mr. Indian's presentation.

No other types of cancer were deemed to be significant. One - non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - was even found to occur far less frequently than expected in the Lagrange area.

The results will be turned over to the local health department in about a month.

The city-county health department plans to distribute the report at a public meeting in April or May, said Eric Zgodzinski, health services supervisor.


Unhealthy outlook for industry?

By Roy Williams
Apr 29, 2006 - Industrial diseases are in the news on two counts at the moment. A coroner in Wolverhampton has delivered a landmark judgement that a former Goodyear worker died of the respiratory disease mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos.

And the Health and Safety Executive is describing what it calls "the biggest occupational asthma outbreak in the world" at Longbridge in 2004.

For workers who may be suffering what they believe to be an industrial disease, or who may be worried that their working environment could be affecting their health in the short or long term there are places to go on the web for help.

Unfortunately - or fortunately depending on your point of view - making a search on a phrase like "industrial disease" will land you slap in the middle of a very crowded beauty contest where firms of solicitors will, through their websites, offer what they consider to be the best deals and advice on compensation claims.

If this is what's meant by "compensation culture" it is all too evident, swamping what might be thought as more independent counsel.

But if information is your first priority, the first places to go should be where there's no cheque expected at either end of the deal.

Probably the first port of call should be the Health and Safety Executive's site at www.hse.gov.uk

As it says on the tin, health and safety at work is the organisation's oxygen.

The site includes a comprehensive search facility on all manner of issues.

The section on asbestos at www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm is typically thorough.

The front page links to even deeper information, including a look at all the relevant legislation, including new combined regulations due to be launched in October of this year.

Following the link www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/furtherreadjun.pdf brings up a three-page pdf document listing all the relevant documents and where to get them.

There is information on Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983 as amended in 1998 and on Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 which is not just about workers' rights, but employers' responsibilities and help for all on either side of the fence.

Elsewhere, the Department for Work and Pensions at www.dwp.gov.uk offers practical help if a claim is required.

Under its Advisors and Claim Forms sections it actually includes a form to claim for benefit for a prescribed industrial disease.

You can read through the claim form online using Adobe Reader or download and print it.

There's also more advice from Department for Constitutional Affairs, which has a section on personal injury claims at www.dca.gov.uk/pubs/injuryclaims.htm

And if a potential claim really is the first thing on your mind, there is virtually no limit to the online offerings.

One piece of advice may be to look for the logo of the Claims Standards Council a www.claimscouncil.org , which says it is a "a non-profit making company limited by guarantee and is governed by a Board of Trustees. It was formed to represent organisations and individuals interested in the development of regulation in the UK."

Last word, though, should probably come from the HSE site, which leads its asbestos section with this quote from Bill Callaghan, chairman of the Health and Safety Council:

"Tackling the problem of asbestos is a huge undertaking, but the HSC regards it as one of its highest priorities. Asbestos killed 50,000 people in the 30 years to 1998, and the toll will continue to rise because illnesses resulting from work with the material can take up to 60 years to manifest themselves."

As the events at the coroners court this week have so clearly demonstrated.


Latest Cancer Drug Decision Welcomed By Cancerbackup

18 Jul 2007 - Responding to NICE's Final Appraisal Determination on Pemetrexed for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma, Cancerbackup issues the following statement:

"Today's decision by NICE to overturn its initial decision on Pemetrexed for mesothelioma, the asbestos-related cancer, is warmly welcomed by Cancerbackup", says Roisin Trehy, senior nurse at Cancerbackup.

"This decision means that the majority of people with mesothelioma will now be able to obtain Pemetrexed on the NHS. However, it is still disappointing that a minority will still miss out on the drug, particularly as there are few other treatments available for patients with this disease."

1. Cancerbackup is the only national charity that specialises in providing information on all types of cancer.

2. All Cancerbackup services are free to cancer patients, their relatives and friends.

3. Cancerbackup Freephone Information Service: 0808 800 1234 (Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm). Cancerbackup Centres can be found in St Bartholomew's Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital, the London Clinic, The Christie Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Nottingham City Hospital, Coventry's University Hospital and Jersey. The charity's website can be found at http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk

4. Cancerbackup, as a charity, receives 54% of its funding from individuals, 11% from charitable trusts, 5% from grants, 14% from companies, 2% from investments and 14% from its trading company. Pharmaceutical companies contributed 9% of the total 2005/06 income.

5. In April 2006 Cancerbackup changed its name from CancerBACUP, so that the charity's name better represents the service the charity provides: information, understanding and support to anyone affected by cancer.

http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk


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