Straight Talk about Mesothelioma, a blog series created by Michael T. Milano, M.D., Ph.D., a radiation oncology specialist, as a resource for mesothelioma patients and their loved ones.

I am horrified by the devastating effects of mesothelioma and its impact on the patients and families who suffer from it. As a physician, I try to focus on health and healing and shy away from politics. But the more one studies and understands this aggressive cancer, the harder it is not to become angry with the companies that knowingly exposed its workers to asbestos. And we can’t even take comfort knowing that such violations are a thing of the past. Barely a week goes by in the U.S. without some news report about a demolition crew failing to take appropriate precautions when tearing down structures known to contain asbestos, or failing to dispose of asbestos properly. Even with all we now know about the hazards of asbestos exposure, it continues to be a present-day risk.

Reasons for Hope

Despite the fact that approximately 3,200 patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, I do feel there are glimmers of hope on the horizon. Researchers across the world continue to search aggressively for treatments that can cure or at least extend the life of those afflicted with mesothelioma. In addition, we are seeing improvements in diagnostic techniques, which are enabling physicians to catch mesothelioma earlier. We do know that the earlier the disease is detected, the greater range of treatment options are available for patients and the better their prognosis.

To everyone affected by this terrible disease, I wish for you strength, courage, and of course, an eventual cure.