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chemo no moreOur lung cancer and mesothelioma lawyers announce our support and engagement in World Cancer Day 2016. This day is an opportunity to raise awareness about known carcinogens, lifestyle factors, cancer research and new treatments. For more information on this effort, visit World Cancer Day’s website, here.

Yesterday, President Obama signed a directive kicking off the National Cancer Moonshot, chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. The program has a budget of $1 billion; the large budget is meant to bring about 10 years’ worth of change in cancer prevention, treatments and detection in half that time. The funds will be divided between the FDA (to launch new cancer research), National Institutes for Health (for research and to kick-start cancer activities), and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs (to increase investments into cancer research).

Researchers will be seeking solutions for cancer prevention, detection and treatment. This includes vaccines, immunotherapy, genomic analysis, minimally-invasive screenings, combination therapy, and new technologies for early detection. They will also seek new approaches to narrowing the gaps in health care between people from different settings.

This last aim is very important. There needs to be a larger commitment to change governmental policies so everyone has access to cancer control plans. Far too many low- and middle-income families go bankrupt from a cancer diagnosis, selling their homes and emptying their retirement funds to pay for the healthcare needed to save their life.

In fact, medical bankruptcy is the number-one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States. Approximately 40% of Americans owe collectors for medical bills. Americans are much more likely than adults in other developed countries to decline medical care due to cost.

We Can, I Can

The “We Can, I Can” campaign is meant to explore how everyone, together and as individuals, can make a difference in the fight against cancer. Everyone has power to take action. Here are some examples from the campaign:

I Can

–          Share my story

–          Make healthy lifestyle choices

–          Take control of my cancer journey

–          Understand early detection

–          Return to work

We Can

–          Create healthy environments

–          Shape policy change

–          Challenge perceptions

–          Improve access to cancer care

–          Mobilize our networks to drive progress

If you are battling cancer, know you are not alone. There are millions of people supporting you, advocating for new research, and fighting for your rights. About one-third of all cancers are preventable. Our team of lung cancer and mesothelioma lawyers knows the gratitude of this statement. Far too many workers are exposed to carcinogens like asbestos or benzene on-the-job, without any sort of warning or protection. Working together, we can increase the impact of cancer awareness, policy and research, so employers are held responsible for exposing employees and prevented from ever doing so again.

We offer a free book, 100 Questions & Answers About Mesothelioma, to anyone who wants to know more. Our book offers advice on the best hospitals and doctors, how to talk to your family about your cancer, and what legal rights are afforded to you and your family. Visit our main site to request your copy today.

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globeWe recently wrote on the importance of discussing end-of-life wishes for cancer patients and their families. A new study on this topic examines the reality of end-of-life care in the United States and how it compares to other countries. Our team of lung cancer and mesothelioma attorneys details this new study below.

The study compared cancer patients in their finals months of life in seven developed countries based on three factors: site of death, health care utilization, and hospital spending. Aside from the U.S., the remaining six countries were Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Canada and Belgium.

This is the first systemic international comparison of healthcare for cancer patients at the end of their life. Researchers focused on cancer because it is the most expensive type of illness per patient, and is the second-leading cause of death in these seven countries.

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construction workerAsbestos is an internationally-recognized carcinogen, known to cause fatal forms of cancer in any amount of exposure. In 2006, the World Health Organization called for elimination of all asbestos uses. The International Commission on Occupational Health has also called for a global ban on the mining, sale, and use of all asbestos.

Our team of mesothelioma lawyers investigates why the United States has not yet banned asbestos, and the new surge in cancer diagnoses among young men and women exposed to the substance.

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thermometerOur team of lung cancer lawyers previously wrote about how hyperthermia – exposing parts of the body to very high temperatures – could increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments. In the three years since that post, scientists have been studying this treatment and developing new cancer drugs that are activated using heat.

Hyperthermia is also called thermotherapy or thermal therapy, and involves exposing areas of the body to temperatures up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Increasing body temperature to help kill disease has been used for centuries; only recently have we been able to seriously study the treatment and apply it to specific areas of the body, such as the lungs, and how to use it in combination with chemotherapy and radiation.

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pills on cashA cancer diagnosis is often among the most devastating news families receive. For particularly severe cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer, the effects of treatment can be debilitating not only physically and emotionally, but financially as well. Our team of mesothelioma lawyers has 30 years of experience advocating for lung cancer patients. Here, we highlight some of the financial issues families should address after diagnosis.

At Work

A recent study found that the average American adult diagnosed with cancer of any type will miss five weeks of work, with family income declining by 20%. Unfortunately, the numbers for patients fighting lung cancer or mesothelioma are likely much higher. Making matters worse, most companies in the United States have either no or very limited policies for sick leave, and there are few protections for patients diagnosed with cancer.

Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that most bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by illness. Most people are wholly unprepared for a cancer diagnosis and are thrust into the complex world of healthcare, insurance and disability policies.

The Family Medical Leave Act requires companies to provide job-protected and unpaid leave for certain medical and family circumstances. This includes 12 workweeks of leave in a one-year period for serious health conditions or to care for a spouse or parent with a serious condition. However, this Act applies only to employers that meet specific criteria, such as a private employer with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks. More information on this Act can be found here.

Human Resources departments may also offer short-term disability and early retirement as options.


Insurance coverage is very important when facing cancer treatment. Even with great coverage, out-of-pocket, high deductibles, or additional therapy costs may become burdensome. It is critical that you find out what you will be responsible for paying and what your particular plan covers before you begin any treatments.

Do not assume something will be paid for before making an appointment. One of the major flaws in our healthcare system is that each specialty, each test and treatment is billed separately. You must investigate and understand both your insurance policy and your treatment plan so you are prepared for what lies ahead.

It is often helpful to have one point of contact in your insurance company, ideally someone you feel you can trust, who will help you. It is not uncommon for cancer patients to have an appointed case manager or advocate, who works alongside the family for long-term or complex conditions. Social workers are also available for patients at hospitals or clinics.

Though paperwork is likely the last thing you want to worry about, it is a good idea to keep personal copies of your medical bills and records. You can request copies from the various hospitals, doctors offices or specialty clinics you’ve visited. Records you should keep include tests, treatment history, lab results, scan reports, prescriptions and nursing notes. Many of these can be placed on a CD for more efficient and organized record keeping.

In the same place you keep your medical records, also include copies of your healthcare proxy, medical directives, and do not resuscitate instructions.

All this can be overwhelming, intimidating and disconcerting, particularly for patients diagnosed in the later-stages of the disease. Our lung cancer lawyers help patients order and obtain their medical records, ensure all directives are state compliant, and can even help apply for social security disability. It is our job to take care of all the legal and technical details so you can focus on fighting your illness. We work exclusively on a contingency-fee basis, meaning our clients do not pay anything out-of-pocket, including requests for medical bills. We only get paid if we win you a settlement.

Our book, 100 Questions & Answers About Mesothelioma, is available to anyone free of charge. Just go to our website, fill out the contact form on the right, and we will ship a book to you without any obligation.

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x-ray lungIn an unusual move, the FDA recently announced its approval of a lung cancer drug, Tagrisso, under its fast-track program. The drug treats a specific type of lung cancer categorized by a genetic mutation that causes tumors to resist traditional therapies. Lung cancer lawyers at Pintas & Mullins discuss this new drug, the patients eligible to receive it, and it’s astronomically high cost below.

Tagrisso, manufactured by AstraZeneca, will cost $12,750 for a month’s supply. Financial experts project the drug to generate more than $1 billion in sales in 2020, though AstraZeneca expects peak sales of $3 billion per year. The company claims patients with adequate insurance will not pay more than $25 per month. If a patients’ insurance does not cover Tagrisso, the company will direct the individual to an organization that supports cancer patients.

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scientistThe lung cancer lawyers at Pintas & Mullins strive to keep our clients and blog up-to-date on the latest cancer research, treatments and development. We have written extensively on immunotherapy, the new and promising class of cancer treatments, and we are happy to report on several drugs being developed for lung cancer.

Big Pharma companies Pfizer and Merck KGaA recently started the second stage of a trial for the immunotherapy drug avelumab. This drug is now in its third and final phase of human testing, and will likely soon be submitted for FDA approval. Avelumab is being tested on newly-diagnosed lung cancer patients whose disease has worsened despite chemotherapy.

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CaterpillarPeoria-based construction vehicle company Caterpillar, or CAT, was recently hit with a $4.5 million jury verdict over its asbestos-containing products. The lawsuit was filed by the wife of a man diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Our team of mesothelioma lawyers details this case below.

Edwin Estenson was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2010 after working on and around asbestos-containing products for more than a decade. He filed suit against CAT and other companies in 2011, taping depositions describing his history with the company’s products, such as gaskets and other engine parts. Estenson worked as a construction worker and equipment maintenance foreman. He worked specifically with CAT products in the 1960s, before asbestos was federally banned.

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Nurse penCancer prehabilitation is a new term referring to medical care that may help newly diagnosed cancer patients prepare for their upcoming treatments. It occurs between the time cancer is diagnosed and the start of treatment. It includes psychological and physical assessments, with the ultimate goal of preventing or reducing long-term problems. Our team of lung cancer lawyers encourages patients to consider prehabilitation.

At the beginning of prehabilitation assessments determine baseline functional levels and identify impairments or anything the patient may need help with. From there, the medical team can provide interventions to promote physical and psychological health and identify best practices for each patient. This helps reduce the incidence and severity of future impairments, functional disabilities, pain, and emotional distress. Ultimately, prehab may reduce direct and indirect healthcare costs and improve patients’ quality of life.

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mesotheliomacxr_lA troubling trend has been confirmed in the United States and the United Kingdom: since 2008, the number of lung cancer patients who never smoked has more than doubled. Now, nonsmokers account for about 28% of all non-small cell lung cancer diagnoses, compared to just 13% six years earlier. Our team of lung cancer lawyers report on this study and the types of lung cancer claims we are currently accepting.

The study containing these findings was conducted at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer. Researchers found that women accounted for two-thirds of the nonsmokers diagnosed with lung cancer. Most of these patients had nonspecific symptoms when they were diagnosed, such as a cough or chest infections, and about 36% had no symptoms.

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