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SMART treatment offers new hope to mesothelioma victims

Mesothelioma is an especially lethal form of lung cancer that is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. In North Carolina, many workers contract the disease after exposure to asbestos in the workplace, either after working directly with asbestos, like maritime workers and steam fitters, or after ingesting the fibers that insulate pipes and other industrial equipment when the fibers become dislodged and enter the atmosphere.

A new treatment technique called "SMART" -- Surgery for Mesothelioma after Radiation Therapy -- is offering new hope for mesothelioma victims. The regimen uses radiation therapy before surgery to prevent the cancer cells from spreading during the surgery. The three-year survival rate for patients receiving this treatment more than doubled, from 32% to 72@.

The SMART treatment is good news for those persons afflicted with this disease, but it is not the end of the story. The law provides an effective remedy for workers who have contracted mesothelioma (and other asbestos-related diseases) from exposure to asbestos fibers. In many cases, claims can be made against the $30 billion fund established by Congress, but other claims must be made against the manufacturer or other entity at fault for the exposure.

In either case, an attorney experienced in handling asbestos exposure claims can be invaluable. An experienced attorney can help a victim obtain a reliable disease diagnosis and find high quality medical care. The lawyer can then file claims against all of the manufacturers whose products may have played a role in the exposure. An attorney who has handled these claims will have a comprehensive list of such manufacturers, most of whom are not known to the victim.

Any North Carolina residents who believe that they have been exposed to asbestos fibers at any time should consult an attorney with experience in handling claims against manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. Victims not only have new treatment options like SMART, but they have legal options to pursue as well.

Source: Health Day News, "Radiation Before Surgery May Improve Survival From Rare Lung Cancer," Jan. 23, 2014

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