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Lung cancer

How Depression Impacts Survival Time for Lung Cancer Patients

mesothelioma_treatmentAfter people are diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease, it is understandable that they would develop depression. This is not a run-of-the-mill case of the blues, but a persistent feeling of despair, hopelessness and inability to enjoy life that can prevent someone from taking part in the world around him or her.

Patients who have lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure are also at risk of depression. If this condition is not addressed effectively, patients may find it difficult to maintain personal relationships or engage in everyday activities.

Additionally, if depression interferes with an individual’s commitment to medical treatment, his or her illness may progress quickly.

At Kazan Law, we want to make sure all of your needs – physical, emotional and mental – are taken care of. When you are undergoing treatment for lung cancer resulting from exposure to asbestos, it is important to be aware of whether or not you have developed depression so you can treat it properly.

What causes depression?
Experts from the National Cancer Institute estimate that 25 percent of cancer patients develop depression. Certain factors can make some individuals more vulnerable than others. These variables can be divided between those that are related to the cancer, and those that are not.

Those that are linked to the disease include:

  • Pain that is not well-controlled.
  • A case of advanced illness.
  • Physical weakness.
  • Certain types of medication.

Factors independent of the disease are:

  • A personal or family history of depression.
  • A weak social support system.
  • Stress caused by other events in life not related to the cancer.

Depression hurts quality of life
One team of scientists from Mexico decided to investigate the effects of depression on individuals who had advanced cases of non-small cell lung cancer. Specifically, they wanted to know how depression and anxiety impacted the prognosis, treatment adherence and health-related quality of life (HRQL).

For their study, the researchers enrolled 82 subjects diagnosed with stage IIIB or stage IV disease. All participants underwent a series of psychiatric health assessments before treatment, then again at the three-month and six-month marks following the initiation of treatment. In order to record treatment adherence, the scientists kept track of how many clinical consultations the patients missed.

Results showed that approximately 33 and 34 percent of subjects had depression and anxiety, respectively. Depression was more likely among females and those who had poor performance status.

Other results showed that subjects who were depressed had a median survival time of 6.8 months, compared to 14 months for those who did not experience depression. Additionally, 58 percent of depressed subjects had poor treatment adherence, while the same was true for only 42 percent of non-depressed patients.

“Depression and anxiety were present in one-third of patients with recently diagnosed NSCLC. Depression and anxiety were associated with decreased HRQL scales, and depression was independently associated with treatment adherence and with poor prognosis,” the researchers wrote in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

There is help for depression
The Environmental Working Group estimates that lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure claims the lives of 4,800 individuals in the U.S. every year. That figure is expected to increase during the next 10 years or so.

These trends underscore the importance of identifying and treating depression effectively among lung cancer patients.

Experts from the NCI say that if you have a hard time accepting your cancer status after a long time following your diagnosis or lose interest in activities that were once enjoyable, you may have depression. You should immediately discuss these symptoms with your healthcare team.

Once your doctors are aware of your condition, they may recommend counseling or medication. Remember that depression remedies, whether they are prescribed or bought over the counter, can interact with your cancer therapy and should only be used under the supervision of your healthcare team.

Asbestos Compensation Sought for Former UM Football Player’s Death

Ann Arbor City Hall

The Guy C. Larcom, Jr. Municipal Building houses the Ann Arbor City Hall and Police Station

A former University of Michigan football player and Ann Arbor policeman claimed before his lung cancer death that asbestos exposure at city hall caused his disease.

Vada Murray played safety for the Wolverines from 1988 to 1990 and then became a policeman in the college town, according to AnnArbor.com.

Murray was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 and died at the age of 43 in early April after the disease spread to his brain.

Before he died, Murray filed a worker’s compensation claim, contending that his lung cancer was a result of his exposure to asbestos and radon in Ann Arbor’s city hall.

Rough Conditions at Work

In an interview recorded before his death, Murray, who never smoked cigarettes, explained the conditions that police officers in Ann Arbor had to deal with.

“Some guys used to get so mad, because, you know, stuff was leaking on them,” he said. “They’d take their nightsticks and jab at [the roof], and it would just come crumbling down. Water dripping down the wall. There were pipes with stuff around them that you wouldn’t – you wouldn’t want to touch.”

Many police officers believed that the “stuff” was asbestos. In addition, city records indicate that the levels of radon in the basement and in parts of the first floor where police officers worked were seven times higher than the federal limit.

Asbestos Poses Grave Risks

It has been known since the mid-1960s that exposure to asbestos causes serious diseases. In addition to lung cancer, exposure to the naturally occurring mineral, which was once used as a flame retardant and insulator, can cause asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer.

The World Health Organization estimates that such illnesses claim the lives of 107,000 people each year around the world.

Murray’s Family Awaits Opinion

AnnArbor.com reports that a Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency judge will issue an opinion on the case, but as of yet no trial date has been scheduled.

An attorney told the news source that the damages in the case would be to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Murray Missed by Many

The Detroit Free Press reports that hundreds of people turned out for Murray’s memorial service, which was held in Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor.

“He was so much more than a football player,” Sarah, Murray’s wife, said. “Our love for him had very little to do with his football career. He was a father, husband, son and a friend.”

More innovations in the Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer kills 1.3 million people a year and is the leading cause of cancer death world wide. Nearly 220,000 men and women were diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States in 2009, with nearly 160,000 Americans dying from the disease. For years, researchers have been seeking a way to detect lung cancer at its early stages, when it is most treatable. Last year we reported on an electronic nose developed in Israel that used nanoparticles to sniff out organic compounds in lung cancer, facilitating early diagnosis. Now there is a another technique poised to change the way lung cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Super Dimension , a private company based in Israel, has developed a comprehensive, advanced lung navigation system called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB). First developed in 2005, it is now used in over 275 hospitals worldwide, and has facilitated diagnosis in over 15,000 patients.

Continue reading

More innovations in the Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer kills 1.3 million people a year and is the leading cause of cancer death world wide. Nearly 220,000 men and women were diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States in 2009, with nearly 160,000 Americans dying from the disease. For years, researchers have been seeking a way to detect lung cancer at its early stages, when it is most treatable. Last year we reported on an electronic nose developed in Israel that used nanoparticles to sniff out organic compounds in lung cancer, facilitating early diagnosis. Now there is a another technique poised to change the way lung cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Super Dimension , a private company based in Israel, has developed a comprehensive, advanced lung navigation system called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB). First developed in 2005, it is now used in over 275 hospitals worldwide, and has facilitated diagnosis in over 15,000 patients.

Continue reading

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