Why I don’t worry much about asbestos
January 1st, 2017 by Holly Cornish
There’s a cancer out there we’ve all heard of, but not in the usual ways. You’re probably familiar with this type of cancer – mesothelioma — because of lawyers trolling for clients by way of radio and TV commercials, or headlines around the country about class action suits.
Even though asbestos — the substance that causes this type of cancer – is no longer being used industrially, large amounts of it are still around, and many people who were exposed to asbestos in their workplaces decades ago are still suffering the consequences.
What is mesothelioma? And for that matter, what’s asbestos? And is this cancer scare everything it’s cracked up to be?
Sneak preview: The majority of people exposed to asbestos never develop mesothelioma. And among those who do get it, the disease is diagnosed on average nearly fifty years after asbestos exposure.
Breast Cancer Survivor was told:
Doctors didn’t give Wiltrude much hope when they diagnosed her with cancer in the year 2000. Wiltrude, a German psychologist, never thought cancer would happen to her. But it did. And it came as a big shock.
One doctor told her, “You’ll be dead in a year.” Late stage breast cancer is virtually incurable using conventional treatments. Even M.D.s admit it. They talk about “buying you more time.” (Don’t count on it. The evidence shows you’re better off doing nothing than chemo.)
When Wiltrude told her doctor she was going to try alternative treatments, he said, “You are committing suicide with what you’re doing.” But she was determined to find a way to beat her cancer.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this European woman came across a book by my good friend Bill Henderson, who passed away recently after a long, useful life of helping cancer patients. Bill was one of the smartest and wisest people I ever knew when it comes to cancer treatment.
She tried Bill’s top, number one recommendation — a gentle treatment you can do at home for just $5.15 a day. What’s more, the cost goes down to $3.50 after six weeks because you just need a maintenance dose. And it even tastes good.
Not only has Wiltrude passed the five-year cancer survival mark, she’s survived for 12 years. We just interviewed her recently for this publication. The radiologist who tests her every year told her, “You’re the only one with this kind of result.”
You can find out more about Bill’s proven cancer treatment plan if you click here.
When I asked him about some of the treatments that top alternative doctors use, Bill sort of shrugged and said, “They’re fine, but why bother? My treatment works, you can do it yourself, and it costs practically nothing.”
During his lifetime he coached thousands of cancer patients with all different types and stages of cancer. Most of the people who follow the detailed, specific plan in this Special Report get over their cancer and live for years.
“Almost any kind of cancer is reversible,” Bill used to say. “I never give up on anyone.”
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that naturally occurs in rock and soil. It’s very strong and resistant to heat and fire, making it the perfect choice for use in building construction materials and manufactured goods like roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, insulation, car brakes and transmission parts, heat-resistant fabrics and the like.
Back when I was a kid, asbestos was the preferred way to fireproof just about anything.
But this “perfect” material came with one major drawback that no one realized until much too late.
Workers exposed to asbestos fibers developed mesothelioma, a rare and hard-to-treat cancer that affects the mesothelium, or lining around lungs, heart and abdomen.
Four kinds of mesothelioma
About 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma of all types.1 That makes it rare. Most of us have nothing to worry about.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, and therefore has benefited from the most research. It’s caused by breathing in the fine asbestos fibers — they become lodged in the pleura, the mesothelium around the lungs.
The fibers are so tiny that the body can’t expel them. They stay in the mesothelium indefinitely and can eventually cause inflammation and scarring. This damages cells’ DNA, causing it to mutate and, in certain cases, grow tumors.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Painful cough
- Wheezing and/or rattling when breathing
- Reduced ability to take a deep breath and expand the chest2
The same symptoms are typical of a lot of other lung ailments. In many cases, people confuse pleural mesothelioma symptoms with common respiratory illnesses. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos tell your doctor, especially if you experience any of these symptoms.
To clarify, pleural mesothelioma is not lung cancer. The two types are distinct in that pleural mesothelioma starts as tumors in the lining of the lungs, and is almost always attributed to asbestos inhalation years before.
Lung cancer, which is extremely common compared to mesothelioma, can be caused by a variety of risk factors, including cigarette smoking. The tumors begin and spread in the lung tissue, not the lining.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by swallowing asbestos fibers, which then get lodged in the peritoneum, the protective lining of the abdominal cavity. This is basically the big sac that holds most of your organs.
The peritoneum is rich with blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and connective tissue to support all the organs contained within the abdomen, such as the kidneys, liver, spleen, intestines and pancreas.
When years of lodged fibers compromise the peritoneum, the victim may experience symptoms such as. . .
- Loss of appetite followed by weight loss
- Build-up of fluid in the abdomen
- Swelling and tenderness in the abdomen
- A sense of being too full, without having eaten
- Bowel obstruction.3
Pericardial mesothelium affects the pericardium, the thin lining around the heart. It can be caused by either inhalation or ingestion.
Only about one percent of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases are of this type (fewer than 50 people a year). It’s extremely difficult to treat because the pericardium is so close to the heart. The standard treatment is surgical removal of the pericardium.
Symptoms of this type of mesothelioma include:
- Chest pains
- Fluid build-up around the heart
- Heart murmurs
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)4
Testicular mesothelioma affects the lining of the testicles and is also very rare. Less than one percent of diagnosed cases are of this type each year.
Because it’s so rare, scientists haven’t conducted a great deal of research on it, but it’s believed this type of mesothelioma is not caused by asbestos exposure.
In testicular mesothelioma, the symptoms include a lump or lumps in one or both of the testicles.
Options for treatment of mesothelioma
The conventional treatment for mesothelioma is surgery when possible, plus chemotherapy and/or radiation. Since it’s aggressive and difficult to treat, aggressive therapies have been the traditional route. I hope it’s obvious that nontoxic alternatives are probably a better choice, but that’s not my main subject today.
Research is showing success with several types of nontraditional treatment for mesotheliomas. These include:
Gene Therapy: Numerous studies have experimented with gene manipulation and virus vaccines to treat pleural (i.e. lung) mesothelioma.5 A 2005 study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research treated 21 patients with a single intrapleural dose of adenovirus herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase/ ganciclovir.
The theory is that the injection would trigger apoptosis (natural cell death) in the tumors. The treatment was well-tolerated in the patients and resulted in long-term antibody responses to the tumor in two patients – not an impressive rate of success.6 More research needs to be done; perhaps the technique can be refined and improved.
Photodynamic Therapy: In this type of treatment the tumor is injected with a solution that makes the tissue more sensitive to light; the cancer tissue is then exposed to light to trigger cell death. This treatment works well in conjunction with a pleurectomy, removal of the affected pleura, to prevent having to remove part of the lung as well.7
Cryotherapy involves using cold temperatures to shrink tumors. It’s been employed against other kinds of cancer and is being tested for use against mesothelioma. A 2013 study found that localized treatment of pleural mesothelioma following surgery was safe, effective and improved overall survival rates by about three years.8
The success of both conventional and alternative treatments is largely dependent on the stage in which the mesothelioma is diagnosed. Patients in stages 1 and 2 have a fairly good chance of survival.
By Stage 3 and 4, however, the prognosis is poor and life expectancy is short. Patients in these late stages usually receive palliative care to make them more comfortable, rather than all-out treatments to beat the cancer.
How worried should you be about asbestos?
Even though industrial use of asbestos has been phased out, mesothelioma cases continue to be reported because this type of cancer can take decades to develop.
One study of cases of pleural mesothelioma in the Trieste-Monfalcone area of Italy found that latency periods ranged from 14 to 72 years (the average period being 48.7 years between asbestos exposure and death from mesothelioma).9
Asbestos mines are no longer in operation in the United States, but people living near them continue to develop the disease, probably because large amounts of fine asbestos dust were released into the area – or because local people worked in the mines.
While people with long-term exposure to asbestos are at the highest risk of developing various types of mesothelioma, even short-term exposure can increase a person’s risk.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the majority of people who have been exposed to asbestos do not develop mesothelioma at all. Genetic makeup and other factors play a role in a person’s risk for developing this rare cancer.
If you live in an older home or work in an old building that has asbestos materials, you are not at risk of exposure unless the building is being renovated without proper precautions. Being near asbestos isn’t the problem, it’s inhaling and swallowing the miniscule fibers that can lead to complications later in life.
This means there was little reason for the panic over the last 30 or 40 years to remove every last trace of asbestos from buildings (such as schools or hospitals). When embedded in tiles, bricks, or even insulation, asbestos poses little or no danger. It’s the dust that gets into tissue and makes people sick.
Those buildings should have been evaluated for the presence of asbestos dust or particles in the air or on the floors. If no dust was found, the buildings could have been safely left alone.
The movement to gut tens of thousands of buildings to remove asbestos materials released more asbestos dust into the environment than would ever have been the case if the buildings had been left alone. It also was a huge boondoggle that wasted billions of dollars while contributing nothing to public health.
It gave rise to a vast “asbestos remediation” industry which largely employed illegal immigrants to do this dirty and dangerous work.
The real culprit in mesothelioma
Another important but little-known fact about asbestos exposure is that smoking tobacco vastly increases your risk. A person who was exposed to asbestos AND is (or ever was) a smoker is many times more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma.
I was unable to find precise statistics on this, but it may be that MOST mesothelioma patients were smokers, and that it’s pretty rare for a non-smoker who was exposed to asbestos to get sick from it. (Remember, mesothelioma is rare anyway, for smokers and non-smokers alike.)
In view of the smoking connection, the mass hysteria and all the asbestos lawsuits are misguided. What they’ve mostly done is enrich a legion of lawyers with doubtful ethics. It’s known that some of these lawyers worked in cahoots with dishonest doctors to certify patients as having asbestos-related mesothelioma.
The mesothelioma-lawsuit industry is one of the worst abuses in our dysfunctional justice system.
The lawsuits are based on the premise that all industries should have instantly stopped the use of asbestos as soon it was known to cause disease. They are therefore liable for the people who got sick.
I completely agree that, once the dangers were known, some workers should have been required to take precautions such as wearing filter masks over mouth and nose, and perhaps changing clothes and showering at the end of the day before leaving the workplace. The failure of employers to protect these workers is inexcusable and they should be held to account. But having said that, I doubt if there was a need to outlaw asbestos as such.
Anyone who reads this newsletter is aware that I’m a crusader against carcinogens. But based on what I’ve just told you, I don’t think asbestos ranks as a very significant carcinogen. And we should also consider the lives, maybe numbering in the hundreds of thousands, that were saved as a result of fireproofing things with asbestos at a time when it was the best-known material for doing that.
Add to that the fact that, if you don’t smoke, the danger is nearly nonexistent, and. . .well, I take a dim view of those lawyers who have exploited this matter.
It seems that cancer is destined to be a source of wealth for a lot of people. But not for the cancer victims and their families.
A small worry, but take care if you were exposed
Some segments of the population are still considered to be at risk of asbestos exposure, such as shipyard, power plant, chemical plant and construction workers.
If you worked in one of these fields decades ago, you should carefully monitor your health. If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, do not pass them off as a cold or ignore them. See your doctor immediately.
If it is mesothelioma, the earlier you address the situation the better off you are.
And, of course, if you’re a smoker, stop at once.
No matter what kind of cancer you’ve got, or fear you might get, blueberries are a powerful weapon against it. For the latest exciting discoveries about this super-fruit, check out the article below. . .
This Little Berry is Super-Sized
When It Comes to Nutrition
The best way to fight cancer is to eat the foods that improve your odds of never getting cancer in the first place.
But even if you do get cancer, researchers are finding that, remarkably, many of the fruits and vegetables that help the body prevent cancer are also useful in fighting cancer once it starts.
In short, it’s never too late to beat cancer by eating right. And here’s one of the very best foods you can turn to. . .
Native American Grandmother’s
Blueberries are tiny, but they’re supersized when it comes to nutrients. On top of that, they taste good. There’s no sacrifice or self-denial involved in eating this “health food.”
Personally, I eat them four or five times a week. That’s probably extreme, but what can I say? I like them. The average American only eats 22 ounces of them a year. But that’s way up from 20 years ago.
This food is a powerful medicine
In some of the most current studies on the blueberry’s anti-cancer benefits, researchers have found that natural compounds in blueberries can go after cancer cells and keep them from “migrating” – spreading into the body’s lymph system and invading other organs.
Some of the research has focused on liver cancer, a nasty, often fatal disease that’s the second most common cause of cancer death in the world.1 When scientists in Asia took a close look at how the compounds in blueberries – including the natural pigments that make them blue – can interfere with the growth and spread of liver cancer cells, they produced promising results.2
ln their report on lab tests of blueberry juice, they point out that three major classes of blueberries’ natural chemicals can help the body resist cancer:3
- Anthocyanins: A main component of blueberries (providing its blue color) that may slow or prevent the development of breast cancer and could be used as therapy for breast tumors after they appear.4 (For a large, rich dose of anthocyanins, you might want to consider a supplement called TheraFlex.)
- Pterostilbene: An antioxidant that fights colon and breast cancer as well as other malignancies by hindering the growth of tumors, hampering the metastatic spread of cancer cells and increasing cancer cell death via apoptosis (programmed cellular self-destruction).5 Our sister company, Green Valley Natural Solutions, also produces a supplement called Genesis that contains a clinical dose of pterostilbene.
- Ellagic acid: A compound that protects DNA from being harmfully modified and helps cells fix DNA that has been damaged.6
The study on blueberry juice, which contains all three of these chemicals, showed it was effective at containing liver cancer and potentially preventing the disease from becoming life-threatening.
Reduces risk of skin cancer
An international group of researchers, including scientists at the University of Arizona, have similarly found that substances in blueberries can help fight skin cancer. And they note that these natural chemicals are especially important for combating melanoma, a dangerous type of cancer that starts in the skin cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color.
The Arizona U. researchers point out that developing this type of answer for melanoma “is crucial in order to successfully treat this aggressive cancer form.”
Their research focuses on the polyphenol called quercetin, a plant-based antioxidant that is also found in apples, onions, and other fruits and vegetables as well as in blueberries. Quercetin, they say, sets off what they call signaling cascades – chemical reactions in cells that impede the formation of skin cancer tumors.
In addition, quercetin selectively targets melanoma cells – while leaving normal cells unaffected – and makes them more vulnerable to apoptosis — while also blocking them from developing resistance to anti-cancer drug treatment.7
Among the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables, quercetin has been found to possess the most potent antioxidative power for protecting both cell membranes and genetic material from cancer-promoting damage.8
Paradoxically, though, researchers have been intrigued to find that as quercetin levels increase in cells, the chemical can become a pro-oxidant, causing oxidative damage instead of preventing it. But that’s a good thing, too, because it doesn’t seem to harm normal cells. The research suggests high quercetin levels cause oxidative damage only to cancer cells, leading them to “commit suicide” by way of apoptosis.9
Quercetin’s pro-oxidant effects have been shown to zap colon and liver cancer cells as well as skin cancer.
Sunscreen in a berry
The blueberry’s preventive power against cancer also includes another substance that helps protect the skin. This chemical, called ursolic acid, helps skin cells fend off damage caused by sunburns and toxins in the environment.
According to researchers at Rutgers, ursolic acid produces important epigenetic effects – altering the behavior of a cell’s gene activity – in ways that help a cell keep its own antioxidant defenses strong and prevent cancerous changes. The studies at Rutgers also indicate that ursolic acid puts a damper on the release of enzymes in cells that would otherwise reduce their ability to quell free radicals.10
Plus, it’s pleasing to find that the epigenetic benefits of ursolic acid don’t stop at fighting cancer-causing free radical damage. Studies at the University of Iowa show that this nutrient in blueberries has anti-aging effects, putting a stop to genetic action that weakens and shrinks muscles as we get older.
In a lab test on animals, the Iowa scientists found that ursolic acid could stop age-related muscle atrophy and weakness within two months. It both increased the size of muscles by 10 percent and pumped up muscle strength by a whopping 30 percent.11
Ursolic acid does this by interfering with the action of a protein in muscle cells called transcription factor ATF4. As you get older, you’re more susceptible to having ATF4 restrict muscle growth and make you frail.
“Many of us know from our own experiences that muscle weakness and atrophy are big problems as we become older,” says Christopher Adams, M.D., a member of the Iowa team. “These problems have a major impact on our quality of life and health.” I want to add that this particular study, involving animals, needs confirmation by a human study.
Not to worry: there are so many proven benefits of blueberries, this muscle-building feature of ursolic acid is just icing on the cake. So if you’re trying to stay stronger and healthier as you age, blueberries should be in your diet.
I like to eat mine raw, but cooked seems to be okay for keeping the benefits intact – although researchers differ over this.
But whatever your blueberry preference, don’t buy a blueberry donut and think you’re consuming real berries. A recent lawsuit against donut makers pointed out that blueberry-flavored donuts sold at retail outlets only contain taste bud-deceiving, lab-concocted blueberry flavoring. There’s not a trace of real blueberry in them.