80% of cases due to exposure to asbestos: some workers risk more. Useful tools to determine which tests and therapies are needed in the various stages of the disease. Rare, but still often lethal, malignant pleural mesothelioma remains a very difficult “big killer” to cure. During the work of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) congress, the specialists of the major international scientific societies, meeting recently in Madrid, however, presented the new guidelines on this pathology, which in clinical practice provide the necessary tools for all doctors to be able to to best and homogeneously treat patients, using the experience of the most competent researchers in the world.
Guidelines: Which tests and which therapies are needed in the various stages
Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive neoplasm that affects the mesothelium, a fibrous membrane that covers various organs and structures including the lungs and the internal part of the rib cage (pleura), the heart (pericardium), the intestine (peritoneum) and the testicles. The joint effort of 30 researchers (divided between pulmonologists, oncologists, thoracic surgeons, radiotherapists and pathologists) served to develop these indications, who analyzed the studies conducted in the literature and, following specific scientific criteria, have summed up what is best for those who get sick with this tumor. The result is these recommendations, which indicate which tests and therapies are most suitable in the various stages of the disease “.
In some countries 1,800 new cases of malignant mesothelioma every year
“In some countries about 1,800 cases of malignant mesothelioma are diagnosed every year: 80 percent of cases are due to exposure to asbestos or asbestos, although fortunately only 5 percent of people who have repeatedly come into contact with asbesto falls ill – underlines Giorgio Scagliotti, director of Oncology at the University of Turin and president of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (Ialsc) -. Although the use of asbestos in Many countries has been prohibited since 1992, the peak incidence of mesothelioma has not yet been reached because the latency period between exposure to possible risk factors and the appearance of the tumor is around 20-40 years”. The incidence is particularly high in some regions, Other high-risk areas are found in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the Monfalcone and Trieste areas, and in Bari for the presence of shipyards and factories where asbestos was used . However, the world situation is alarming: the use of asbestos is currently banned in only 55 countries around the world, with 125 million workers, according to WHO, currently still exposed to asbestos annually.
Some workers risk more
This mineral is still present in large quantities and in various forms in factories and buildings, public and private, in all our Regions and it is essential to speed up the remediation times of contaminated sites, which can only be carried out by specialized personnel – continues Scagliotti -. Furthermore, surveillance of people most exposed to the risk of getting sick, that is the former workers of the factories that produced or treated asbestos, must be improved. The most commonly affected professional figures are: workers in shipbuilding and construction sites, workers in companies of automotive mechanics, insulating materials, pipes and installation of heating systems. Specific controls are provided for all these categories with the aim of identifying mesothelioma in the early stages: unfortunately, in fact, still today most of the diagnoses are late, when the disease is already at an advanced stage and the therapeutic options are limited.