Guest Blog: Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma cancer is a rare and very serious disease caused typically by long-time, long-ago occupational exposure to asbestos.

It strikes mostly seniors, often turning a well-planned retirement upside down for patients and their families.

Although there is no definitive cure, recent treatment advances and better diagnostics have allowed mesothelioma specialists to take a more curative approach if the cancer is caught before it has metastasized.

Mesothelioma is no longer viewed as the death sentence it was a decade ago. Surgeries have become more advanced; chemotherapy drugs are more personalized; and radiation is more precise.

Gene therapy, immunotherapy and a variety of clinical trials with the latest advances in medicine are available to provide hope where once there was none.

“When hope is part of the equation, anything is possible,” said mesothelioma specialist and thoracic surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker, director of the Lung Institute at the Baylor College of Medicine. “I remain optimistic that we can put together the right combination of patients and treatments to effect a cure.”

A Rare, Aggressive Cancer

Mesothelioma is diagnosed in only 3,000 people annually in the United States – compared to 220,000 with lung cancer – and usually after the age 60, primarily because of a long latency period (20-50 years) between asbestos exposure and obvious symptoms.

It begins with the inhalation or ingestion of the toxic asbestos fibers. They can become lodged in the membrane around the lungs or the abdomen, cause inflammation and eventually scarring, which can lead to a myriad of serious problems, including asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma, which starts in the thoracic cavity, is the most common. Peritoneal mesothelioma, in the abdominal cavity, is responsible for 25 percent of the cases and typically comes with a better prognosis.

Because this cancer is rare, it’s vital to find a specialist who treats it regularly and understands its intricacies. Many doctors, including some oncologists, rarely see it, taking a more nihilistic approach to treatment.

A specialist can devise a personalized, multidisciplinary approach that may extend survival time considerably.

While the majority of patients live less than 18 months after diagnosis, and many receive only palliative care, some patients today are living three, four or five years beyond their life expectancies with the latest treatments.

Early symptoms will include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest discomfort, muscle soreness and a lingering dry cough. As the cancer progresses, those problems will intensify.

Advice for Patients and Families

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with this crippling cancer, some advice to follow:

  • Find a specialty center. This will improve greatly your odds of surviving.
  • Explore clinical trials. This is where you will find the latest, cutting-edge therapies.
  • Stay engaged. Don’t try to fight this alone. Lean on family and friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Be active. Force yourself to exercise daily. Get up and walk, even when treatments wear you down.
  • Join a support group specifically for mesothelioma. Other patients and families can become a wealth of information. It will take away the feeling of isolation.

Always remember to be aggressive in your approach to treatment. Ask for second opinions and get answers. Discuss various treatment options with your doctors.

For many patients, the power of prayer is crucial to their survival. Don’t discount it.

Also remind yourself to eat well and learn what foods feed the cancer, and what foods the cancer doesn’t like.

Above all, surround yourself with positive people.

Tim Povtak is a content writer for The Mesothelioma Center and Asbestos.com, an informational source for mesothelioma patients and families.

Caring for an ALS Patient

 

What is ALS?  It is commonly referred to as the Lou Gehrig’s disease, amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is the neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is also the debilitating disorder of the motor nerves which rapidly causes progressive muscle weakness and spasms.

According to the ALS Association, most people with ALS are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70, with some rare cases of people in their twenties and thirties. Most ALS patients live for 3 to 5 years after after diagnosis. However about 10% also get the chance to live for 10 years or more.

Approximately 6,000 people are diagnosed every year and this diagnosis occur around the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries where anyone can be affected. Few signs and symptoms of ALS include :

  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing,speaking and breathing.
  • Keeping a good posture and difficulty holding one’s head up.
  • Tripping and falling.
  • Trouble with activities of daily living.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Uncontrollable periods of laughing and crying.
  • Muscle cramps and twitches.

River Oaks Homecare is committed to stepping in with round the clock hands on non-medical care. We are here to relieve families who are the caregivers, making sure our ALS clients are well taken care of.

We are dedicated to helping seniors continue to experience the richness of life. Call us today – 267-755-7500.

River Oaks Homecare

River Oaks Homecare provides patient advocacy services which help families navigate the many senior care choices and community programs such as Alzheimer’s care, Home care, retirement communities, Assisted living, Medicaid and other senior care options.

We offer free initial counseling and assessment visit to help determine the appropriate level of care and what type is right for you.

There are so many options to consider when someone you love needs help. Together we will create the solution that’s just right for you.

Our office is located at – 325 Sentry parkway building 5W Suite 200   Blue-Bell PA 19422.

    

Elder Abuse And Neglect.

Elder abuse and neglect is very common in our society and around us, unfortunately due to the fact that little or no awareness is made about it to the public and our society in general, it makes it tough for us to see even when it’s happening close to home and around us. It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that most of this abuse and neglect occur within the family on a larger scale.

An abuse is the intentional cause of any physical injury inflicted on the consumer. Also, it is the unnecessary isolation or confinement of anyone as a punishment. Abuse can also be in the form of intimidation and also neglect.

Neglect is the failure to provide individuals with the most basic needs such as : Food , Water and Cleanliness. Neglect can also be when a caregiver fails to provide care and also to  keep the consumer from  physical and emotional harm.

Financial Abuse is another form of abuse that occurs with our seniors and this happens with the misappropriation of their properties, stealing their saved up money or cajoling them to sign documents and papers to favor them. Other kinds of abuse perpetrated to Seniors include: Verbal Abuse, Emotional Abuse and sexual abuse.

If you happen to live close by any senior, be on the alert to see if you suspect that there’s any form of abuse, depression or fear.You can also report any suspicious incident to the nearest county’s Aging and Adult services representative.

Physical Changes of Aging: Loss Of Hearing.

Hearing loss is another physical change that seniors experience. Approximately one in three seniors between the ages of 55 – 74 have hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Also, research shows that men are more likely to have hearing loss than women. Having hearing loss issues can disrupt a lot of activities of daily living for seniors, it can take away independence and the ability to socialize with friends and family. It can greatly impact communication and functional ability as well.

Hearing disorders can also disrupt the balance in the inner ear, which will likely lead to a fall, causing serious injuries.

Causes of Hearing Loss:

  • Hearing loss occurs due to old age. Age related hearing loss, most often occurs in both ears gradually.
  • Lifetime exposure to loud noise. A very good example are people whose career paths have been Factory workers, Construction workers, Airport workers, Musicians etc. Working in professions like these can over the years build up issues with loss of hearing.
  • Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections.
  • A severe head injury or brain injury can also affect hearing.
  • Genes can also play a role.

Treatment Options are :

  • The use of a hearing aid.
  • Assistive listening devices.
  • Surgical Implants.
  • Lip or speech reading and sign language.

Hearing Loss if left untreated could lead to deafness and seniors who do not address their hearing loss put their lives at risk for example if a senior is unable to hear emergency warnings such as car horns or smoke alarms.
It is advisable for seniors to have their hearing tested at least once a year to prevent avoidable injuries.