Researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute found that cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma are not declining in spite of the various steps that have been taken to minimize exposure and better treat the cancer. Pennsylvania residents are no doubt aware that mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a carcinogenic material often found in old building materials like tiles, shingles and insulation.

When asbestos regulations were implemented several decades ago, epidemiologists predicted that there would be a decline in malignant pleural mesothelioma cases in the U.S. sometime after 2005. The reality, though, is that the incidence rate has remained steady. Another trend that remains steady is how 80% of those diagnosed are male. The cancer is being found in more of the elderly: Their number rose from 75% to 80%.

Improvements in medical technology and treatments have had some positive impact, though. More patients are receiving treatment (54% compared to 34%). Forty-seven percent of patients survive at least a year after treatment, which is up from 37%, and 15% survive at least three years whereas it was 9% in previous years. The improvements include multimodality therapies, patients being diagnosed at a younger age and a greater number of patients being treated in academic centers.

Despite the regulations, many people are exposed to asbestos. Workers renovating an old building, for example, could be exposed, especially if employers do not have the right safety procedures in place. Those who think they have good grounds for a mesothelioma-related claim against the party responsible for the asbestos exposure may want to see a lawyer. With a lawyer, they may strive for a reasonable settlement with the other side, a settlement that covers lost wages, pain and suffering and medical expenses both past and future.