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WORLD CANCER DAY: REMEMBERING OUR LOVED ONES STRIKEN BY CANCER.

February 4 each year is set aside to reflect on those we know and love who have suffered from cancer.  Today is World Cancer Day.  We mourn for those who have been lost to such a terrible disease and we celebrate those that have survived. Above all, we pledge to fight on against the scourge that is cancer, whether it be mesothelioma, lung cancer, melanoma or any other form of cancer that can devastate families.  

At Fox & Farley, we’ve had the privilege of representing many different people over the years.  But among the most poignant cases we handle, however, are for families who have had a loved one struck with cancer as a result of exposure to toxic substances.  Unfortunately, the list of cancers connected to workplace exposures continues to grow.  Our clients have suffered from:

mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos;

multiple myeloma and myelodisplastic syndrome resulting from exposure to benzene; and

renal, lung and skin cancers resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation.  

I could go on with this list for a long time.  But the point is that we have far too many workers getting sick as a result of exposures to hazardous materials.  Unlike other injuries, when you know you’ve been hurt the moment it happens, cancers from toxic exposures often wait years or decades before showing up.  This can cause problems in seeking deserved compensation.

For example, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.  Many manufacturers who used asbestos in their products have declared bankruptcy and reorganized.  Recovery against these companies is often frought with roadblocks.  Similarly, pursuing claims for mesothelioma against your employer where you were exposed may be difficult or impossible if the employer went out of business years ago.  

Fortunately, there are avenues for recovery, including in tort lawsuits against manufacturers and their successors, against the trust fund created to compensate victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos related illnesses, against employers, and through the federal workers’ compensation programs (particularly if you were employed at a Dept. of Energy facility).

With a hat tip to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Program, I want to highlight some facts about asbestos:

FACT: Asbestos is legal and lethal in the USA.

FACT: Asbestos kills 30 Americans every day and imports continue.

FACT: Prevention remains the only cure.

FACT: There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

FACT: All six types of asbestos are carcinogenic.

FACT: Asbestos causes mesothelioma and lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers, as well as non-malignant lung and respiratory diseases.

On this day, World Cancer Day, we humbly recognize those among us who have battled cancer, and their loved ones that have supported them through such difficult times.  You are heroes to us all.    

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