September is Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma Awareness Month

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Leukemia Awareness Helps Increase Awareness of Diseases

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has announced that September is Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma Awareness Month. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services regarding symptoms, prognosis and treatment of leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The Society observes Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma Awareness Month to increase awareness of these diseases and to inform the public that there are resources available for blood cancer patients and their families.

As reported by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, medical research over the past 60 years has produced remarkable results in the treatment of blood cancers, no small part due to increased leukemia awareness and subsequently the awareness of lymphoma and myeloma. Improved therapies, including stem cell transplantation and new drugs, have greatly improved survival rates for blood cancer patients, and every day doctors and scientists make new headway in the treatment of symptoms for leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Still, today it is estimated that more than 750,000 people in the United States currently have some form of blood cancer, and more than 50,000 will die from one this year.

Leukemia and lymphoma are blood-related cancers that originate in the lymphatic system (lymphoma) or bone marrow (leukemia). Multiple myeloma, which is sometimes referred to as plasma cell myeloma, myeloma, or Kahler's disease, is a cancer that targets plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Leukemia is the general term used to describe four different types of blood cancers. The different disease types are classified into acute or chronic, and myelogenous or lymphocytic, depending on disease progression and cell type. The terms myelogenous or myeloid indicate that the cancer takes place in a type of marrow cell that normally forms red cells, some types of white cells and platelets. The terms lymphocytic or lymphoblastic indicate that the change occurs in a type of marrow cell that forms lymphocytes.

The most common types of leukemia in adults are acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In children, the most common form is acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) eventually develops into an acute form of leukemia which requires extensive treatment.

Lymphomas are classified as Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is the fifth most diagnosed cancer in the United States.

Multiple myeloma is most likely to occur in people over the age of fifty. Men are fifty percent more likely to develop the disease than women. The American Cancer Society estimates 44,240 new cases of leukemia and 71,380 new cases of lymphoma will be diagnosed in 2007.

Risk factors for leukemia and lymphoma include treatment chemotherapies used for certain types of cancer, radiation therapy, tobacco smoke and exposure to benzene. It has been observed that people who work in the leather, agriculture, or petroleum industry, or around heavy metals, plastics, asbestos or benzene, have a statistically higher chance of contracting multiple myeloma.

Benzene is a widely used chemical whose toxic properties have been documented for well over 100 years. It is a recognized cause of leukemia and has been implicated in other diseases of the blood, including Non-Hodgkins lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Awareness of leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma instigates us to look not only at treatment and prognosis details, but forces us to look at causes and how they can be prevented or minimized. Today, despite the overwhelming evidence of its toxic properties, more than 200,000 men and women are exposed to benzene at their jobs. Benzene is used to make plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers. It is also used to make photographic chemicals, rubber, dyes, lubricants, explosives, adhesives, paints, coatings, detergents, drugs and pesticides. Employees who work in an environment are legally entitled to be warned and educated about the presence of the chemical and to be made aware of the risks and symptoms of leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other diseases related to susceptibility to chemical toxins. Workers who are potentially exposed to dangerous levels of benzene include workers at facilities that make or use benzene, such as petroleum refineries, pharmaceutical plants, petrochemical manufacturing facilities, rubber tire manufacturing facilities, or gas stations. Other occupations that may involve dangerous exposures to benzene include firefighter, steel worker, printer, painter, shoemaker, laboratory technician or wood finisher. Epidemiology studies have demonstrated that workers in these and other occupations may be at increased risk for leukemia and other blood cancers due to exposure to benzene.

In addition, products that contain petroleum-based ingredients likely contain benzene as well, such as glues, gasoline, paints, wood finishing products, furniture wax, lubricants, detergent and petroleum-based solvents such as xylene, toluene and mineral spirits.

Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP ("LPK") has dedicated its law practice to raising public awareness about toxic exposure in the workplace and has fought for compensation from the devastating effects of these chemicals. In the case of leukemia, breathing the vapors of benzene is the primary route of exposure, however skin contact with benzene can also result in dangerous exposures. Benzene is rapidly distributed through the body where it accumulates in fatty tissue, bone marrow, central nervous system, liver, spleen and blood. Even the slightest exposure to benzene can cause changes in the blood ranging from a decrease in platelet count to severe blood disorders, such as aplastic anemia, a rapidly fatal disease. Treatments for these disorders, as well as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma can be painful and very costly.

A person who was exposed to benzene may have the right to monetary compensation for the pain and suffering, treatment and other medical expenses of leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma.

Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP ("LPK") is a leader in representing those who have suffered from serious health problems, including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma brought on by exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals. The New York benzene attorneys at LPK work with top experts in the field including experts in epidemiology, toxicology, industrial hygiene, hematology, occupational and preventative medicine and chemical engineering.

For further information on benzene exposure and leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, its treatments, lack of awareness due to misdiagnosis, or other blood related diseases, please visit lpklaw.com or contact Diane Paolicelli, a New York benzene lawyer at (212) 605-6200, or at dpaolicelli(at)lpklaw.com

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Jay Berkowitz
LPK Law
561-620-9121
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