Saturday, March 25, 2017

Monsanto Faces Hundreds of New Cancer Lawsuits

Soon after a California judge required a cancer warning to be displayed on the popular weedkiller, Roundup, in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Monsanto is suddenly finding itself knee deep in cancer lawsuits. The lawsuits are being filed over the health risks associated with glyphosate, a chemical classified by the WTO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a “probable human carcinogen.”

The new round of lawsuits was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court last week by Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, a law firm based in Los Angeles. It was filed on behalf of “136 plaintiffs from across the country who allege that exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” Additionally, the firm has also filed similar lawsuits in Alameda County, California, Superior Court on behalf of 40 people who “allege that exposure to the herbicide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

According to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a co-counsel in the lawsuit, the law firm decided to file the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs “to address the injuries that have been caused by Roundup and glyphosate to mainly farmers and farm workers, but we think that consumers and home gardeners have also been affected.”

Plaintiffs from both cases are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death and personal injuries against Monsanto, according to EcoWatch. Other defendants include Osborn & Barr Communications, Inc. and Osborn & Barr Holdings, Inc of St. Louis, Missouri, and Wilbur Ellis Company, LLC of San Francisco, California.

With this latest round of lawsuits, the number of cancer claims that have been filed in federal courts against the agriculture giant is more than 700! And that number is expected to continue climbing. Kennedy even suggested that “claims could increase to 3,000 in the next few months” in light of the new cancer warnings being displayed on Roundup.

However, the lawsuits aren’t just sounding the alarm on the cancer risk associated with Roundup. It’s also shining a light on the corruption that exists throughout Monsanto. For example, just last week, “a federal judge in San Francisco unsealed documents suggesting that company employees had ghostwritten scientific reports that U.S. regulators used to determine glyphosate does not cause cancer.” In simple terms, Monsanto tried to hide Roundups risks from the public and regulators so the company could go on, business as usual.

Kennedy summed up the company’s corruption in a recent statement, saying:

“Monsanto’s newly released documents expose a culture corrupt enough to shock the company’s most jaded critics. Those papers show sociopathic company officials ghostwriting scientific studies to conceal Roundup’s risks from Monsanto’s regulators and customers, including food consumers, farmers, and the public…One wonders about the perverse morality that incentivizes executives to lie so easily and to put profits before human life. All humanity will benefit when a jury sees this scheme and gives this behemoth a new set of incentives.”

The scary thing is, despite reports and tests classifying glyphosate, as a carcinogen, Monsanto continues to claim that “Roundup creates no risks to human health or to the environment.” But according to reports like the one from the WTO classifying the chemical as a probable carcinogen, it does, and that’s why consumers across the globe should be ecstatic that Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman has decided to take a stand against Monsanto to shed light on just how crooked the company is.

So what does Monsanto have to say in its defense? Well, in addition to continuing to claim that glyphosate is perfectly safe, Monsanto spokesperson Charla Lord issued a statement saying:

“We empathize with anyone facing cancer. We can also confidently say that glyphosate is not the cause. No regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate a carcinogen.”

There’s no denying that this is shaping up to be a whopper of a case, and it will be interesting to see how things unfold in coming weeks and months.

These Vietnam Vets Are Sick And Blame Agent Orange, But VA Won’t Pay

Sam Genco, at age 19, narrowly survived one of the United States’ worst military aircraft carrier fires. Today, 50 years later, it’s that ship’s drinking water he says could be killing him.

Genco was diagnosed last year at a North Carolina veterans’ clinic with ischemic heart disease — a common condition the federal government says is linked to Agent Orange exposure. He suffers from severely blocked arteries, cutting off the normal flow of oxygen and blood to the heart.

“It’s fatigue. Your muscles just don’t want to work. Like an engine full of sludge,” Genco said. “The engine keeps working harder but going slower.”

But the 69-year-old can’t access veterans’ disability benefits tied to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.

If the federal government approved his claim, his monthly veteran’s benefit check would jump from about $1,400 to more than $3,000. Full disability benefits also have tax advantages and would improve his wife’s health care coverage. Despite no acknowledgment from the government that he was exposed to Agent Orange, Genco does get free medical treatment, like other veterans, at veterans’ clinics.

His bid for financial help is caught in a bureaucratic maze and a struggle involving widespread disagreement among experts about why he’s sick.

Genco, who lives in Pine Knoll Shores, N.C., is one of an estimated 90,000 affected “blue water Navy Vietnam veterans,” named for the open seas and harbors where they served.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Dr. Thompson on the Future of Treatment in Multiple Myeloma -

Michael A. Thompson, MD, PhD, medical director, precision medicine, Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic, Aurora Health Care, discusses the future of treatment in multiple myeloma.

Immunotherapy may be beneficial in patients with later stages of multiple myeloma, says Thompson. Combinations with checkpoint inhibitors are currently being explored.

For patients with early disease that have a high risk of progressing from smoldering myeloma to myeloma, a combination of induction, consolidation, and maintenance may be curative, adds Thompson. -


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Earlier recognition of multiple myeloma in primary requires ‘connecting the dots’

March has been designated “Myeloma Action Month” by the International Myeloma Foundation to encourage health care professionals, patient advocates and caregivers to “take action to empower patients and arm them with knowledge.” Healio Family Medicine spoke with oncologists and primary care physicians about awareness of the malignancy in primary care and strategies for diagnosing the disease earlier.

Multiple myeloma is considered relatively rare in the United States, accounting for 1.8% of all anticipated new cancer cases in 2016, with an estimated 30,330 new cases and 12,650 deaths.

The prognosis for multiple myeloma has improved in recent years, due in large part to new therapeutic agents and the use of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Median survival rates vary by stage, but range from 62 months for patients with stage 1 disease to 29 months for patients with stage 3 disease.

Identifying patients with multiple myeloma can begin in the primary care setting, but the non-specific symptoms make diagnosis challenging and require greater recognition of symptom patterns and patients at increased risk.

The initial symptoms of multiple myeloma include pain, particularly of the back and bones, and fatigue, common complaints in primary care, according to Robert A. Vescio, MD, medical director of the multiple myeloma and amyloidosis program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“Back pain and bone pain are the most common early symptoms that people present with,” Vescio said. “If the bone is weakened from a plasmacytoma, a tumor of malignant plasma cells, that can cause a compression fracture. People have back pain for many other reasons, so there is often a lag between symptom onset and diagnosis. In older patients, it may be assumed that they have compression fractures from osteoporosis.”

Healio Family Medicine spoke with Vescio and other clinicians about the initial symptoms of multiple myeloma and the steps that can be taken to increase earlier diagnosis in the primary care setting.

Importance of patient characteristics, related symptoms

In addition to pain and fatigue, early symptoms of multiple myeloma include anemia and renal insufficiency, which may not be recognized immediately as an indicator of multiple myeloma, according to Vescio.

“If the creatinine is rising in a patient who has a history of diabetes or hypertension, or there is another reason to explain why the kidneys are not functioning, a complete workup isn’t always done,” he said.

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Another Fun St. Patrick's Day

We had big fun, as usual.

Wendy spent 2 nights.  The beer flowed.  Had the traditional breads and dinner on Friday, then made Rubens and bean soup (out of the corned beef broth) on Saturday.

The boys did some shooting.

Had a great time.