Did you build your house? Do you know the materials that were used? If you answered no to those questions, you’re not alone. When buying a house, most people automatically assume the materials used are health-regulated and safe for people.
From the 1940s to the 1970s, most homes were built with a cheap, fire-retardant material called asbestos. It was used because of its strength and added to concrete, pipes, wallboard, floor tiles, adhesives, and roof shingles. In other words, the foundation of a house. Now, this isn’t a bad thing if it wasn't life-threatening material.
What they didn’t know at the time was that asbestos was highly toxic. During these decades, millions of people were exposed to asbestos poisoning, also known as asbestosis. And this disease has fatal consequences to the body.
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. The effects of long-term asbestos exposure don’t show up for 10 to 40 years after initial exposure. Some of the symptoms are shortness of breath, weight loss, a dry cough, and a crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling.
By why does asbestosis matter now? This happened decades ago; surely today’s homes don’t have asbestosis in them, right? Well, in the United States alone, millions of homes still have asbestos in them as many homes were built during that time period.
As people are purchasing older homes, the risks of asbestosis increase. The National Association of Home Builders conducted a survey in 2018 that showed that only 11% of home sales were for new construction, while the rest were for existing homes.
And from asbestosis, you can develop Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a non-curable disease where cancer cells form in the lining of the chest or abdomen. Typically, if stage II, III, or IV is discovered in the chest, the patient is placed on chemotherapy to shrink the tumors. Yet, the survival rate is approximately 12% over five years.
While Mesothelioma can be fatal, action can be taken to slow the progression if caught early on. What’s surprising is that red light therapy treatment has actually proven effective in treating Mesothelioma.
You don’t hear about light therapy and cancer often, yet they have quite a positive relationship. Researchers have found that an effective way to kill aggressive tumor cells without harming the body is via photodynamic light therapy. This finding inspired a 4-year National Institute of Health (NIH) grant that will explore the use of photodynamic therapy to kill mesothelioma cancer cells.
Photodynamic light therapy (PLT) is a form of red light therapy that uses special drugs along with light to kill cancer cells. Over a specific amount of time, the drug is absorbed by the cancer cells and light is applied to the area. The light causes the drug to react, forming a special oxygen molecule that kills the cells.
Photodynamic light therapy is already being used to treat cancer patients and has been proven effective in treating cancer, even for Mesothelioma. In a 2004 study, they showed substantial improvement in survival times with photodynamic therapy. Patients treated with surgery lived a median of 10 months, while patients treated with surgery and PLT survived a median of 13 to 14 months.
A 2019 study combined photodynamic therapy with proton radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The patients all had stage 3 or 4 Mesothelioma and survived a median of 30.3 months. While Mesothelioma is not curable at any stage, light therapy can prolong a patient’s life.
As we can see, the power of light therapy treatments even extends to some of the most challenging diseases. We’re passionate about developing products that help people live healthier lives, and are eager to partner with medical professionals in creating powerful and safe products for their patients. Please reach out to us for more information on our manufacturing and design practices.