Sunday, March 24, 2024

Princess of Wales (Kate Middleton) diagnosed with cancer, following royals with similar ills

Catherine, Princess of Wales, formerly known as Kate Middleton, said in a personal, emotional video message last week that she has cancer, though she didn't say what form or stage.

In a story by Karla Adam, Bryan Pietsch, and Jennifer Hassan in editions of The Washington Post a few days ago, she also disclosed that she was in the early stages of chemotherapy and "was getting stronger every day."

Catherine, Princess of Wales
The 42-year-old princess said the news came as "a huge shock" and that her husband, William, and she "have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family," the article states.

Kate's disclosure adds another casualty to the British royal cancer cavalcade. In February, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III had cancer, again disclosing neither the form nor stage. The month before, Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of Prince Andrew, said she'd been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

Another story, by Jill Lawless of the Associated Press, notes that "the ranks of working royals have been thinned, making the monarchy's future suddenly look fragile." It cites Prince Harry being in California, estranged from his brother, while Prince Andrew "is in disgrace over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and faced allegations of sexual abuse."

The most visible royal now, that article says, is 76-year-old Queen Camilla, Charles' second wife (the first being the nationally beloved Diana, who was killed in a car crash).

The triple-bylined Post story indicates that the princess explained that "after she underwent major abdominal surgery in January, she thought that her condition was noncancerous [but] tests after the operation found that cancer had been present."

Her elaboration was the result of multiple conspiracy theories that had been proliferating in British media.

Kate also was quoted as saying that "as you can imagine…it has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But most important, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte, and Louis [their three kids] in a way that is appropriate for them and to reassure them that I will be okay."

In the United Kingdom, according to the National Health Service, 50% of people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime, with the most common forms being breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer. 

More about unexpected diagnoses can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer, a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.      

Friday, March 22, 2024

U.S. bans last type of asbestos still being used, joining 50 countries that already prohibit it

The phaseout will take more than a decade but the United States has just banned the last type of asbestos still in use.

Its move means America will join 50 other nations that have already prohibited the deadly carcinogen that's linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer that forms in the lining of some internal organs.

A story by Coral Davenport in yesterday's editions of The New York Times notes that the Biden administration's action marks the first time since 1989 that the "federal government has moved to significantly restrict the toxic industrial material."

Davenport's piece says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation would ban the use, manufacture, and import of chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, a mineral used in roofing materials, textiles, and cement, as well as gaskets, catches, brake pads, and other automotive parts.

It is also a component, the story adds, in diaphragms used to make chlorine (which in turn is used in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and to purify drinking water).

Michael Regan, EPA administrator, is quoted as saying that "President Biden understands that [concern over the dangerous chemical] has spanned generations and impacted the lives of countless people."

Critics, who feel that the new rule is insufficient, point to asbestos being "linked to an estimated 40,000 deaths annual in the United States," the story indicates.

Mesothelioma, it goes on to say, "disproportionately affects firefighters, who are exposed to asbestos through damaged buildings and have a much higher risk of developing the cancer than the general population."

Linda Reinstein
Linda Reinstein, president and founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, is quoted to the effect that her group is "alarmed that the rule allows an unnecessarily long transition period and creates inconsistent compliance deadlines for certain asbestos users that will enable dangerous exposure to chrysotile asbestos to continue for years to come."

Davenport's story maintains that the new rule "stands in sharp contrast to the position of the Trump administration, which fought legislation that would have banned asbestos." The piece further states that Trump "inaccurately declares asbestos '100 percent safe' in his 1997 book, Trump: The Art of the Comeback, and claimed the movement to remove asbestos 'was led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal."

More information about substances that can cause disease can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer, a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

U.S. environmental agency curbs cancer-causing gas being used to sterilize medical equipment

The federal EPA has placed tougher restrictions on an odorless, colorless cancer-causing gas used to sterilize medical equipment.

According to a story by Maxine Joselow in The Washington Post earlier this week, the move to limit ethylene oxide is "aimed at helping disadvantaged communities across the country reduce their exposure to a toxic pollutant."

The medical industry not surprisingly "warned that the rule could disrupt the supply of safe medical equipment at hospitals and clinics nationwide," the article says.

Joselow's piece indicates that criticism came, too, from some environmental and public health advocates who found the new limits too weak, saying they "would not adequately protect low-income and minority communities that are disproportionately affected."

Ethylene oxide has been linked to several types of cancer, particularly lymphoma and leukemia. The new rule applies to almost 90 sterilization facilities owned and operated by some 50 companies, the EPA says. "Those facilities will have to reduce ethylene oxide emissions by more than 90 percent," the article maintains.

Michael Regan
Michael Regan, the first black man to serve as EPA administrator, "has put an emphasis on curbing deadly pollution in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods," the Washington Post story contends. 

He's quoted from a statement: "We have allowed the science and listened to communities to fulfill our responsibility to safeguard public health from this pollution — including the health of children who are particularly vulnerable to carcinogens early in life."

Joselow's story also cites last year's analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists that found "roughly 14 million people live within five miles of facilities that met ethylene oxide, and that nearly 60 percent are people of color. Nearly 31 percent are low-income."

The gas, according to the story, "is used to sterilize about half of all U.s. medical supplies, including billions of syringes, heart valves, pacemakers, and feeding and breathing tubes."

More information on environmental causes of disease can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer, a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.