The 12th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference has officially been announced.
The event, “Where Knowledge and Action Unite,” will take place in Washington, D.C. from April 8th through the 10th. Nearly 40 speakers will address the conference. The eclectic group consists of doctors, researchers, artists, musicians, and mesothelioma patients.
The conference is hosted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). ADAO is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness about the dangers of asbestos and helping the people who are affected by it, including mesothelioma patients. Their goal is to end asbestos-related diseases.
Among the speakers chosen are a top mesothelioma surgeon, a mesothelioma patient, and the first journalist to write about the corrupt asbestos industry:
Dr. Raja Flores
Dr. Raja Flores is the the chairman of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. He’s also a member of the ADAO Science Advisory Board. He is one of the most experienced mesothelioma surgeons in the United States and is respected for his compassion as much as his skill. He personalizes his treatment plan for each patient.
Dr. Flores is also known for his research in Libby, Montana. Libby has the most cases of mesothelioma per capita in the United States. As the principal investigator of the Libby Epidemiology Research Program (LERP), Dr. Flores has been researching the effects of asbestos mining on Libby and investing why some people are more likely to be affected by the industry than others.
Lou Williams is an Australian mesothelioma patient and activist. Recently, she has been speaking out as an advocate for the drug Keytruda. As a mesothelioma treatment, Keytruda is not yet approved in Australia and is still in clinical trials in the U.S.
After having surgery for what the doctors thought might be ovarian cancer, Williams was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2003. She committed to eating better and living a healthy lifestyle and was treated with chemotherapy, which was successful in shrinking her tumors. Then, in 2009 she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, unrelated to her original diagnosis. Again, she had surgery and then chemotherapy.
Although she saw some success with chemotherapy, eventually she stopped seeing progress and the drugs started to take a severe toll on her body. Her condition deteriorated quickly after chemotherapy stopped working for her in 2014. Last year, she started taking Keytruda and is already healthy enough to travel around the world speaking out about her amazing results.
Paul Brodeur is one of two keynote speakers at the conference. He is a revered journalist and author whose work focuses on public health and environmental issues, especially the use of asbestos. After serving in the U.S. Army overseas, he returned home to the U.S. and began his professional writing career. His article “The Magic Mineral” was published in The New Yorker in 1968 and was the first journalistic article to bring attention to the dangers of asbestos.
He wrote for The New Yorker for many years and now has published many books based on his articles. His book “Expendable Americans” (1974) describes the health hazards of asbestos and how the dangers were kept from the public. Another book written by Brodeur about asbestos is “Outrageous Misconduct: The Asbestos Industry on Trial” (1985).
The ADAO is the only nonprofit in the U.S. that hosts an annual conference like this. Mesothelioma patients, families, and caregivers are invited to attend. Details about the event and registration are available on the ADAO website.