It’s pretty easy to notice while browsing on the internet that one of the best known occupational diseases is mesothelioma, the cancer of the pleura or the peritoneum, caused in most cases by asbestos exposure, in occupational or environmental settings.
Mesothelioma has become a main target for law firms in the United States as the compensations are high (could easily reach 1 million dollars as the disease is deadly) and the cause-effect relationship is quite clear, as well as there is a certain dose-effect relationship. For instance Selikoff’s report indicated that 8% of 17,800 asbestos insulation workers in the United States and Canada followed from 1967 to 1976 died from malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is still very present in many construction materials, so this disease still remains of high interest even after the asbestos ban in the US in 1989.
As part of their online marketing efforts to reach new patients, law firms offer high pay-per-click rates for keyword searches including “mesothelioma” and “asbestos”, up to $70 or even more.
The mirage of a quick buck has therefore attracted hoards of home-made webmasters who quickly designed lots of websites containing a few keyword-rich pages. A search for “mesothelioma” on Google gives 11,300,000 results (more than 11 millions!), which is a huge number for a however rare disease, compared for instance to “occupational asthma” (300,000 results) or “silicosis” (667,000 results) or even “contact dermatitis” (885,000 results).
This means that probably the extra 10.5 millions results for “mesothelioma” are just from websites created by webmasters with no medical background whatsoever trying to get rich overnight.
So I wondered what they could possibly have to say about mesothelioma…
And here are some quite funny quotes from such website…
- Mesothelioma is a type of cancer. It is a cancer of mesothelial cells. These cells cover the outer surface of most of our internal body organs, forming a lining that is sometimes called the mesothelium. So this is where this type of cancer gets its name.
Pretty clear, uh?
- Mesothelioma cancer can develop in the tissues covering the lungs, abdomen, the pleura.
No kidding, the tissue covering the pleura?!
- It is unusual for mesothelioma to spread to other parts of the body. But if it does, it does not usually cause troublesome symptoms.
Probably just an itchy sensation, but that’s it, not troublesome at all…