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Asbestos-Associated Diseases: Lessons From the Past for the Future

Alf Fischbein, MD; Arthur M. Langer, PhD; Arthur N. Rohl, PhD
JAMA. 1985;254(10):1309-1310. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360100057008.
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To the Editor.—  Asbestos-associated diseases constitute an important occupational health problem in the United States, and JAMA has been in the vanguard in transmitting information on this matter to the medical and scientific communities.1In his recent COMMENTARY, Dr John Craighead2 addresses several issues on asbestos-related diseases in the context of two recent reports published in JAMA.3,4 These, according to the commentary, "contribute to the confusion expressed by many physicians." We would rather consider the publication of case reports, including our own, which discusses the occurrence of mesothelioma in a man who had worked in the immediate vicinity of a navy yard, as attempts to shed further light on complex issues. Case reports frequently address unusual clinical problems and often serve as departure points for epidemiologic investigations as well. The suggestion that there is an association between asbestos exposure and lung cancer, reported in 1935 by Lynch


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