What’s the Problem?
Monsanto claims that its Roundup weed killer targets enzymes supposedly found only in plants, not in people. However, studies have found that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — affects enzymes in the gut bacteria of humans, increasing the risk for cancers including mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
How Does Roundup Work?
Roundup works by stopping the production of a specific enzyme called the “shikimic acid pathway” that is necessary for plants and some microorganisms to grow. Monsanto claims that the herbicide is harmless to humans because they don’t have the shikimate pathway; however, it is found in bacteria, and there are trillions of bacteria in our intestinal tracts, all of which will react to the presence of glyphosate. This is a main reason why exposure to Roundup can increase the risk of cancer and other life-threatening diseases in humans.
What is Mantle Cell Lymphoma?
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system has tubes that carry a colorless liquid called lymph throughout the body. Lymph contains white blood cells (lymphocytes) which circulate around the body’s tissues and fight infection. Lymphoma causes some of the lymphocytes to work improperly. They begin to divide constantly but don’t develop fully, and are unable to fight infection as normal white blood cells do.
There are two main types of lymphocytes – B cells and T cells. Mantle cell lymphoma affects the B cells. The abnormal B lymphocytes start to accumulate in the lymph nodes or body organs. They can then form tumors and begin to cause problems within the lymphatic system or the organ in which they are growing.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of mantle cell lymphoma are similar to most other types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The most common sign is one or more painless swellings in the neck, armpit or groin. Each swelling is caused by an enlarged lymph node.
Other symptoms of MCL may include:
- Heavy sweating at night
- Temperatures that come and go with no obvious cause
- Rapid weight loss
- Abdominal pain
Treatment options for patients diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma depend on a number of factors including the stage of disease, age of the patient, and the patient’s overall health. For patients who do not yet have symptoms and have a relatively small amount of slow growing disease, “watchful waiting” and monitoring the disease for progression may be recommended.
However, MCL is usually only diagnosed once it has spread throughout the body, and most of these patients will require treatment. Initial treatment approaches for aggressive cancers include:
- Chemotherapy (typically in combination with Rituxan)
- Autologous stem cell transplant (in which patients receive their own stem cells)
- HyperCVAD (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, dexamethasone alternating with methotrexate and cytarabine)
- R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone)
- Bendamustine (Treanda) in combination with rituximab
The stages of mantle cell lymphoma describe how many groups of lymph nodes are affected by the cancer, where they are in the body, and whether other organs such as the bone marrow or liver are involved. There are four stages:
- Stage 1 – One group of lymph nodes is affected.
- Stage 2 – Two or more groups of lymph nodes are affected, and all the affected lymph nodes are either above or below the diaphragm.
- Stage 3 – The lymphoma is in lymph nodes both above and below the diaphragm.
- Stage 4 – The lymphoma has spread beyond the lymph nodes to other organs such as the bones, liver or lungs.
Prognosis and Survival Rate
Mantle cell lymphoma has historically had a much poorer prognosis than other forms of lymphoma, with a median survival rate of only 3-5 years. However, advanced chemotherapy regimens and stem cell transplants have helped make significant improvements in survival. With the introduction of Rituxan, survival rates have improved significantly with many patients surviving over 7 years after diagnosis.
Roundup Lawsuits Centralized in California
In October 2016, a panel of judges decided to consolidate all federal Roundup cancer lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2741) for pretrial handling in the Northern District of California. All of the civil actions contain similar allegations, namely that Roundup can cause mantle cell lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. Plaintiffs argue that Monsanto failed to adequately warn regulators and the public about the potential cancer risk associated with Roundup exposure.
FREE Confidential Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma after using or being exposed to Roundup weed killer, you may be eligible to obtain compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help. Contact a Roundup attorney today for a Free Confidential Case Evaluation by filling out the form below or calling toll free 24/hrs a day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
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