Taking a Moment for Mesothelioma
I saw a story the other day about yet another death involving mesothelioma and thought I would reshare this post from last year on this very rare cancer. Please, share with your friends and loved ones. We tend to not think about cancer unless it happens to a loved one or a close friend. It’s just the “C” word that shouldn’t be uttered… but it is prevalent and in some cases can be prevented. About a year ago Cameron Von St. James asked me to spread the word about mesothelioma and the struggle his wife has with her own cancer. Read on to find out about mesothelioma and Heather Von St. James. In May, she reached a miraculous milestone: She is a 10 year survivor of mesothelioma… after only being given 15 months to live at diagnosis.
The other day on Facebook, one of my friends posted a question: What is one thing you would get rid of in the world? My answer? Cancer. Don and I were lucky. He has been cancer-free for 1 year. If cancer has never affected you, a family member or a friend, you don’t understand how devastating it can be. About a week ago, Cameron Von St. James contacted me about spreading the word about Mesothelioma. Without hesitation, I agreed. I pray that in my lifetime we find a cure for all cancer.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, which is the thin layer of cells that line internal organs. There are three types of mesothelioma – pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial.
Pleural – accounts for approximately 70% of cases and occurs in the lungs
Peritoneal – occurs in the abdominal cavity
Pericardial – occurs in the cells lining the heart
A person can develop mesothelioma if they were exposed to asbestos either at work or home. This disease is caused by being exposed to asbestos and breathing in the asbestos particles. Unfortunately, most symptoms might not appear until many years after exposure has occurred. However, the earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed the better the prognosis.
Cameron’s wife, Heather, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma just a few months after the birth of their daughter. With Cameron’s help, they went on a quest to find the best treatment available. Doctors had given Heather only 15 months to live. That was 9 years ago.
You can learn more about Heather and her family by watching this short video:
Facts about Mesothelioma:
- Approximately 3000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year – and are given an average of 10 months to live
- Asbestos exposure is the #1 cause of occupational cancer in the United States
- Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms resemble other respiratory ailments
- No asbestos exposure is safe
- Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30-60 years after asbestos exposure
- Asbestos can be found in older homes, schools, factories, and commercial buildings – even today
- Asbestos is not banned in the United States
- Second-hand asbestos exposure is possible by coming into contact with items with asbestos fibers on them
- United States veterans are at the greatest risk of mesothelioma
I am going to be honest, I did not know much about mesothelioma prior to being contacted by Cameron. But, do you know what shocks me the most… THAT ASBESTOS IS NOT BANNED IN THE UNITED STATES. Of course, I am not sure what that surprises me, when the banned list of chemical toxins has not been updated in since 1976.
For more information about mesothelioma and the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, please visit www.mesothelioma.com. For more about Heather and her family, click here. You can also connect with Heather on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
To learn about asbestos exposure, click here.
This post was written for social good. No compensation was received in exchange for this post. All information, photos and videos used with permission.