12 September 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Dear readers,

September 26th is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I'd never heard of this rare type of cancer until a couple of weeks ago when I got in touch with Cameron Von St. James. He told me a bit of his  story and asked me if I was willing to help spread awareness of this aggressive disease.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day 09/26/15
His wife, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma shortly after giving birth to their first child. Apparently she had been exposed to asbestos fibers from her father's work jacket when she was a child. She had to undergo a drastic surgery that involved a heated chemotherapy solution and the removal of her left lung. Almost 10 years later she and her husband are busy working on spreading awareness of Mesothelioma globally.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining (Mesothelium) of the lungs and abdomen. There are three major types of Mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal and pericardial; to simplify it for you: it can affect the lungs, the abdomen or the heart.

Stages of Mesothelioma:
Stages of Malignant Mesothelioma
Why is it difficult to get an early diagnose?

Key to fighting off any kind of disease is getting an early diagnose. In the case of Mesothelioma this is particularly difficult as its symptoms are common to more trivial ailments that they don't raise suspicion until it's frequently too late.

What is the cause?

Asbestos is the main cause and risk factor to developing this disease. Asbestos is a microscopic mineral that, when inhaled, lodges in the lining of lungs and abdomen. Even the tiniest amount of asbestos is a high risk as we have learned from Heather's story. Not only the men and women working in direct contact with asbestos are in danger but their families as well. Asbestos is still not banned in the US and was once used in more than 3000 consumer products. It can still be found in many homes, schools and commercial or industrial buildings.
Countries with Bans on Asbestos

What's the cure for Mesothelioma?

There's currently no cure for this disease although it's totally preventable. All we need is to stay clear from asbestos and press our governments to ban this carcinogen from the face of the Earth. Until then, a treatment of chemotherapy and surgery is the only option available to provide a benefit to patients and increase their life expectancy. 

Statistics in the US:
Mesothelioma statistics in the USA

What can I do to help?

If you have read so far you're already doing a great deal. Being aware of this disease and maybe sharing this with others is a huge step in helping prevent it. One way of sharing is through social media. Heather has made it quite simple for us to spread word around, click here to go to her website and donate your social status on Twitter, Facebook and/or Pinterest.

For more information:

Disclaimer: All the information and graphics given out in this post have been taken from the websites mentioned directly above. I had no former knowledge of this disease and have no medical expertise to accompany the claims I've made here. Any mistakes found in this post are entirely my own. This is NOT a sponsored post. 

Thank you for reading until the end,

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