“Moment for Meso” – Mesothelioma Awareness
|June 26, 2014||Filled under Health|
I really hope you will read and share this post!
Recently, I was contacted by Emily at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, wondering if I would be open to participating in a campaign to spread awareness about Mesothelioma. Most people have never heard of Mesothelioma, but I have.
This is my maternal Grandpa.
We lost him to Mesothelioma in March of 2000.
The time from diagnosis to his death was only about 3 months. He had been sick and having symptoms for a while, but it took some time to have the official diagnosis. He passed away at home, surrounded by many family members, including myself. I still remember that day vividly.
He was a great grandpa, who lived fairly close to me as I was growing up. We went to the same church, so I saw him almost every weekend. I remember him pulling the grandkids on sleds behind the snowmobile in the winter at the cabin, and pulling family members on waterskis behind the boat in the summer.
So, what is Mesothelioma? It is an extremely aggressive form of cancer almost always caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. My grandpa was in the Navy, and was most likely exposed on the ships. It is relatively rare, and, as far as cancers go, one of most painful and difficult to treat. In most cases, symptoms of mesothelioma do not develop until years after exposure.
Here are some other facts about Mesothelioma, some of which were new to me!
Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms can be attributed to other issues, and you might not take them seriously. There are actually 2 types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma is the most common and forms around the pleural membrane around the lung and chest cavity. About 60% of patients diagnosed with this type experience lower back pain or side chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough, fever, weight loss, or fatigue.
The other type is called peritoneal mesothelioma, which is less common and forms on the surface of the peritoneum, a thin membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity. Those symptoms tend to be abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and fluid build-up.
You might be asking what can be done to prevent this type of cancer. First and foremost, avoid any exposure to asbestos and asbestos fibers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also issued recommendations on how to protect yourself:
- Regular inspection and monitoring of asbestos products or materials in and around the home. Asbestos was part of many common building materials
- Having asbestos abatement carried out by trained, licensed professionals with proper safety equipment only
- Avoiding sweeping, sanding, vacuuming, scraping or otherwise disturbing any surfaces that may be made from asbestos or contain asbestos materials
- Avoiding the use of tobacco. Studies have demonstrated a link between smoking and mesothelioma showing that smokers face up to a 9000% greater chance of contracting asbestos cancer
- Getting regular checkups, especially if there is a known history of asbestos exposure (i.e. having worked in an industrial occupation)
You can learn more about mesothelioma and the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at mesothelioma.com.
Please share this post and help get the word out about this serious disease!