Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mesothelioma: A Mom's Nightmare, But There Is Hope

I don't watch much daytime television, but when I do, I always see those commercials produced by lawyers who state that they can help sufferers of melothelioma.  One day, I was curious and learned that it is a cancer caused by asbestos, but it wasn't until I was contacted by Heather Von St. James who wanted me to get the word out about this deadly cancer and her journey with and through it that I began to understand what a nightmare it is and what a problem it continues to be. 

Now, a diagnosis of cancer is never good, no matter what, but what this woman went through is amazing. In 2005, only three months after giving birth to her daughter, Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. She was given only 15 months to live unless she opted to have a lung removed.

Can you imagine the terror of not only being given essentially a death sentence, but the prospect of leaving the child you just gave birth to? Yet every year, 3,000 people are diagnosed with this cancer.  On average, they are given 10 months (the equivalent of 300 days or 7,200 hours) to live. Heather beat the odds and is now an 8-year mesothelioma cancer survivor. She's made it her life mission to let others know about the dangers of asbestos and is proof that those with this illness should not lose hope.

She also shares these incredibly alarming statistics:

  • Asbestos is still not banned in the United States. About 800 million pounds of it are still used each year.
  • Asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked human eye.
  • Even more than 30 years after the peak if its use, exposure to asbestos is still the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States.
  • Asbestos can still be found in many homes, schools, and commercial and industrial buildings (I know it's in the floor tiles in one of my rooms and was found in the insulation around some of the pipes in my former home). 
  • This deadly substance was once used in more than 3000 consumer products including toasters and hairdryers – some of these products are still in use.
  • Navy Veterans are at the greatest risk to develop mesothelioma as asbestos was widely used in Naval ships and shipyards.
  • No amount of exposure to this substance is safe.
To learn more about mesothelioma, please visit the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at www.mesothelioma.com. It's full resources for both patients and their families and also lists lawyers you can contact if you believe you were exposed to asbestos on the job (apparently the manufacturers of asbestos were aware of the dangers of this substance and did not tell those working with it that they were at risk for serious health issues). You can also visit Heather's Awareness Page at www.mesothelioma.com/heather/awareness.

If you are a fellow blogger reading this post, please consider spreading the word about asbestos exposure. Let's use the power of the Web to get the word out about this dangerous, yet still used, material!

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