I am amazed at the opportunities we get in life, especially when they come out of left field. As many of you know, my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2013. Even though the news was overwhelming and the battle long, we are so grateful for all the doors that have been opened to help others. I was asked by a fellow blogger to be part of an effort to bring awareness of mesothelioma. Of course I said yes. Cancer is cancer and the struggles are the same no matter the type. So today I am taking a moment for mesothelioma.
Nearly 3,000 people are diagnosed every year and are given an average of 10 months to live.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to and inhalation of asbestos particles. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is hazardous to the body. Asbestos is a heat-resistant silicate mineral that can be found in fabrics and insulating materials and becomes most hazardous when airborne. It can be found in older homes, schools, factories and commercial buildings. It has not been banned in the U.S. and no amount of exposure is safe. Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the U.S., even more than 30 years after the peak of its use.
There are three types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial.
Like leukemia, mesothelioma has different forms of the disease. One difference between the two, unlike leukemia, mesothelioma may not appear until 30-60 years after exposure to asbestos. And since cancer resembles many other illnesses, sometimes it is hard to diagnose because its symptoms mirror respiratory conditions. Mesothelioma can affect the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart.
Men are four times more likely to be diagnosed then women. But women are becoming victims through second hand exposure.
Before I was asked to write this post, I had heard of mesothelioma from T.V. commercials. You know the ones that say if you have been exposed to asbestos call “blah, blah” lawyer to get your settlement. And in general, never really thought about it until it was brought to my attention. But the one affirmation I have from doing my research for this post is that cancer, no matter what kind, sucks. Treatments across the cancer spectrum are similar. This means the cancer one is battling; I understand the urgency to bring awareness to others.
I believe we are given difficult “seasons” in life to make us better, compassionate people. We may never understand why our loved ones get cancer, but if we embrace knowledge, we can support one another, educate each other, and work as a team to find cures for all cancers.
You can find more information on mesothelioma at www.mesothelioma.com.