Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman named Heather. She's a 10 year survivor of the rare and aggressive Mesothelioma cancer, and she wanted to know if I would help spread the word on this deadly disease.

How could I say no?

I have been personally affected by the impact of cancer before, though I have to admit, I've never heard of this type until Heather contacted me. Both of my in-laws passed away from cancer. My Father-in-Law of Leukaemia, and my Mother-in-Law of Brain cancer. My Nana also passed away from Lymphoma cancer.

I've seen first-hand, what the affects of cancer and its treatment can do to someone, and quite honestly, wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. Everyone knows what type of disease this is - one that is not prejudice. It does not care what colour of skin you have, how old you are, whether your male or female, or where you are from. 

Anyone can get it.

So, even if I can inform one person about this specific type of cancer in my tiny corner of the web, I'll be happy.

Mesothlioma is a rare type of cancer that can occur in the thin layer of cells lining the body's internal organs, known as mesothelium. There are essentially three types of mesothelioma, with Pleural mesthelioma being the most common form, accounting for roughly 70% of cases. More information on these type of mesothelioma cancers can be found here.

The cause of this cancer is the exposure of asbestos or the inhalation of asbestos particles, which is still in use in both Canada and the US. Many people often actually refer to this cancer as 'The Invisible Epidemic'. In fact, the number of accepted claims for mesothelioma in Canada rose 216.4 percent between 1997 and 2010, a 2013 paper by Dr. Demers and Dr. Ann Del Bianco reports. Across Canada, seven to 10 accepted occupational cancer deaths claims involve exposure to asbestos.

The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board has pegged the average cost of mesothelioma claim at $532,844 (with much of that in survivor benefits, along with health care costs and loss of earnings).

Canada and the US still allow imports and exports of products that contain asbestos. Countries like Australia, Japan, and Sweden (among 60 other countries), have all banned the use of asbestos.

Like all cancers, there is treatment, but no guarantee. Those usually diagnosed with this cancer are only given about 10 months to live. Treatment for mesothelioma can include surgery (specific and unique to each case), radiation, and chemotherapy; all of which causes further discomfort to the patient. More information on these treatments can be found here.

This info graphic provides further stats on asbestos and Mesothelioma.

I would encourage everyone to read Heather's story. You can also read John's story, who is also suffering from this disease. Their tales of heartache, trials, and tribulations will move you in ways you haven't been moved before. Both of their stories shed further light on this disease, including stats, and how it's impact can affect everyone around you. 

If you'd like to raise awareness of this disease yourself, please share this article and the links contained within it. I also encourage you to write to you local MP and the Canadian Government about your concern with asbestos use in Canada. 

You can also read more about mesothelioma at
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