Asbestos fibers at the microscopic level. Photo: http://www.geoscienceworld.org
Recently, Cameron - the husband of mesothelioma survivor Heather Von St. James, reached out to myself and a few other bloggers to create a post to raise mesothelioma awareness. Their family's story is very inspiring, and if you would like to read more about Heather, Cameron, and their sweet daughter Lily, you can do so here.
Cameron asked me to relay statistics and facts about this rare, but entirely preventable cancer, which is diagnosed in about 3,000 people annually.
- Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma. (Important information for those of us who love to live in and explore old houses.) Asbestos was used as an insulator, ceiling texture product, and siding material up until the 1960s. Asbestos must be remediated professionally. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, call a professional abatement company such as Sunbelt Environmental.
- Smoking can exacerbate the symptoms and increase the risk factor for mesothelioma, but is not a direct cause. That said, smoking greatly increases the chances of developing any form of cancer.
- Veterans are considered a particularly high-risk group for mesothelioma, due to the fact that they were often exposed to asbestos during their service. Navy vets are particularly at risk, because asbestos was used in the shipbuilding process.
- Some symptoms of mesothelioma are chest pain, bowel obstructions, nausea, and anemia. Imaging scans and biopsies are the most common methods for diagnosis.
Educating yourself and others on asbestos exposure, early detection if symptoms occur, and prompt medical treatment are the best ways to increase your survival factor for mesothelioma. For more information, go to www.mesothelioma.com