Thursday, July 9, 2015
Mesothelioma and Heather's Story
So I am helping a cancer survivor with an awareness campaign today. She is approaching her 10 year survival marker (YAY!!!) and is celebrating by trying to spread the word about the cancer and its treatment by sharing her story. Since two of my grandparents lost cancer battles, I felt it was a good cause to help spread the word for.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body's internal organs, known as the mesothelium. Pleural (or lung) is the most common sort (about 70%) but if can also be in the abdomen (peritonial) or heart (pericardial).
Asbestos exposure increases risk and treatment runs the same gamut as most cancers: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy. If you want to know more about the cancer broadly, this website is helpful.
Most cancers have pretty good survival rate for stage two or lower—even stage three, depending on the cancer, but this one, unless caught in stage one, is typically less than a two year survival prognosis, though cases are different. [For reference, stage one is small and localized, stage 2 is larger and starting to spread, stage three means it has spread to another organ or system and stage four is fully systemic.]
In 2005 Heather Von St. James was given just 15 months for her own diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma—she'd given birth to her daughter just three months earlier and she found the odds unacceptable... but you should probably hear her story from her... Heather's Video.
Take a few minutes to give it a watch and share the story. People with early asbestos exposure should be particularly vigilant.