Monday, June 16, 2014

not just about breast cancer

Today's post is a guest post from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. This is the first guest post ever on this blog but I wanted to share this issue and felt it would be best if someone from MCA explained the issue in their own words.

Here are some facts provided by Cameron Von St. James, whose wife Heather is a mesothelioma survivor. Note that while Cameron is in the US and writes about that country, asbestos is not banned in Canada, either (Update: This is the June 16 editorial from the Globe and Mail: "Ottawa's sunny outlook on asbestos is out of step with the facts."). In fact, Canada's Mesothelioma Center says our country's "mesothelioma cancer rate is now one of the highest in the world."

Have you ever heard of mesothelioma? Most people have no idea how serious this disease can be unless they’ve been personally affected or have seen the never ending commercials. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer and unfortunately, the only way to develop this cancer is exposure to asbestos. Sadly, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, so any individual who has been exposed has a high risk for developing mesothelioma. 
There are many eye-opening facts about this disease such as:
•    “Asbestos” means inextinguishable in Greek.
•    Inhaled or ingested broken asbestos fibers may cause an inflammation of internal tissue and disrupt organ function, which leads to the development of mesothelioma. 
•    Asbestos was used extensively in the mid 1900s and is still not banned in the United States today. 30 million pounds of asbestos are still used each year.
•    Symptoms usually don’t show up for 20 to 60 years after you’ve been exposed to asbestos.
•    Once diagnosed, mesothelioma patients have many options for treatment. Conventional treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance has dedicated a significant amount of time in making their site the best resource for patients, families, and individuals who are interested in learning more about the disease. Their mission is to spread awareness in hopes they can prevent this from happening to another family.

Update, June 19: The Globe and Mail "Debate" section has a new article, 

Asbestos exposure: We’re just at the beginning of a health crisis and a longer piece in the Report on Business, called "No Safe Use" .It's a scathing indictment of the ongoing refusal of the Canadian government to even acknowledge the problem, let alone take measures to protect it's people. 

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