Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Moment for Mesothelioma

I was contacted earlier in the summer by the Community Outreach Director for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. She asked me if I wanted to participate in their summer campaign, by taking a moment for mesothelioma, a rare cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.  I said yes, and then life happened.  We never know when things will occur that keep us from fulfilling commitments we made.  This topic is near and dear to me because my father died from Mesothelioma.  You see he had lung cancer and asbestos was the enemy.  Asbestos is a dangerous material not banned in the US.  You can risk exposure by touching clothing or items that have asbestos fibers on them. Men are four times more likely to be diagnosed with Mesothelioma than women.  Women are becoming victims of Mesothelioma through second hand exposure. It has also been used throughout the U.S. military in hundreds of applications including naval ships, military buildings, vehicles, etc.  We know asbestos...but have you ever heard of Mesothelioma before now?  How did you hear about it?  Why?  I did not know myself until it affected my own little world.  It was then that I began to research this ugly word and found that Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that has a long latency period, and symptoms may not manifest until the cancer reaches the later stages making most diagnoses rather grim. I found myself visiting the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance site because I wanted to know more.  What I found out was staggering.  Every year close to 3,000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma and given around 10 months to live.  My father made it exactly 10 months.  My mother's two brothers did not.  Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States....and this is more than 50 years after the peak of its use.  That is so very sad.  Mesothelioma was difficult to diagnose in my father.  His diagnosis went from asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and finally cancer.  No amount of asbestos exposure is safe.  There are three types of Mesothelioma:  Pleural, Pritoneal, and Pericardial.  Symptoms may not appear for many years after exposure.  Asbestos is the most deadly when it begins to flake off and become airborne.  Do you know where it is?  Most of the areas you find it in are areas you would never think to look.  You can find it in older homes, schools, factories, and commercial buildings.  The house next door to my parents has asbestos siding on it.  The local fire department asked for permission to burn it down for fire training. The owners gave them permission, but once asbestos was discovered it was deemed unburnable.  Burning it would have meant putting asbestos flakes airborne.  So, the house sits and falls in.   US Veterans are at the greatest risk of Mesothelioma.  Navy veterans are at the greatest risk for developing mesothelioma as asbestos was widely used in naval ships and shipyards.  While the soldiers who lived and worked aboard the ships - including gunmen, boilermen, and firemen(this is what my father did in the Navy) - were susceptible to inhaling asbestos, those who built and repaired the ships were even more prone to developing diseases associated with the toxic mineral. They were tradesmen such as pipefitters, plumbers, mechanics, shipfitters, electricians(this was my father's trade), welders and boilermakers to name a few.Mesothelioma can remain dormant for several decades, many veterans who served during the 1950s to the 1970s are just now being diagnosed with the disease. My father was in WWII and was only diagnosed in 2008.  During the campaign the goal of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is to educate 300 people throughout the summer in hopes that our efforts could help ban the use of asbestos in the US! Want to know more?  I hope you do and will click here and check out their website.  The information is eye-opening.  If you or someone you know suffers with this then please go to this website and find out what you can do.

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