Mesothelioma. Most people have heard the word, either from ads on the television or on billboards. Fortunately most of the U.S. population are not touched by the disease. Just 3,000 patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S. each year. It is approximately one percent of all cancer diagnoses. Most of the victims of this asbestos-caused cancer are male.
Those are some of the facts. The people and their families affected by a mesothelioma diagnosis are not statistics. They are people living their lives until this time bomb of a disease explodes, and takes them and their families and friends with it.
Over the years, it seems the patients are being diagnosed at a younger age. Two women were diagnosed within three months of giving birth. Another young mother, an avid runner, was diagnosed after she noticed when she ran she got short of breath. Yet another young woman was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after her surgeon had removed her ovary for another condition.
A firefighter, one year from retirement, was diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma. A man in his 60’s in excellent health fell off his bike and fractured his ribs, and six months later he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The numbers do not tell the story of patients living with the disease. Living less than a year, longer than a year, or even longer than five years with the disease, the lives of the patients and of their families are still forever altered.
Most know the word- but not the disease. Those families and patients that know the disease also know it does not define them any more than the numbers or the name mesothelioma does.
Know more about Mesothelioma and how you can deal with it.