Recently, I was talking to a patient who has been battling mesothelioma for the past 3.5 years. During our conversation it struck me that in his case mesothelioma has become a chronic condition that he is now living with. The good news for him, and other long-term survivors of mesothelioma, is that progress has been made. Mesothelioma treatment is prolonging some people’s lives past the grim statistics of survival with mesothelioma.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. In 2010, nearly 575,000 people died of cancer, and more than 1.45 million people had a diagnosis of cancer. Mesothelioma comprises approximately 1% of these cancers.
What does it mean to have a chronic condition? About one- fourth of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.
For this mesothelioma survivor, what living with mesothelioma means to him is dealing with pain, recurrences, infection, chemotherapy, and radiation. It has been a difficult road for both him and his wife. They have spent countless hours at appointments with many doctors, have endured too many procedures, and have ridden the proverbial roller coaster with their emotional highs and lows. Yet, through it all, he has seen another grandchild born, and has enjoyed many special times with his family. Would he do it again? Today he would, but ask him on his down days and he might not be so sure.
As you give thanks during this holiday season make sure to include the mesothelioma patients that are forging ahead and blazing a trail as the search for a cure for mesothelioma continues. No one mesothelioma patient is a statistic, they all have stories that we are privileged to hear. Thanks to all of the mesothelioma survivors for their courage and inspiration.
Know more about Mesothelioma and how you can deal with it.