A Mechanicville, New York father has taken his kayak to the Hudson River to help raise the public’s awareness of peritoneal mesothelioma. His 26-year-old daughter was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago and was given just twelve months to live. Since then she has endured six surgeries, and now, her father says, she is in constant pain.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos exposure and affects the lining of the abdomen. While there are close to 3,000 cases of all forms of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States each year, less than 10% of those are peritoneal. The cancer, which is often associated with former industrial workers who were exposed to asbestos decades ago, is virtually unheard of among young adults.
Treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma is often similar to other cancers involving surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. However, physicians at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, known for treating mesothelioma patients, often use hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion (HIPEC) as a means to battle the disease. HIPEC involves bathing the patient’s abdomen with heated high-dose chemotherapy drugs to reach the multiple tumors within the abdominal cavity. The news article in the TimesUnion.com did not indicate where the woman is being treated.
The man and his friends paddled from Schuylerville to Mechanicville. One friend was diagnosed with the same disease two years ago and wanted to offer her support to the family. The trio kayaked about 16 miles through locks 4 and 3. The man hopes to make this an annual trip with next year’s being bigger and better.