Mesothelioma: An avoidable cancer?

by Sue Redmond

Did you know?

epithelialMesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the body cavity called the mesothelium (80% of which occur within the lining of the lungs).

The only known cause to mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is a natural mineral classified as a carcinogen because of its association with mesothelioma.

Even though the EPA banned most asbestos containing products, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the regulation. As a result only a few of these products remain banned.

Asbestos still remains the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States.

To this day, asbestos is still found in many buildings from schools to industrial buildings.

Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in men between the ages of 50 and 70 but, it’s on rise in younger women who have experienced second hand exposure from parents or spouses who worked closely with asbestos.

2500 to 3000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year and on average they are given 10 months to live.

I recently had contact with and read about an amazing, courageous mother, wife and survivor of mesothelioma, Heather Von St. James. She was diagnosed with the cancer when her daughter was just 3 months old and given 15 months to live. Her story of finding Dr. David Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and her struggle through recovering is inspirational. But, I think the most wonderful part is seeing her passion and purpose in life coming through her blog and all that she does to get the word out about mesothelioma and asbestos.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26. You can find out more about mesothelioma at and read and share Heather’s story at

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