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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Do you know that this coming Saturday (26th September) is Mesothelioma Awareness Day?


Recently I had been approached by Heather Von St. James, a 10 year Mesothelioma cancer survivor who hopes I can work together with her to raise awareness of Mesothelioma.  After receiving her email, I started done some internet searching to know more about Mesothelioma.


Mesothelioma (间皮瘤) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. It is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos (石棉) - Wikipedia

Talking about asbestos, few months ago, I had watched a Taiwan TV shows about cancer caused by asbestos. Through there, I had some general knowledge about asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that resistant to chemicals and heat so many construction products are containing asbestos. Naked-eye cannot see through asbestos, therefore, when asbestos flying around on air and will be breathed into the lung. The day after day to inhale in asbestos, it will cause cancer.   


Many products around us are containing asbestos such as plastics, paint, weatherproof jackets, floor tile and many more. To know more examples of products have contained/still contained asbestos, you can refer article of “Asbestos Products”.

To know how asbestos-caused cancer, you can refer video as below:-


Some countries knew the dangerous of asbestos therefore they banned for asbestos. Asbestos is banned in at least 60 countries around the world although some of these bans are partial or allow exceptions; more are complete bans on the importation and manufacture of asbestos.


I was so surprised to know that United States remains one of the few developed countries to not completely ban asbestos which still legally use in commonly used products. According to sources from Mesothelioma that Malaysia partially ban for asbestos. The countries expected to ban asbestos completely by 2020 are Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand.    


Talking about Mesothelioma, Heather is a courageous mother, wife and survivor of Mesothelioma. In November 2005, Heather been told by doctor that she had malignant pleural Mesothelioma and have about 15 months to live. That time, she was very sad because she may not have opportunity to raise her 3 month old daughter and her husband might become widower.

You might be curious that how Heather contact with asbestos which made she have Mesothelioma. When she was small, she likes to wear her dad’s work jacket, white and crusty from drywall dust. The cancer was in the lining of her left lung. After having surgery and proper treatment, Heather had been live more than 10 years since she been diagnosis for this cancer. To read more inspiring stories from Heather, you can read her blog “Beating the Odds, My Decade of Survivorship”.

Prevention is better than cure, I had asked Heather’s opinion regarding prevention. Her answer as below:-

In terms of prevention, there are lots of things we can do, for me personally, I work to spread awareness. I try to talk to people from all around the world, in an attempt to curb any misinformation and encourage others to speak out and share information. To me, awareness and positive flow of information is the best thing I can do to try to help those that still struggle with mesothelioma.  I also encourage people in the U.S to contact their senators to talk about a need for a ban on asbestos.

To me, prevention is knowledge! Sharing my story and the stores of others is powerful! Often I hear that people have never heard of mesothelioma and my goal is for everyone to know and share the dangers of asbestos and what they can do to further the conversation.

At last, I was so happy to be invited to spread awareness of Mesothelioma. I did learn a lot when write for this post.



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