Survivor Insight Series | Karen R.


Written by Nadia Persaud

Reading Time: 4 mins
Publication Date: 02/29/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite’s Article


Persaud, N. (2022, September 26). Survivor Insight Series | Karen R.. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from


Persaud, Nadia. "Survivor Insight Series | Karen R..", 26 Sep 2022,


Persaud, Nadia. "Survivor Insight Series | Karen R.." Last modified September 26, 2022.

In this week’s Survivor Insight, Karen R., a mother and wife, shares her mesothelioma experiences with us and the community. We would like to start by thanking Karen for sharing this personal moments with us all. We are withholding her last name over privacy concerns.

What were the events that led up to your diagnosis?

I went for an annual check-up and decided due to family history to get an optional (not covered by insurance) heart scan. The doctors detected fluid around my lungs during this scan. If I had not chosen to get this optional scan the cancer would have gone undetected for much longer. Therefore it was a miracle that we found the cancer as soon as we did.

After the fluid was discovered I went through many weeks of testing and procedures to find the cause of the fluid. It took them 6 weeks of testing to finally determine that I had mesothelioma.

When were you diagnosed and with what type of mesothelioma?

Doctors discovered the fluid on my lungs in March of 2006, but I wasn’t officially diagnosed with mesothelioma until late July 2006. I had malignant pleural mesothelioma of the epithelial type.

What were your biggest questions after being diagnosed?

How much time do I have left…

That was my biggest question. I had 2 sons still in high school and my daughter was to be married in a year, and after my diagnosis the question that kept running through my mind was “will I be around to see these life events?”

What are my treatment options?

What was your reaction to hearing your diagnosis was cancer?

My initial reaction was shock and anger. I have always lead a healthy lifestyle (working out, eating right, never smoked and had never worked around asbestos that I could recall)

Karen R. and FamilyWhat has been your family’s reaction?

The family’s reaction was mostly disbelief. They wanted 2nd opinions, and couldn’t understand how such a young, healthy person could get cancer.

Was your mesothelioma caused by asbestos? If so, can you remember coming in contact with asbestos?

I can’t recall ever coming into contact with asbestos, but after researching our past we found that I contracted Mesothelioma from “take-home exposure.” My husband is an electrician and he worked with some products that contained asbestos materials.

Where did you turn to for information?

The internet was my main source of information. I Googled mesothelioma and found treatment options, types of the disease, survivor stories and horror stories. In my case many of the stories I found were sad stories, which in hindsight, was unhelpful. Finding out that the survivor rate for this disease is very low was not good for my mental state.

What treatment options were you offered and what did you choose to do?

The only option I was given was total EPP surgery with 30 radiation treatments and chemotherapy with Cisplatin and Alimta.

Did you travel to a specialty center?

Yes, I live in a small town with limited cancer resources so we traveled to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I was treated by their thoracic oncology team. They were amazing and I would recommend them to anyone with this disease.

What have you found to be most helpful in dealing with your diagnosis?

Having a strong support system in my family is what helped me the most. My husband was my rock; I don’t think I could have gotten through all of the treatments without him. He never let me give up.

We hope that these Survivor Insights provide you with comfort and hope. If you would like to share your experiences with others that are going through mesothelioma treatment, please feel free to contact the outreach team at We are always looking to spread mesothelioma knowledge with others. If you would like to become a member of our mesothelioma community, you can join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or comment in the area below.