Survivor Calls for Increased Awareness of Mesothelioma

Awareness & Research

I’ll be honest, when I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma three years ago, I didn’t know exactly what it was.

If it weren’t for the asbestos law firms running commercials every day, I wouldn’t have ever heard the word mesothelioma, much less know its meaning. It’s a cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, a highly toxic mineral used in many products.

The truth of the matter is that this cancer is aggressive and deadly, and it still flies silently under the radar, compared to other types of cancers, because it’s less prevalent.

Take for instance, breast cancer. American Cancer Society records show more than 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. That’s a devastating statistic and it’s why tons of money, awareness and research are poured into finding a cure.

Unfortunately, those of us in the asbestos cancer category get less attention because fewer than 3,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year. On the positive side, asbestos is being phased out of most products in the U.S. and thank God there are physicians working feverishly to eradicate this disease. But it’s not enough.

Questions Remain, Despite Campaigns to Raise Awareness

Congress in 2010 declared September 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Since then, many events have been planned throughout the U.S. to bring attention to the disease. This is a great start, but it’s not the end. In the meantime, we must continue to raise awareness and let people know there are still lives being lost from a building material used many years ago that remains in our existing buildings.

There are still schools in my community with exposed asbestos. It pains me every time I think about students going to school to learn, but could later develop mesothelioma for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is my desire to meet with my state representatives to ensure that asbestos abatement is performed at every school with exposed asbestos in my parish.

Because asbestos is a thing of the past, I don’t feel that anyone takes it seriously.

I have come across many in the medical community who are still in the dark about mesothelioma. I get asked all the time, “Isn’t that caused by asbestos? What is it?” These questions let me know there is lots of work to be done.

I have been actively speaking about asbestos cancer, its causes and lingering effects.

I encourage you to take time on Thursday to remember those who have lost their battle and inform at least 10 people of this terrible disease. My customers will walk into my bakery on Thursday and find blue cupcakes for asbestos awareness and Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

I will hand out blue wristbands from to every customer who enters my place of business. They will not only learn what mesothelioma means, but they will be able to put a face to the disease, and remember that others and I continue fighting and winning.