Acheampong, Afua – Surviving Mesothelioma

Acheampong, Afua

Cancer is one of the deadliest and most painful diseases which destroys the victim slowly, and if not detected on time, might cause damage to other body organs and even the into the bone marrow. Just the sight of loved ones suffering from cancer hurts me because of the pain after surgery and the effects of the chemotherapy they had to go through. My only uncle who took care of me until I had admission in college died of stomach cancer and that has affected me psychologically. Through that I decided to work in the health field and major in nursing to take care of such people because they need love and motivation to keep them through this difficult situation. In Ghana my native country the cost of healthcare is very expensive and this makes it very difficult for patients to afford a chemotherapy treatment or even radiation to sustain them for some time.  My cousin experienced the same problem when she was affected with ovarian cancer which took her life leaving behind four young children. Rhio O’Connor’s story has inspired me in the fact that he was able to believe in his self instinct and hoped for the best even though the doctors had little to offer. Sometimes it is not all about the therapy or the medications given to keep you alive but the faith you have behind the therapy, which  might help. Facing the same challenge that Rhio faced might change my emotions for sometime because I would deny the news until later accept my fate and find ways to solve this difficult situation. Doctors specialized in that field might be of great help because they might be able to tell me more about the disease. Dr. Juan Botto of Park Plaza Specialty Hospital who specialized in respiratory was of great help because he was able to give me a positive feedback even though my primary physician couldn’t be of much help.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that frequently comes from cells lining the sacs of the chest (pleural peritoneum). This rare form of cancer is caused by asbestos and there are three different types:

1. “White asbestos also known as Chrysotile which is obtained from serpentine rock and most often used in industries.
2. Brown asbestos or Amosite found in Gunerite solid solutions found in Africa.
3. Blue asbestos also known as Riebeckite under the trade name Crocidolite which is known to be most dangerous type of all three. Asbestos is also classified as human carcinogen which causes cancer and produce pleural thickening and plaques (https://survivingmesothelioma.com/mesothelioma-asbestos.cfm)”. Most of the survival depends on the individual therapies and treatment as well as individual faith.

Symptoms: Includes shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to accumulation of fluid in the pleura area. Other symptoms include bowel obstruction, weight loss, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia and fever (www.cancermothly.com/cancer_basics/mesothelioma).

Diagnosis:  Mesothelioma does not usually grow as a well defined tumor. This makes it very difficult to aim radiation at it without affecting nearby healthy tissues, which has limited the use of radiation therapy against this cancer.

Treatment:  By using targeted drugs known as angiogenesis inhibitors that uses drugs or other substances to stop tumors from making new blood vessels. Without blood supply the cancers cannot grow effectively. Examples of these new drugs include Bevacizumab ( Avastin) and Nexavar, these drugs can target the rapid growth of these new cancer cells and stop them.

Surviving Mesothelioma depends on the four stages of the tumor:
Stage1:  Localized tumor in the homolateral pleura.
Stage2: Involvement in the mediastinal organs of the wall of the contralateral pleura.
Stage3: Subdiaphragmatic extension, this means that areas below and around the diaphragm are affected which processes into the thoracic cavity.
Stage4: Remote metastasis this stage usually occurs after surgery with the knowledge of being cancer free and all tumors removed. Later we notice  lesions and swellings at remote parts of the body and luckily enough only patients in the first are eligible for treatment and recover as soon as possible and a possibility of no growths and tumors. The last stage that is stage 4 is fatal which doctors or even therapy might not help out which tells that the cancer has reached its breaking point and nothing can diminish it. Often it has cause damage to many organs and tissues (Marie Claude Juarand and Jean Bignon, 1994- University of Paris).

Treatment outside the hospital:
1. it is sometimes advisable to speak to people you trust like your closest friends, immediate families or your personal doctor because he understand your whole situation.
2. Join recreational groups or support groups where you would find people with similar situation and there you can share ideas and inspire each other.
3. Take a walk or exercise as often because research shows that it strengthens the heart and muscles. Moreover fresh air clears the airway and brings oxygen to the body.
4. Eat small bits of three meals and never skip snacks (remember healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables).
5.  I would always have faith and a positive mind behind any radiation or therapy for a positive outcome or feedback.

Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest and rare form of cancer but when detected early can save lives. Most people seem to see the world upside down when doctors break the news to them. As families it is our responsibilities to support our loved ones suffering from this condition to make them feel comfortable good about themselves.

Work Cited
(Marie Claude Juarand and Jean Bignon, 1994- University of Paris). 
www.cancermothly.com/cancer_basics/mesothelioma
https://survivingmesothelioma.com/mesothelioma-asbestos.cfm)

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