Stevens, Barbara | Surviving Mesothelioma

Stevens, Barbara

Dealing With Cancer

It seems that in today’s world, you can never foresee what challenge lurks in anticipation for your cognizance. Home, health, family, financial, and spiritual are but a few of the areas. I am going to touch on one subject concerning health: the issue of cancer.

Mesothelioma Cancer is usually caused from exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral that was and is used widely in the United States. It’s most common uses are for insulation in construction of the ceilings and walls of schools and public buildings, floor tiles, brake linings, and cement pipes. There are over several thousand products in use containing asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos is the main cause of malignant mesothelioma. These particles are too small to see with the naked eye. Asbestos was chosen for its properties of being very strong, won’t burn easily, flexible, and conducts electricity poorly.

When being exposed to asbestos, the particles break free from their confinement. They will linger in the air for a long time. Workers, or others in the vicinity, could then breathe them in or ingest them. The amount of exposure to an individual would depend on several factors: the concentration of the fibers in the air, the length of exposure, their breathing rate, weather conditions, and which protective devices the workers were wearing at that time.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational safety and Health Administration) are the federal agencies directed with the protection of workers and the regulation of environmental exposure.

Lung cancer is the most common Mesothelioma cancer. The asbestos affects the lining of the lungs and a tumor is formed. Mesothelioma signs and symptoms will vary depending on size, location, and growth. Patients usually notice chest pain and difficulty in breathing first. A variety of other problems may arise. Mesothelioma also may affect the abdominal (pleural) lining and the lining of the heart.

Doctors will run blood tests and do x-rays after the initial exam and health history is performed. Some other tests they may do are CT scans, MRI’s, Bronchoscopy, and tissue sampling. These tests are designed to determine the form of cancer, the stage, the progress, and metastasis. Malignant mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnosis because it is hard to distinguish them from other types of cancer.

Primary treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. All treatments have some side effects. These treatments may be administered alone or in any combination. The prognosis for malignant mesothelioma is on average one year. Much depends on the advancement of the tumor and a person’s overall health.

“Rhio” John O’Connor was one survivor of malignant mesothelioma lung cancer. All patients go through a series of emotions and stages when diagnosed with a devastating illness. Rhio was no exception. He was determined to fight this disease with every method at his disposal. For more information about this cancer and Rhio go to www.survivingmesothelioma.com. He wrote a book titled “They Said Months, I Said Years”. Rhio believed in a holistic approach to his situation. Research is a necessary first step. You use every resource you can imagine. Talk with family, friends, religious people, medical personnel, and anyone who will communicate with you. Out of the mouths of babes come wondrous words. There are public libraries with lots of books and computers. Now what would we do without the marvelous computer? There are at least 8 good search engines and thousands and thousands of sites with information. Please read carefully. Don’t read between the lines and misinterpret. Be thorough and diligent with your research.

Another practical treatment is diet. Certain types of diets are found very helpful. It must be strictly followed to reap the benefits. Vitamins and supplements play an important role. Rhio was taking around 100 vitamins daily. Reduce your stress level. Maintaining your physical fitness is also vital. There are still many, many other options to use and try to beat the cancer. Rhio survived until July of 2010. That was 7 ½ years after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma lung cancer. Do not forget we are only one country. The whole world is at our disposal.

I have been a nurse for almost 30 years. I have taken care of hundreds of patients with cancer. My best friend had cancer at age 5. Many of my relatives have had cancer. I am an unusual person. My body does not follow the ordinary. I had pre-cancer cells in 1991. After a year of trying to find and convince a surgeon that I needed surgery, I finally had that surgery in 2000 and they also found a cancerous tumor that was very uncommon. I have had many serious health issues. Determination, faith, and perseverance really do help. I never give up and I always am trying something to improve myself in some way.

Don’t forget the support groups that are available to us. They contain much information. There is someone who can help. You can help. Compassion and support take very little to give and can mean so much to those who receive.

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