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Thank you for visiting the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog. Our authors are dedicated to providing timely, informative, and inspiring articles about mesothelioma.

2 0 1 5May26

My Decade of Survivorship

Heather Von St. James

Today is a day I was never meant to live, this year was one I wasn’t supposed to see, this life is one I wasn’t supposed to have.

No one ever prepares you to fight for your life. When your reality becomes just that, learning that your existence is not guaranteed, your world becomes something you could have never imagined. I always wanted to be a mother, and after marrying the most amazing man, I was ready to be a parent. We would be a new family. I would become a mother, and find a new kind of unconditional love. After giving birth to our daughter, I was overjoyed. That joy suddenly faded after losing weight and strength in my body, feeling that I could not physically breathe. I was concerned, but attributed the weight loss to my recent pregnancy. Finally feeling that something more was actually to blame, I saw a doctor, and was told I had mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. I was given 15 months to live. That was 10 years ago. Throughout the last ten years I have devoted my life to spreading awareness of the dangers of asbestos, sharing hope, and supporting others on their path towards a cancer-free life.

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Clinical trials are critical to finding and advancing treatments for mesothelioma patients. Since its inception in 2002, the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been conducting a series of clinical trials to evaluate various treatment options for patients before, during and after surgery. At any given time, our experts within the IMP are conducting multiple treatment clinical/research trials—with some having lasted over a decade.

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2 0 1 5May15

2015 ADAO International Asbestos Awareness Conference Recap

Cameron and Heather at the 2015 ADAO conference

I always look forward to conferences, to me, they’re like a family reunion. They’re a reunion you look forward to. They’re a reunion with the cool relatives you actually like to spend time with. My wife Heather, a mesothelioma cancer survivor, calls conferences cancer camp-- like summer camp, but without the canoeing and backpacking. No matter what we call it, Heather and I always have a great time and make new friends. 

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Woman patient

This week is National Women’s Health Week, a week intended to make sure that all women and girls take control of their health and begin to lead a healthier life at any age. This week is primarily about education and letting women know how to prevent the diseases most likely to affect them. Although it can be intimidating to consider life changing diseases, the best time to be informed is prior to having an issue or diagnosis. And, as it turns out with many issues in women’s health, taking small steps now to assist in the prevention of disease can drastically reduce your likelihood of developing issues later on.

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Occupational Safety and Health Week

According to Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, every employee has the right to know what their potential workplace hazards are. But how do you know what types of hazards you should be really concerned about? This week we’re celebrating the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week by sharing some tips for considering the safety of your workplace.

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HIPPA and cancer

HIPPA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and became law in 1996. This law protects your health information that is directly linked to you by your name, address, social security number, insurance identification number, etc. It gave physicians, hospitals, nurses and healthcare practitioners time to comply with the law.

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New, promising immunotherapy

Mesothelioma is diagnosed in about 3000 patients in the USA each year. For decades, only academic scientists and clinicians focused on finding effective treatments for mesothelioma. For rare diseases like mesothelioma, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to provide incentives to companies that develop products for treatment of rare diseases through a program known as the Orphan Drug Designation program.

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Olivia Current at a Relay for Life event

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance recently caught up with Olivia Current, a four-year Acute Myeloid Leukemia survivor and the first recipient of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Scholarship. Since her diagnosis at age 16, Olivia has been beating the odds and looking forward to her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse. In the future, Olivia hopes to inspire, encourage, and heal other sick children. Here’s what Olivia had to say:

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