“Jane” is 65. She hasn’t been herself since she had a cold about six months ago. She’s still coughing, still tired, and a little short of breath. She’s also lost a few pounds, but she’s wanted to lose weight for some time now, so she’s happy about that. Jane’s son finally talks her into going to see her doctor, who determines that Jane has been having a number of additional symptoms. The workup leads to a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Jane is shocked to learn that she has cancer, and that her life expectancy is probably around 12 to 18 months.
With March Madness in the air, so many people are focusing on their brackets. We're looking at the places teams will be playing as well, but for different reasons. Want to know how March Madness and the places these teams are playing relate to the world of mesothelioma and asbestos? Here are some examples:
Four years ago, Heather went to her first Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) symposium. That first symposium left a lasting impression and changed her life. The opportunity to meet with other mesothelioma warriors, their families, caregivers, and medical experts in mesothelioma treatment and research had a positive impact. It was the opportunity to meet with people who know what a mesothelioma diagnosis means. These new friends quickly became family.
Even without a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, life can be hectic and stressful at times. Trying to balance family, career, and social obligations can be challenging. Add to that unexpected events like transportation problems or a minor illness and the stress levels can rise. Add a cancer diagnosis and life can be overwhelming! The chaos after the diagnosis is one of the first challenges most caregivers face. You may find yourself not knowing what to do or how to cope with all the choices and challenges confronting you. Here are a few tips to help deal with the chaos and stress of being a new caregiver.
Among the many challenges in treating malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is the limitation we have in not really being able to do larger, randomized trials easily, particularly in the small subset of patients who are really strong candidates for more aggressive treatment options (like surgery, which is typically a big procedure even by the standards of lung surgery.) The most aggressive protocols involve a sequence of chemotherapy, surgery, and chest radiation. What these studies tend to show is that there are certainly some patients who do extremely well after the most aggressive “multimodality therapy” for MPM. But do they do well because of the aggressive therapy or because they qualified for it?
With spring creeping up on us, spring cleaning and DIY projects may be filling up your to-do list. However, these tasks may require more steps and tools than you bargained for if you live in an older home. Asbestos, a known carcinogen to cause mesothelioma cancer, is found in 80% of structures built prior to 1980’s. If you are beginning a home renovation project, educating yourself on where you could possibly find asbestos in your home is the first and most important step to take.
Celebrated since the early 1900’s, March 8th marks the International Women’s Day. This day has been recognized as a day to honor women all over the world who are enacting societal changes in the world’s attitude toward women’s rights and equality. Today, women are breaking into many roles as CEOs, government officials, and social activists while still holding important traditional roles as mothers. In earlier celebrations, International Women’s Day highlighted the struggles of women to earn equality, while today many celebrations are highlighting successes of women’s hard work in their communities.
This scripture was on a card sent to me by a friend shortly after he found out I had cancer. When I opened the card, and read those words, I sobbed. I sobbed because it was EXACTLY what I needed to read and needed to know, that I would be ok. It was those words that got me through some very scary times in these last 7 years. Those words were, and still are, my lifeline.
A cancer diagnosis can bring out the fighting spirit in many patients. Despite grim statistics and difficult treatments, read these inspirational stories of women who looked their prognosis in the eye and kicked cancer's butt! Their diagnosis not only inspired these strong women to fight for their life, but it also inspired them to give back to the cancer community in huge ways. By starting organizations, businesses, and events to name a few, these women are spreading awareness and hope to so many fighting similar battles.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank Shelia Philyaw, the Advocate of the Month for March. In an interview with Shelia, we learned how cancer has affected her family, with mesothelioma affecting her mother. As a nurse, Shelia has been a key caregiver for her family and wanted to share her story, knowledge and support with the MCA community.
The 40.3 million people who watched the Oscars this past Sunday saw the impressive James Bond tribute. It's been a great year for the 50-year-old franchise. Over the past 5 decades, many songs and faces were made famous by being so closely associated with the franchise. Here are some other facts about the series that may not be as well known, but are as deadly as Bond himself:
When diagnosed with cancer, a patients diet and eating habits are one of the many things that change drastically. It’s important for a cancer patient to be aware of their diet and start to incorporate the types of foods that will benefit them in their fight against cancer. To avoid things such as cachexia and anorexia, which are problems faced by many cancer patients, a healthy diet is imperative in helping the body to heal efficiently.
Our nation’s veterans are the population most at risk for developing mesothelioma. Because asbestos exposure was unavoidable for many, mesothelioma is still one of the most deadly diseases that affect veterans even today.
A cancer diagnosis is not only extremely physically demanding for a person as they begin treatment; a diagnosis is also very challenging mentally as well. For a patient beginning their journey through their disease, 20+ year cancer survivor, author, and CEO and President of The Cancer Club, Christine Clifford provides 9 tips to stay mentally and emotionally strong.
A cancer diagnosis is a difficult and life changing situation for anyone. Often when people receive the news, their families gather around them for support. Some try to underplay the importance of family and claim that the patient needs to create a better mental space for him or herself. However, the role that family plays in a cancer patient’s life is simply undeniable.
This morning in our thoracic oncology tumor board discussion, we reviewed a case of a 72 year-old man who is now diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) that is too advanced to consider surgery, and who is rather debilitated from emphysema and other longstanding medical problems. The best studied treatment for MPM is the chemotherapy combination of cisplatin and Alimta (pemetrexed), which has a proven survival benefit compared with cisplatin alone1. But cisplatin is an older chemotherapy agent that is notoriously challenging for even many fit patients to tolerate. This raises the question of whether there might be an alternative approach for patients who are unlikely or unwilling to tolerate the anticipated side effects of a cisplatin/Alimta combination, which often include nausea/vomiting, possible kidney damage, hearing loss, peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling from nerve damage), and sometimes other issues not typically seen with carboplatin. The data from a large European registry2 provide reassurance that the generally better tolerated combination of carboplatin/Alimta can provide comparable benefit for patients who are not candidates for the standard cisplatin-based regimen.
Thinking of getting wrist deep in a home DIY project you saw on Pinterest? Still using an ancient appliance from your first apartment because it seems to be just as good as new? While many of us may have an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude, some of your best money saving ideas can pose a serious health risk. Within your home and other unexpected places like schools and appliances, asbestos, a carcinogen known to cause asbestosis and mesothelioma, can linger.
Today we are very excited to welcome Jan Egerton to the MCA blog to share her incredible story. In catching up with Jan on Facebook, she graciously offered to answer some common questions that all of you in the community often ask. We are happy to share her answers full of strength and valuable information. To connect with Jan, read her blog at Jan's Journey.
The 7th Annual Lungleavin Day is all but a memory now. The remnants of a great night are all around; the shards of plates around the cold coals of the extinguished fire, the ice lanterns are nothing more than globes of ice, the dining room table still has the serving dishes used for the night sitting on it, all cleaned and waiting to be put in the storage bin until next year. The silent auction donations are still in their places and phone calls have been made to all the winners. This week will be spent delivering them and picking up the donations so generously made for mesothelioma research. What can't be seen is the gratitude that my husband, daughter and I have in our hearts for all of the love and support that so many have given us.
Today, February 4th, is World Cancer Day. Tag your loved one who is fighting, has survived, or has lost the battle to cancer on our Memory Candle and SHARE it to keep the flame burning!