insert alt text

This past weekend, members of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance had the pleasure of attending the 12th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference in Washington D.C. The weekend conference (April 8-10) included 40 speakers from 10 different countries — countless family members, workers, individuals and organizations affected by asbestos. As a participant in the event, the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance live tweeted the presentations to connect the insights of the conference to our audience on social media. The theme of the 2016 conference, “Where Knowledge and Action Unite,” focused on medical advancements, prevention techniques, and global advocacy.

Mesothelioma cancer survivor and advocate Heather Von St. James shared her story and stressed the importance of embracing hope. “There is so much power in sharing your story, getting involved, and having a voice,” she said at the conference. “Hope can be the difference for patients and families struggling with the personal costs of this disease.”

We also heard success stories from patients who have chosen to be the faces of this disease. Mavis Nye, UK mesothelioma warrior and current participant in a clinical trial exploring the effects of Keytruda®, joined the conference via Skype to share her journey. Throughout the trial, Mavis has seen gradual shrinkage of her tumors. On her last scan, her doctor told her there is no active mesothelioma in her lungs.

Paul Zygielbaum, another patient using Keytruda®, has seen a favorable outcome using infusion treatments. Previously, chemotherapy and radiation had failed to deter tumor growth. Paul also shared the success of Keytruda® for Lou Williams, as she was unable to attend the conference. Lou has been working tirelessly on a petition to fast track the treatment on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to alleviate the costs of the infusions.

All of the great work accomplished at the International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference could not have been completed without the leadership of Linda Reinstein. As the President and Co-Founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), Linda has selflessly given time, expertise and support to awareness surrounding the disease including the preparation of this conference every April.

“The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization conferences are consistent,” Reinstein says. “Building on the momentum, each of the four sessions leads with a victim personalizing the topic. through their story, their pain, and the facts. The power of our conferences is the diversity of our attendees and the conversations when doctors are sitting next to victims and unionists are sitting next to a unionist from another country. We strive to be unique and present the cutting-edge information to our global audience.”

We were honored to attend this wonderful event that brings together so many voices to eradicate the use of asbestos.

As ADAO says, “Hear Asbestos. Think Prevention.”