Mesothelioma Your Basic Information
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is becoming more and more common. The most common cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos. When constantly exposed with insufficient protection, asbestos dust and fibres affect the mesothelial cells which make up the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the outer lining that protects some of the body's most vital organs such as the heart and lungs. The mesothelial cells become abnormal after lengthy periods of constant exposure to asbestos causing an array of problems.
Due to the latency period and symptoms of this cancer, mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose. Mesothelioma takes decades to mature and develop fully and this is why many elderly men who were exposed to asbestos thirty years before are just discovering they have the cancer. A lot of these men are currently lodging multi-million dollar lawsuits against the companies that exposed them to the dangers of asbestos without sufficient protection.
The organs that are affected most by mesothelioma are the lungs. The most common type of mesothelioma which is called pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and can cause symptoms such as coughing, breathing and swallowing difficulties, shortness of breath and fever. Another area that can be affected by mesothelioma is the abdomen. This is less common and this is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include nausea and vomiting, weight loss, fever, bowel obstruction, loss of appetite and general pain in the stomach area. The last and least common type of mesothelioma is known as pericardial mesothelioma and it affects the heart and the tissue surrounding it. Symptoms of this form of the cancer include palpitations, breathing difficulties and persistent coughing. Generally, the symptoms of mesothelioma are typical of many other diseases and this makes it very difficult to diagnose.
Mesothelioma A Cancer You Shouldn T Have Had To Deal With
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. This disease attacks the protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs and in almost all cases is fatal, although new treatments for cancer are always underdevelopment giving us hope we may live cancer free sometime in the future.
You can avoid mesothelioma by not exposing yourself to asbestos. Typically a worker was exposed to asbestos on their job. In the past asbestos was widely used in the large industrial manufacturing industry, the automotive industry and the heating and ventilating industry. Typical exposure is from inhaling asbestos dust a by product of manufacturing. When the worker goes home, their family experiences secondary exposure to the asbestos dust on their clothing.
In residential construction during 1960's and 1970's, asbestos was commonly use to seal leaks and seams on heating ducts in residential houses and in other heating and ventilation systems. Exposure to asbestos dust comes when the asbestos seal begins to breakdown and gives off the deadly asbestos dust particles. So, if you are buying an older home, be certain to have it inspected for asbestos. If found, asbestos can be removed or sealed with a protective cover to prevent exposure to humans.
Detection of mesothelioma and drawing the connection between work-related hazards wasn't always realized. It has only come to light recently that large corporations were negligent in exposing their workers to asbestos dust. This is due to the fact that it takes some time for the cancer to form. Most families were so consumed with helping their loved ones; they failed to realize the cancer they were battling was actually caused by the working conditions of a loved one.
If an individual was exposed to asbestos during their working career then the corporation employing them is at fault and is responsible for the damages resulting from the asbestos caused mesothelioma. Individuals and families battling mesothelioma and facing the loss of a loved one need realize and understand their legal rights.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma then you need to consult with a mesothelioma lawyer to understand your legal rights. This type of lawyer is experienced with asbestos related cases and taking on the large corporations and winning. Typically, a mesothelioma lawyer will review your case at little or no charge to evaluate if you have a case. If it is determined you do they will handle the lawsuit for damages from the corporation responsible.
It is a shame to think your life or a loved ones life is cut short due to the negligence of a corporation not controlling the exposure to asbestos. You may be uncomfortable with a lawsuit, but it is your legal right to seek adequate compensation for your life or a loved ones being cut short and the resulting impact of not being able to provide for the family any longer.
Asbestos caused mesothelioma is a preventable disease and it's sad to think an employee who works hard for a corporation is actually killed slowly by the exposure to asbestos. If you're dealing with mesothelioma in your life, seek the help of a mesothelioma lawyer to ensure your financial future peace of mind while you and your family deal with the loss of a loved one.
What Is Mesothelioma Sarcoma?
Between the two forms of tumors of the mesothelioma, which are either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), the latter is more common and dangerous, popularly known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is characterized by its dangerous potential to spread to other parts of the body.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are three different types of Mesothelioma:
1) Ephitheliod: It affects the membranous tissue covering the internal organs and surfaces of the body. Though majority of the mesothelioma cases occurring today belong to this type, it has the best prognosis (outlook for survival or treatment).
2) Sarcomatoid: It is also known as mesothelioma sarcoma. It arises from supportive tissues such as bones, muscles, cartilages and fats. About 7% to 20% of mesothelioma cases are of this type.
3) Mixed/Biphasic: 20% to 35% of mesothelioma cases belong to this type. It carries both the features of the above two types.
The treatment options remain the same for all the types.
Physical Aspects of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma arising from the chest cavity are known as pleural mesothelioma and amounts to an approximate three fourths of the total cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which starts and spreads in the abdomen, constitutes 10% to 20% mesothelioma cases. Mesothelioma affecting the covering of the testicles, which is in fact an out- pouching of peritoneum into the scrotum, is rather uncommon. Cases of Pericardial Mesothelioma that starts in the cavities of the heart are also very rare.
Mesothelioma and the Masses
New cases of mesothelioma, even though they are less common, amount from 2000 to 3000 every year only in the United States. Most of the patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are from the age group of 50 years and above with majority being the people in the seventies.
This is primarily due to their exposure to asbestos in the 1940s and 1950s or even earlier. Exposure victims of later year's i.e.1970s and 1980s are yet to be diagnosed. Men are more susceptible than females with male victims constituting 3 to 5 times higher in numbers than females. This is probably because during that period women liberation movements were started, which resulted into barring them from construction works. On the racial parameters, it is more common among the Caucasians than African Americans.
Even though mesothelioma sarcoma cases are rare, they are extremely dangerous. People diagnosed with the disease are mostly in their last and critical stages, making their treatment more difficult in comparison to other forms of cancer. The survival time ranges from one to two years. With unparallel advancements in modern science and medical technology, chances of mesothelioma treatment and recovery have always been increasing.
The good news is that the patients suffering from mesothelioma sarcoma can file lawsuits for seeking compensation against the companies responsible for asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma History Hazards And Dietary Advice
History of asbestos.
There are four main types of asbestos; Amosite (brown fibers), Anthophyllite (gray fibers), white Christie, and blue Crocidolite. Chrysotile has curly fibers while the other three have rod like fibers. These fibers fragment into dust quite readily and waft into the air. They can adhere to skin or clothing and are easily swallowed or inhaled.
Half a century ago, asbestos was hailed by many as a miracle product. They said nearly anything could be made from this mineral. It as used as an additive to reinforce mortar and plastics. Asbestos fibers can also be separated into fine threads that do not conduct electricity and are unaffected by heat or chemicals.
Use of asbestos drastically increased during World War II. Shipbuilding incorporated asbestos extensively in freighters and support vessels to insulate boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes. Asbestos became the miracle construction material as it was readily obtained, processed, and transported. After WWII cars used asbestos in brake shoes and clutch pads. Asbestos found its way into residential and industrial building materials, water supply, sewage materials, ceiling and floor tiles, and vermiculite garden materials to name a few products.
In the 1970's, following the discoveries of the health dangers of asbestos dust inhalation, the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission prohibited the use of asbestos in several products that could liberate asbestos fibers into the environment during use. Regulations governing the use of asbestos and public concern since 1970 have created a significant drop in the use of asbestos in the United States. The same pattern has been seen in most of the developed world.
In 1989 all new uses of asbestos were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency while any old uses before that year were still allowed. The EPA suggested that schools inspect for damaged asbestos and eliminate any exposure or enclose it in protective barriers. Vermiculite, widely used in horticulture, became a concern of the EPA . They recommended outdoor use, limiting the amount of dust used, and keeping vermiculite damp.
Asbestos may create serious health hazards such as coughing, lung damage, shortness of breath, and lung cancer. Most people do not become sick in the early stages of contact but usually need continued exposure. This often means on jobs such as mining, milling, manufacturing asbestos products, and the building construction industry. Firemen, demolition and destruction workers, drywall removers, and anyone else involved in trades that involve destruction of buildings, ships, and automobiles are also exposed to the hazards of asbestos.
Over a number of years continual exposure to asbestos can cause very serious health problems, such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare type of carcinoma of the membrane that lines numerous cavities of the body, including the lungs, abdomen and heart, and has been associated with exposure to asbestos dust. In mesothelioma, the cells of the mesothelioma metastasize and damage adjacent organs and tissues.
Mesothelioma may not develop for a long period of time, often as long as twenty-five or thirty-five years before full blown symptoms appear. Not all workers who have been exposed will develop diseases, but workers who have been exposed to it may bring fibers on their clothing, hair, shoes, and skin home to their families. To circumvent this risk, most industries require workers to bathe and change their clothing before they leave work.
Dietary advice for Mesothelioma patients
Doctors and nutritionists may recommend a special cancer diet because many mesothelioma patients tend to lose their appetites due to worry over their condition. Also, those who are undergoing treatment may choose not to eat because of the unpleasant side effects they may experience. Chemotherapy and some medications may cause an imbalance of nutrients that must be corrected in order to keep the body as strong as possible and to keep the patient from losing an excessive amount of weight. Other side effects of mesothelioma treatment can include nausea, vomiting, constipation,dry mouth and a change in the sense of smell or taste.
In our childhood we were all told to eat our vegetables. Forcing down cabbage and sprouts was supposed to make us bigger and stronger. Well, so it is for mesothelioma patients. Diet is often an overlooked subject for cancer patients, but eating the right nutritional foods for strength and energy is just as important as taking the proper medication.
Mesothelioma patients undergoing treatment must follow a special cancer diet devised by their nutritionists. The details of every patient's mesothelioma diet will vary. Some patients will need to incorporate more fat into their diets, while others may need more protein. Cancer diets involve eating the correct amounts of protein and calories as well as drinking the right amount of water to keep the ailing body replenished and energized. The body needs plenty of nourishment when it is going through chemotherapy or even when the patient is taking certain medications.
It is important that patients devise a cancer diet under the guidance of their doctor and nutritionist to ensure that they obtain the proper amount of nutrients to improve their quality of life.
Protein is important for any cancer patient because it helps repair tissue damaged by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Protein also helps maintain a strong and healthy immune system, lowering a mesothelioma patient's risk of infection after aggressive cancer treatments. The National Cancer Institute recommends increasing protein in a cancer diet with cheese, milk, ice cream, yoghurt, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, meats and fish.
Fats are an essential part of the cancer diet because they supply the body with the necessary energy it needs while undergoing treatment. The amount of fats a cancer diet should consist of is dependent on a mesothelioma patient's age and body size. The National Cancer Institute recommends increasing caloric intake with such foods as butter, milk, cheese, honey, sugar, granola and dried fruits.
Water is another essential component of the cancer diet. Without a significant amount of water, the body will dehydrate. It is important that anyone undergoing cancer treatment drink sufficient water to keep their bodies hydrated and replenished.
Cancer Mesothelioma It Is A Born Killer
What is mesothelioma?
The pericardium is the mesothelial tissue that surrounds and acts as a safeguard to the heart. The pleural mesothelium membrane covers the lungs and chest cavity and peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that enfolds the organs in the abdominal cavity.
What is actually cancer mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a dual layered membrane with which our chest, lungs, abdomen and the heart is wrapped safely.
Cancer Mesothelioma can damage any of these cells, although pleural mesothelioma is more common; it metastasizes and at an advanced stage the disease reach to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
How is cancer mesothelioma caused?
Though asbestos exposure is the primary reason in 70% to 80% of the cases, mesothelioma can be caused by other means, like exposure to the chemical zeolite that is also present in asbestos.
Asbestos has become part of our daily life being in cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. The asbestos fibers take their toll by going into our windpipe and settling in the internal organs causing the formation of carcinogenic tumors.
The overall scenario regarding cancer mesothelioma
Though there is a ban on certain asbestos products, around 1000 people in France and above 2000 people in the U.S are faced with this nightmare each year.
Mostly, workers from shipyards, asbestos mines and mills are prone to this mishap, due to a constant exposure to asbestos. However, it takes 30 to 50 years for the disease to surface and show symptoms though they are not always accurate.
Cancer mesothelioma is proving more than a menace and the average person live for 12-24 months; the earlier it is detected, the better is the cure process.
The recent picture
Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have put restrictions towards maintaining acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos are geared up with individual protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Even the family members of the workers are prone to the disease, so they are advised to take a shower before leaving for home.
Symptoms of cancer mesothelioma
-Feeling out of breath and pain in the chest due to an accretion of fluid in the pleura
-Peritoneal mesothelioma comprises weight loss and abdominal pain and a bulging abdomen due to accumulation of fluid
-Bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever
-Pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face
However, a registered medical practitioner can diagnose you correctly.
Diagnosis of cancer mesothelioma
Diagnosis commences with an assessment of the patient's medical history, as well as any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including:
-X-rays of the chest or abdomen
-A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a sequence of comprehensive pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine
-In an MRI, a strong magnet connected to a computer is used to draw meticulous pictures of areas affected by cancer mesothelioma inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed
-A biopsy regarding the taking out of a sample tissue for examination is needed to verify a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Types of biopsy depending on the location of the tumor are thoracoscopy, peritoneoscopy
Lastly, the stage of the disease is important to the doctor for the correct diagnosis.
Cancer mesothelioma treatment
Treatment of cancer mesothelioma yields results depending on the site of the cancer, the phase of the disease, and the patient's physical condition. The usual treatments for cancer mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Occasionally, these treatments are combined.
Surgery is an effective way to remove tumor but the age of the person matters. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are good ways to ward off the symptoms.
Often, high-end drugs are given to the patient to reduce the fluid formation in body.
Thus, it is better for the workers to get a medical check up at equal intervals and be aware of its symptoms. If a patient is diagnosed with cancer mesothelioma at the earliest stage, the treatments might do wonders for him.
Is Mesothelioma A Sleeping Dragon
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a substance found naturally. It is made of strong flexible fibres. It was used extensively in industry because the fibres are not affected by heat or chemicals and a poor conductor of electricity. It is estimated that over 5,000 products have or had asbestos in them.
Of the six types of asbestos, only four are used commercially. These are chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite and anthrophyllite. Of these, crysotile or white asbestos accounts for 99% used in USA. In it natural state or well contained and maintained in products, asbestos do not pose a real hazard. It is when asbestos is broken down and fibres are released that there is concern.
Asbestos fibres are very thin and sharp. The fibre is 2,000 times thinner than a human hair. It measures under 0.3 microns or one millionth of a millimetre in diameter and five microns in length. It is not visible with the naked eye or through a microscope.
When released, the fibres remain in the atmosphere for a long time and can be carried great distances. When the fibres are inhaled, they stick to the lung tissue and are not expelled by breathing out or coughing. Some remain in the lungs, others gravitate into the pleural lining.
Asbestos exposure can lead to disease and develops over a long period of time. Asbestos related diseases are asbestosis, pleural plaques and lung cancers. The lung cancer can be either cancer of the lung itself or mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining. These cancers can take between 20 and 50 years to develop.
A recent article in a UK Newspaper highlighted the case of a Hospital Consultant who developed mesothelioma. He cannot recall any exposure to asbestos. It may well be that he was inadvertently exposed to asbestos without his knowledge i.e. such as living in the vicinity of a factory that leaked asbestos into the atmosphere.
Professor Peto has shown that new cases of mesothelioma will continue to increase in the early part of the twenty first century. He also said, "Every single person in the UK has asbestos in their lungs. It is the level of exposure that is important."
We also know that people who has a history of asbestos exposure has a greater risk of lung cancer if they smoked. In a survey in 1992, 2602 individuals with lung cancer were interviewed. One in eight was exposed to asbestos and of these a third still smoked. A US study suggested that non-smokers exposed to asbestos have a five times greater risk of lung cancer. If they smoked, then the risk increased by a factor of 11. Smoking and asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung cancer to 52 times that of the general population.
At present no one knows how many lung cancers are due to asbestos exposure because of the long latency period and that cigarette smoking remains the major cause. Mesothelioma, however, is caused by asbestos exposure and this has been the basis of numerous high value legal claims.
As for the future, in the USA and Europe, asbestos related diseases will gradually increase to a peak. Of concern, however, are areas of conflict. In the Middle East, when a building was bombed, or when numerous buildings were bombed during the invasion of Iraq, do we have any idea how much asbestos was released into the atmosphere?
We are, however, certain that during the 9/11 disaster, asbestos fibres were released. When the Twin Tower collapsed, there were 400 tons of asbestos in the structure. The toxic cloud that hung over Manhattan, contained high level of asbestos. It is estimated that over 100,000 people suffered asbestos exposure. The greatest exposure was amongst first responders. Deborah Reeve was the first to die from asbestos related disease after 9/11. She was a first responder and paramedic. She died in March 2005 from mesothelioma. This concerned experts because mesothelioma takes a very long time to develop. They concluded that her exposure must have been excessive.
A study result showed that 70% of recovery and rescue workers who were active during and after the World Trade Centre collapse had some form of respiratory problem. A six year follow up study showed that sufferers with respiratory problems continue to have the same ailments.
"In the six years since the attacks," Nadler said, "We have accumulated a mountain of evidence that thousands of those exposed are suffering from chronic respiratory disease and, increasingly, a variety of rare cancers."
Hopefully, as experts predict, within the next few years asbestos related diseases will peak and the annual new cases will drop. If not, could it be a sleeping dragon about to wake up?
Mesothelioma Your Health In Jeopardy
Are you at risk of Mesothelioma?
If you are above 40 and have ever been exposed to asbestos continuously for more than 2 months in last 15-40 years, then you are at risk of Mesothelioma. It is a rare but deadly cancer of membrane cells, which covers some vital parts of our body like lungs, abdominal cavity and heart, called mesothelium. Like in other cancers, in mesothelioma the membrane cells divide ruthlessly causing abnormal growth, which ultimately damage the lining of vital organ such as lungs and abdomen.
Causes of Mesothelioma
Asbestos a mineral, used in different processes including building, shipyard and manufacturing in the days of World War II and for a few more decades, is the main cause of Mesothelioma. Researches have proved that those who have worked in asbestos related industries are mostly at risk of Mesothelioma. The minute asbestos particles go into human body through nose or mouth during inhalation, talking or any other reason. They reach lungs or abdomen and damage the lining, causing Mesothelioma. Due to its long latency period, mesothelioma can attack you even 15 - 40 years after the inhalation of asbestos particles. Even the family members of person working in asbestos related industries could be vulnerable to mesothelioma.
Treatments for Mesothelioma
Because Mesothelioma is a newly found disease, many doctors may not be able to diagnose it. However, if you have a known history of asbestos exposure you should ask your doctor to look for the symptoms of this disease. The good news is that there is a treatment for mesothelioma in the early stages. Some treatment options for mesothelioma cancers are surgical removal of the effected tissues; chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, the prognosis of later stage mesothelioma patients is bleak and the average survival time after diagnosis is 12-24 months.
The owners of Asbestos related industries were quite aware of the health hazards of asbestos. However, they persisted with its use without issuing any warnings or taking steps for avoiding the health hazards. This is the reason why US courts have awarded huge sums as compensations to the Mesothelioma patients/families by the companies/persons responsible for causing asbestos exposure.
What Exactly Puts People At Risk For Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a very serious disease. One of the reasons it is so serious is that many people do not know what puts them at risk for mesothelioma. The basic risk of getting mesothelioma has to do with asbestos exposure. Asbestos is very common in many things and therefore it is not very difficult to be exposed to it.
The first cause is exposure to asbestos through one's occupation. This is very common in several different occupations. People who work in shipbuilding trades, asbestos mining and milling, the manufacturing of asbestos products (such as textiles), insulation work in construction and building, and brake repair are at risk. There are also many other occupations that involve asbestos exposure. Men are often associated with higher mesothelioma risk because many of the asbestos-related jobs are often held by men.
Smoking increases the risk for mesothelioma tenfold. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lungs, and the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the lungs beyond repair. When cigarette smoke is coupled with asbestos, the risks for developing mesothelioma and other lung cancers are increased greatly. Persons who smoke should make every effort to stop smoking in order to protect their lungs.
Environmental exposure to asbestos can also increase the risk of developing mesothelioma. Persons who live in neighborhoods near asbestos milling or manufacturing plants should be aware of the potential risk factors. Vermiculite, which is a non-asbestos mineral silicate, was mined at Libby Montana. It was later found to be heavily contaminated with asbestos. Many children played in the vermiculite slag heaps that were located throughout the town. These children later developed mesothelioma. There are 28 sites throughout the USA that received Libby mine vermiculite that have been selected for a community-wide evaluation of asbestos disease.
Another risk of developing mesothelioma is using products that contain asbestos. Asbestos is in a very large number of consumer products, including many that are used today. Products such as electric blankets, heat guns, curling irons, molding clays, deep fryers, slow cookers, frying pans, dry wall patch, fake fireplace logs, dry wall patch, and pipe wrap insulation could put one at risk. There are also many other products that contain, or have had exposure to, asbestos. There are many asbestos-containing products that have been banned by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Unfortunately, there are still products that contain asbestos. It is a good idea to avoid using these products if possible, in order to reduce the risk of mesothelioma.
Asbestos Killed My Husband
He was only a child when it begun
And he played as children do
In his yard with his toy cars and tip trucks
But his sand was asbestos blue...
In December 1999, my husband and I were walking home from a game of lawn bowls when I became aware of his shortness of breath. I was surprised and concerned when he told me that he had experienced this on several occasions. Believing this to be due to chest a infection, I made a doctor's appointment for him the next day.
Chest X-rays revealed fluid on the lungs, over two litres of which was drained, giving Brian immediate relief, but it was a tense wait for the pathology results. Through the Internet I had become aware of several conditions which may have been responsible for fluid on the lung; these included asbestos- related diseases. Brian had lived in Wittenoom as a child and I was afraid of his diagnosis. Not wanting to worry him unnecessarily, I did not mention my fears to him. I prayed that he had pleurisy or pneumonia but the pathology results revealed that there were cancer cells present.
When Brian finally received his diagnosis, my worst nightmare became reality. He had pleural mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lung caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust. We found it inconceivable that the disease was the result of Brian inhaling asbestos dust as a child and that it had lain dormant for forty-five years before become lethal.
We were still reeling from the shock when, without preamble, the young doctor gave his prognosis. His exact words were, "Three to nine months, I reckon". That he could say this so unfeelingly amazed me. His total lack of compassion did not encourage even the small comfort of tears. I felt as if Brian and I had been shot and from that moment on we were waiting to drop.
Undoubtedly, were mortally wounded. We suffered shock, disbelief, anger, helplessness and utter despair; in fact all the symptoms of grief one feels when a loved one has actually died. Suddenly, we had no control over our lives, our journey through terminal illness had begun.
Throughout the course of our married life my deep love for Brian and my determination to resolve difficulties had seen us through many trials. I found it hard to believe that nothing could be done to save his life and begun surfing the Internet for information regarding mesothelioma, all the time praying for a miracle, hoping against hope to find a doctor who had successfully operated on or cured someone of it.
It was a sad realization to discover that for Brian there were no miracles; however, I learned a lot and it helped me to accept that he was dying. With my acceptance came a fierce determination to ease his burden. I continued to seek information regarding mesothelioma and the pain and symptoms Brian would experience, due to the progression of his disease. In this way, I came to understand the importance of pain management and symptom control and realized that although I could not stop Brian from dying - I could help him to live.
My acquired knowledge regarding pain and symptom management enabled me to communicate with Brian and to understand the type of pain he was experiencing and the intensity of that pain. I was then able to work hand in hand with his doctors, to bring his pain and symptoms under control. As my efforts resulted in his improved quality of life, I lost my sense of helplessness and gained strength.
Together, we achieved for Brian, a quality of life few thought possible, considering the nature of his disease. Testament to this, despite his prognosis of three to nine months, Brian survived for 2 years, remained active and alert, drove his car for eighteen months after diagnosis and was not bed bound until three short days prior to his death.
Brian's courageous battle with mesothelioma came to an end on the 24th December 2001; he passed away at home surrounded by his loved ones. He was 54 years old.
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