First of all, you may be wondering what mesothelioma is, and why I should be scared of it ?
Mesothelioma is the medical name for cancer of the lung, and is usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Symptoms my not appear for up to 50 years or so after exposure to asbestos, and people who haven’t had any contact with asbestos for many years, are now showing signs of having this deadly disease. The symptoms are usually shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pains and feeling very tired.
Why should I be scared of it ?
As a small child, I used to live near a factory which used asbestos to make fire-proof products and other insulating materials for the building industry. I believe that asbestos was also used in the manufacture of break linings. I can remember seeing the asbestos dust that spewed out of the factory covering the surrounding area (including part of our school playground) with this deadly snow like powder. Of course, as we were just kids at that time, we had absolutely no idea just how deadly this dust was. We even played in it completely unaware of its dangers.
The Horror Came Later.
It wasn’t until years later after the factory had been closed down, that we began to see the full horrors of this white snow looking powder, we had played with as children. By this time I was much older, and the dangers of asbestos had been given massive coverage by the media, so I was now aware of what could happen to myself and hundreds of other people who lived in the same area as this factory in years to come.
This factory received national television coverage, and on one program they interviewed families who had suffered due to the problem of asbestos. I was shocked to see that I knew some of the people who had lost family members due to developing mesothelioma, in fact I actually went to school with some of the people who took part in the program. The program showed old photographs of the area around the factory (including my old school) covered in powder, and it really did look like it had been snowing. When you see all of this on television it really does make you just a little bit worried, especially when you have been in contact with asbestos like I have.
If mesothelioma is diagnosed early enough, a cure is possible with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, in the case of a more advanced illness a cure is not possible, but with the right treatments the illness can be slowed down dramatically and medication can be used to ease any pain.
As a precaution I did have x-rays a few years ago just to put my mind at rest, and thankfully they were all clear. The doctor recommended that I should have x-rays on a very regular basis just to be on the safe side. So, at the moment everything is ok, but I will always be just a little bit worried of what might happen in the future.