Friday, October 17, 2014


I get a lot of emails from people wanting me to promote their businesses/blogs/products here. (Which is just hilarious to me because this blog is so very small.) I always ignore them because I'm not interested in telling you guys about anything that I don't really believe in or feel strongly about.

But Heather's email was different.

Heather is a survivor of mesothelioma. If you're unfamiliar with the disease, mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the body cavity called the mesothelium (in the most common type of mesothelioma, this is located in the lungs). 

The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which is an insulation material that was used formerly in industrial settings such as naval shipyards, power plants, railroad infrastructure, and other industrial jobsites until it began to be regulated in 1989. Workers in these settings inhaled the asbestos fibers and also brought them home on their clothes. Heather got cancer because she used to wear her father's work coat to do outside chores as a child. Many wives of sailors got mesothelioma simply from washing their husbands' clothes.

Heather emailed me because October is National Healthy Lung Month, and she is working with bloggers to help raise awareness of this disease and its causes. It's sort of fortuitous that she emailed me, in particular, because I am somewhat familiar with the disease, having worked in college at a law firm that represents mesothelioma victims. And so I know that only 40% of mesothelioma patients survive the first year after treatment.

So I'm writing today to tell you about asbestos and mesothelioma because asbestos still has not been completely banned in the United States. And so while its use has been mostly discontinued because of its carcinogenic effects, it can still be found in some structures and buildings today. Symptoms associated with mesothelioma are also generally found in those who have lung cancer, including dry cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

You can learn more about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma here. And, in terms of overall lung health, you can help keep your lungs healthy by avoiding air pollution and exposure to toxic substances, and by not smoking tobacco.

Happy National Healthy Lung Month, friends. As I'm sure Heather would tell you, if you have healthy lungs, don't take them for granted, and do all you can to help keep them that way.

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