Special Guest Writer, college graduate, Alex Johnson on the devastating cancer "mesothelioma" that ripens around your heart and body organs 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma in Canada
Mesothelioma is a very aggressive and deadly cancer diagnosed decades after exposure to asbestos, the only known source of this rare disease. The fire retardant insulation was commonly used between the 1940’s and the 1970’s. While manufacturers and companies knew asbestos was potentially toxic, the general public had no clue. Workers were routinely exposed to the dust and fibers that become lodged in the mesothelium, the lining which surrounds many major internal organs. While the mutated cells lie dormant, the individual has no mesothelioma symptoms. By the time a physician reaches a definitive diagnosis, the cancer has often progressed to the advanced stages.
Canadian Statistics Rising
Mesothelioma has become a worldwide health concern. While the United States began long ago to phase out the use of asbestos, after discovering the true health hazards of the mineral-based fiber, Canada became a leading exporter, continuing to mine chrysotile, an asbestos product shipped to third world countries.
When Canadian officials finally determine that asbestos dust and fibers are truly hazardous to an individual’s health, even when the material is handled under certain safety protocols, the incidents of malignant mesothelioma among miners will decline. Conversely, the cases of cancer among construction workers climb, as old buildings are renovated and asbestos removal exposes workers.
According to an article in the Heritage Toronto, Building and Wood Workers' International website, R&D Magazine, “figures compiled by Statistics Canada, the number of new cases in the last 15 years has risen from 276 to 461, or 67 percent, and officials believe that the trend will continue for years as Canada's population is impacted by the asbestos legacy of the 1950s, 60s and 70s”. It is also believed that third world countries will soon experience a rise in asbestos related diseases.
Learn more about Mesothelioma
Canadian officials and the medical community are actively researching mesothelioma, in an effort to better understand this aggressive cancer. Early detection methods are a top priority, as the cancer is known to spread during the latent period, making early detection almost impossible.
More information is becoming available to Canadian residents. Comprehensive websites are providing information and lists of resources available to those diagnosed with mesothelioma in Canada. Some patients may choose to participate in clinical trials. By helping test new treatment options, patients receive cancer treatment, without incurring massive medical bills, and promoting research. In addition, cancer patients are being asked to donate a sample of cancer tissue to the tumor tissue bank, for the purposes of analysis. It is one way to contribute to the fight against malignant mesothelioma in Canada.
Many thanks to Alex for his informative article about this deadly asbestos cancer. I am honoured he shared it with me and you. Most awesome.... Well done!
I remember when working at BC Ferries between Tsawwassen and Victoria all the bulk heads, walls on the vessels, of the older V-class ferries had asbestos in them.
You may have gone for a ride on one of them yourself: the Queen of Esquimalt, Queen of Victoria, Queen of Saanich, there were seven V-Class Ferries in total serving the British Columbia coast.
The Gibsons Recycling Depot kindly provided me this link after seeing my article about a recent story in The Tyee about the asbestos risk on BC Ferries http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/06/10/FerryAsbestosRisk/
Scary that this cancer has a time release several decades later and again, we throw ourselves wholehearted into yet another great invention without understanding the consequences and long term effects of the convenience, like plastic.
If you would like to write a guest article let me know. Thanks Duane Burnett
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