Mesothelioma Awareness Day is Sept. 26

Special to the Daily News

September 17, 2013

Sept.26 is officially Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the commonwealth. Paul and Yvonne Hall, of Lexington, are helping promote mesothelioma awareness and Mesothelioma Awareness Day in memory of their son, Todd Hall, and initiated the legislative action that led to Kentucky’s recognition of this date.

When they learned that former State Rep. Ron Cyrus had died of mesothelioma, the Hall’s and friends and family in Kentucky contacted legislators and requested that they honor his memory by officially recognizing Mesothelioma Awareness Day annually.

The state officially recognized Sept. 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day with SB 62. For more information on SB62, visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/10RS/SB62.htm.

Mesothelioma is a cancer from asbestos that affects the smooth lining of the chest, lungs, heart and abdomen. This layer of tissue surrounding these organs is made up of mesothelial cells, hence the name mesothelioma.

As the tumor grows and expands, it often produces fluid that fills the chest or the abdomen, depending upon whether it is pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. Based on the location of the disease, symptoms of mesothelioma can vary, causing different reactions for different patients. However some of the most common features associated with patents with mesothelioma include:

  • Presence of fluid
  • Thickening of pleura
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing

Please note that while the following is a list of possible mesothelioma symptoms, the disease has a long latency period, meaning that symptoms may not occur for several years (even as long as 40-50 years) after the patient is first exposed to asbestos. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from symptoms of exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma, contact your health care provider immediately.

Some of the more common symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma symptoms: Affecting the respiratory system, symptoms for pleural mesothelioma can include: Shortness of breath, chest pain, fluid in the chest cavity, fever, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, weight Loss, hemoptysis …
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma symptoms: In abdominal or peritoneal mesothelioma, patients report an increased swelling of the abdomen due to the accumulation of fluid. Other symptoms can include: Abdominal pain, abdominal mass, digestive disturbances, fever, weight loss, increased platelets in the peripheral blood, and elevated white blood cell count ..
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma symptoms: With pericardial mesothelioma only being diagnosed in 5 percent of all mesothelioma cases each year, studies in regards to symptoms are limited; however, these pericardial mesothelioma symptoms can include: Shortness of breath, chest pain, fluid in the pericardial space, vascular compression, persistent coughing and heart palpitations.

Remember that patients with mesothelioma may not begin showing signs of the disease from anywhere from 25-50 years following exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day is sponsored by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. The Foundation selected Sept. 26 as an annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day and encourages Congress, states and cities to recognize the date. Here is the link for info about Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2013.

Our environment is saturated with asbestos and everyone is at risk. Todd (1967-2006) was born and reared in Lexington and was a graduate of the University of Kentucky. His asbestos exposure was non-occupational.