Thursday, June 18, 2009


Yesterday, I met with a client of mine. He is in his 80's and was diagnosed two months ago with mesothelioma. He starts chemotherapy next week.

He reminded me much of my grandfather, whom I was very close. He was a child of the depression and World War II. He smiled and laughed as he described, in perfect detail, many aspects of his life that even his children had not known. His wife of 63 years nodded and smiled as he spoke of their life together and her "country cooking". It made me yearn for the conversations that I had with my grandfather, who was of the same generation, grew up working in the mines, and believed in working hard, playing by the rules, reading his bible, and giving something back, especially to those in need or without.

I worry about his condition in 6 months and whether he will be alive a year from now.

We have all heard of Mesothelioma. We see ads on television day and night. We know the stories about the industry having knowledge of the dangers of asbestos going back to the turn of the century, but some basic information bears repeating.


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs. Most people who develop malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they were exposed to and inhaled asbestos particles.

Mesothlium cells are found in the sac lining of the chest (pleura), the abdomen (peritoneum), or the heart (pericardium). The specific type of mesothelioma is named for the tissue where the cancer originates.

Approximately 70% of mesothlioma cases starts in the chest (pleural mesothelioma), which surrounds the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall.

Symptoms of the illness typically take 20 to 50 years to appear. While there is no cure, treatments involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.

The Center for Disease Control noted from a 2003 study that “because mesothelioma manifests 20--40 years after first exposure, the number of mesothelioma deaths will likely peak by 2010.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please give me a call to discuss your case. 205-322-8880 or email me @

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