Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#PearlyLungs #HealthyLungs - Spreading the Word about Mesothelioma

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I'm not a big fan of the whole "awareness" thing if it's not actually bringing any new information to the fold, but this disease is a little different. A nail polish group I'm a member of was specifically asked if we would let people know about this disease, mesothelioma. Asbestos is listed as the main cause of mesothelioma, a form of cancer that occurs in the lining of the lungs. It's not the same as lung cancer. Asbestos is banned in Ireland - but not in the U.S or Canada. It can take years to show up in the body, so if you or someone you know has worked with asbestos in the past, then please have a look at the Irish Cancer Society's fact sheet here. I'd urge you to look at this part in particular:

In Ireland, asbestos was mostly used from the 1960’s to the mid 1980’s. It was banned on a phased basis under legislation in 1994 and 1998 and a general prohibition on its use was introduced under EU regulations in 2004. Based on incidence trends from 1994 and current population projections, we estimate an annual incidence of 68 cases of male mesothelioma in Ireland in 2020.

If you know someone who may have worked with asbestos 20 or 30 years ago, just ask them to have a look at the factsheets and seek further information from their GP, early detection is vital. 

Heather St. Von James is approaching her 10 year anniversary of being cancer free after having her left lung removed. She reached out and asked to help spread the word about bringing awareness towards the very preventable disease of mesothelioma.

What is mesothelioma?

A rare form of cancer, mesothelioma occurs in the thin lining of the body's internal organs and in roughly 70% of all cases, is found in the pleural lining of the lungs.  Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the US alone and while early detection leads to higher rates of remission, the US suffers 2,500 mesothelioma-based deaths a year. In Ireland, there were an average of 24 cases a year diagnosed between 1994 and 2010. [source]

So how do we beat the odds and bring awareness towards such a preventable and treatable disease?

First of all, understand that 80% of all mesothelioma cases can be attributed to asbestos exposure.  Shockingly, neither the US nor Canada have any such bans on asbestos exposure which put an estimated 20 million people in the US at risk for developing this disease.  Given that the latency period between the first exposure to asbestos and developing mesothelioma is typically between 20 to 40 years, this is truly a long term problem affecting many people at potentially the weakest times in their lives.

Countries with Bans on Asbestos

Another way to bring awareness to this campaign is by wearing PEARL, so in honor of #pearlylungs #healthylungs, a number of bloggers and Instagrammers will be posting pearl manis.

This was actually my wedding day polish - did anyone guess that I wore a Kardashian polish on my wedding day? Nope, I didn't see that one coming either..... This is Nicole by OPI 'It's All about the Glam' with some pearl studs. 

One thing you can do right now is ask the members of your family if they've had any asbestos exposure over the past 20/30 years. If they have, and they show any symptoms, please urge them to visit their GP - this is one occasion where raising awareness may actually be helpful. 

If you'd like to support the Irish Cancer Society, they have a gorgeous range of Christmas cards available online. I may have ordered some very cute dog ones. 


  1. Nice post helping to spread the word about Mesothelioma.

  2. That is absolutely crazy how asbestos is still legit in USA/Canada. WTF?!



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