In Light of National Cancer Prevention Month
A cancer diagnosis often comes with a lot of unknowns. While we’ve still got a lot to learn, we do know of a number of cancers that can actually be avoided. A 2014 report by the American Cancer Society (ACS) states that 42 percent of cancer cases and 45 percent of cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented, meaning that 659,640 diagnoses and 265,150 deaths could have possibly been avoided.
Each February, millions of people come together to celebrate National Cancer Prevention Month to raise awareness about cancer and ways to safeguard health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), prevention is the most cost-effective and sustainable approach for regulating disease.
What You Should Know About Mesothelioma Cancer
One example of a highly preventable disease is mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is closely associated with exposure to asbestos, a naturally found mineral. Although researchers knew about the dangers of asbestos as far back as the 1920s, it was used extensively until the 1970s. Asbestos was once considered a “miracle” mineral because of its insulating properties and was utilized across many different industries, including consumer goods and construction.
If asbestos is inhaled the fibers can make their way into the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen where mesothelioma can develop. Symptoms of mesothelioma are frequently misdiagnosed for more common illnesses like the flu, often delaying an accurate diagnosis until the cancer has progressed to much later stages.
Preserving Your Health
Early detection is critical for a cancer such as mesothelioma. If you have worked with asbestos (or still do), consider regular check ups with a doctor to monitor your health.
Navigating the healthcare system can be time consuming and complicated. Although this process proves difficult for many, cancer patients in particular should have a good understanding of healthcare options because treatment is so expensive. The ACS estimates $87.4 billion was spent in 2014 on cancer care alone.
There are options available to help you maneuver the healthcare system, such as EAC Network’s Health Home Care Coordination program. The program guides adults through the healthcare system, ensuring individual medical needs are met in a cost-effective way.
Take time this month to safeguard your health by staying mindful of harmful substances. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask for help if navigating the healthcare system becomes overwhelming.
To learn more about Health Home Care Coordination, click here.
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Sarah Wallace is a health advocate for patients and caregivers dealing with the burden of mesothelioma cancer at the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center. She focuses on raising awareness about this rare cancer, educating others about prevention, and supporting the cancer community as a whole.