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Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that alters the cells in the pleural mesothelium, a band of tissue surrounding the lungs. MesotheliomaWeb.Org gives its readers up-to-date news reports on scientific research, treatment techniques, and medical breakthroughs on this deadly lung disease.

A report in the British newspaper “The Sun” tells the story of a woman in her forties who has contracted mesothelioma. Although the rare form of lung cancer is tied to asbestos exposure in the workplace, Debra Edwards was not exposed to the carcinogenic mineral at the shop she owns. She also has never worked in one of the traditional professions, such as shipbuilding or construction, where workers were exposed to the deadly substance on a daily basis.

Instead, she inhaled the fibers from her late grandfather’s overalls. As a child, Ms. Edwards would visit her grandfather, Jack Duffin, after he returned home from his shift at the Devonport Docks in Plymouth, England. She told “The Sun”, “I contracted (the disease) from the normal cuddles between a grandfather and his granddaughter”. Mr. Duffin died of mesothelioma in 2000 at the age of 86.

Many workers contract mesothelioma through the handling of asbestos without the proper protective equipment or employing government-mandated safety protocols. Fibers can become embedded in clothes, which is how workers can carry the dangerous materials home to their families. Today, environmental regulations require that workers wear protective coveralls, which they turn in after every shift to prevent such incidents.

Mesothelioma has a long latency period, sometimes up to forty years, before a patient displays symptoms. Workers will often show symptoms during either the latter stages of their working careers or in the early years of retirement. Ms. Edwards, at only 44, is one of the youngest mesothelioma patients in Britain.

Once doctors are able to diagnose the disease, the prognosis is seldom good. Most patients die of the disease within two years of receiving their diagnosis. Ms. Edwards’ doctor told her she had only nine months to live. “Nobody understands why I got it at such a young age,” Ms. Edwards told reporters. “I’m living a day at a time.”

She also said that she suffers from shortness of breath, as well as osteoporosis from her continued chemotherapy treatments. Ms. Edwards has a daughter, Deanne (23) and a son, Carl (21), from a previous marriage.

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