November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

21 Nov 2018 by under News

heather von st james head shot sept 08 150x150 November is Lung Cancer Awareness MonthNovember is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and one survivor of a rare form of the disease is encouraging other patients to be optimistic.

Heather Von St. James was diagnosed 13 years ago with , a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs and other internal organs. The disease is caused by exposure. Von St. James was exposed to the carcinogenic mineral as a kid through secondary exposure. Her father worked in construction with materials made with . He unknowingly brought microscopic fibers home on his clothes.

Asbestos cancer can take decades to develop. Once diagnosed, it usually proves deadly within 12 to 24 months. But Von St. James beat the odds by having a radical surgery called extrapleural pneumonectomy. During the procedure, doctors removed her left lung, half of her diaphragm, the lining of her heart, and a couple of ribs.

“I’m optimistic by nature, so being a victim just isn’t my way of doing things,” she said. So when she decided to undergo surgery, she decided to put a positive spin on it and called it her “Lung Leavin’ Day.” She recognizes each anniversary by gathering with friend and family. Each person writes their fears on a plate and smashes the plate to symbolizing overcoming fear.

She encourages people to celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month by doing something positive in recognition of the more than 200,000 Americans diagnosed with some form of lung cancer each year.

Source: 11 Alive

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