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Surviving Mesothelioma & Other Cancers

By: jzaahnos
Paul Kraus is a mesothelioma survivor and the author of Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers.

Mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer, usually associated with previous exposure to asbestos. In this disease, malignant (cancerous) cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibre in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos cement products.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.

Characterized by a shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, this is often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever.

If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face. Be aware, however, that these symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions. Obtaining a diagnosis of mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other, less serious conditions.

In June 1997, Mr. Kraus was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a "terminal" cancer) and given only a few months to live. More than eight years later, he is alive with a good quality of life having rejected surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. He took an alternative approach to healing his cancer that encompassed mind, body, and spirit.

In his book about mesothelioma, Kraus sets out how he beat the odds. The introduction reflects Paul's inspiration and committment to life:

"In my eighth year after diagnosis I remain well. I have outlived my prognosis by at least seven years and the medical specialist I visited not long ago told me that 'you will be around for a lot longer yet.' My survival has been hard work. The underlying assumption with all that I have done, and continue to do, is a strong belief that our bodies are designed with amazing self-healing capacities."

Mr. Kraus has made himself available to other patients who would like to speak with him. The Surviving Mesothelioma website provides details about the book, how to speak directly with Mr. Kraus, facts and statistics about mesothelioma, conventional, alternative, biological and immuno-therapies, the latest medical news, directories of clinics that take a holistic approach to healing, and a patient forum where patients can share information and discuss issues of importance.
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