It is not uncommon for international locales to declare themselves “sister cities” based on shared characteristics, but when the commonality is malignant mesothelioma, the health and asbestos advocacy community takes notice. The two cities are Sarnia, a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada and Casale Monferrato a small town near Torino, Italy: As former asbestos towns, the two both have extremely high incidences of the rare and fatal form of cancer, and are taking similar steps to address the problem in their community.
Two cities share mesothelioma tragedy
Sarnia, a town with a population of under 72,000, has a reported incidence of mesothelioma in men that is five times greater than is true of the rest of Ontario and three times greater in women. According to Dr. Daiela Degiovanni, an oncologist who was part of a group from Casale Monferrato that visited Sarnia this week, her city of 34,000 has reported more than 1,000 cases of the rare disease. Casale Monferrato’s asbestos exposure came from an asbestos cement plant that operated there for 8 decades, making it one of the most asbestos-affected locations in the world. In Sarnia, asbestos was used extensively by numerous industries.
City leaders share bests practices in fighting asbestos
The Italian group met with officials from the Canadian town to discuss the impact of mesothelioma, and the best practices that have been working for them after having attended an asbestos conference in the United States. “We have many similarities between our two cities,” said Degiovanni.“Unfortunately, the death rate is much more elevated in Casale because of the level of exposure, but what we are doing is the right thing – we have started the right journey.” Some of the most effective steps for Casale have been developing a holistic approach that involves community education programs, physicians, psychologists treating the whole family, and enhanced hospice care. The town has also led the charge in attempting to have asbestos remediation take place and to ban the carcinogenic material in Italy. One of those who visited Sarnia was teacher Assuntra Prato, who spoke eloquently of her town’s goals and actions. “We hope to share our common fight against asbestos. This is not a problem of one place, it’s a problem of the world.”
Asbestos exposure has led to malignant mesothelioma deaths and other asbestos-related illnesses around the world. If you or someone you love has been impacted by an asbestos-related disease, we can help you with much-needed information and resources. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.