We are all too familiar with the stories of elderly people being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma decades after having been exposed to asbestos, the carcinogenic material that causes the illness. Most of these victims of mesothelioma are men who are well into their golden years, and who were exposed to asbestos at some point during their working career. But now a news report out of the United Kingdom has revealed that a 14-year-old girl has been diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, making her one of the youngest people in the world to be afflicted with the rare and deadly disease.
According to her parents, Made Greening is one of only nine children in the United Kingdom to be diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, and one of only twenty known in the world. In the United Kingdom there are roughly 2,500 people diagnosed with mesothelioma per year, and only ten percent of those are peritoneal mesothelioma. The disease, which is widely understood to be caused by ingesting or inhaling asbestos fibers, forms in the abdominal region, and though it is frequently treated using a multimodality treatment protocol that combines surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, Macie is not considered a candidate for surgical removal of her tumors. To date she has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy, and is now hoping to be accepted into a clinical trial.
When it comes to how Macie got mesothelioma, that remains a mystery. Her parents are unaware of any exposure that she may have had to the carcinogenic material, and physicians are puzzled by the appearance of an illness that normally takes thirty to forty years to develop appearing in a young teen. Asbestos fibers generally enter a cell, kill it, then lead to genetic mutations that cause the cells surrounding the asbestos fiber to grow into mesothelioma’s killing tumors. Because her case is such an anomaly, samples of her tumors are being sent around the world for study.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the lack of solid answers to the intricacies of mesothelioma and the unfairness of the disease are likely causing you great psychic pain. For information on resources available to you, contact the Patient Resources at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.