Global Asbestos Congress 2004

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Fighting Against the Disease

Norio Kato
Japan Association of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related-Diseases Victims and Their Families, Japan

Two years have passed since I started suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma. As the disease progressed, I grew upset in many ways. At first, when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, I was just confused. Later, my mind felt blank when my doctor informed me that there basically was no treatment. I had many sleepless nights. It was just like being kicked when I was already down.

About 40 years ago, I worked as a welder at a boiler manufacturing company. The reason for my illness was asbestos exposure in those days. I contracted this disease through no fault of my own. I feel very sorry that I will die of mesothelioma with no cure in sight.

Before, I had no information about this sickness and knew no one to whom I could talk about the disease. But, one day I learned about the existence of an "asbestos-hotline" while watching TV. I called in, and learned that it was possible to apply for workers' compensation. A half year later, thanks to the help of the hotline members, I qualified for workers' compensation. The notification letter was quite simple but it gave me a great sense of relief.

Until then, I was given anticancer drugs and visited hospitals repeatedly. I really feel in my body that my condition is getting worse day by day and would like to take effective medicines as soon as possible. This is a natural desire, as a patient.

In the past, we didn't know about the dangers of asbestos and inhaled it. But, now we know that asbestos is a carcinogen. No more victims like myself. This is another one of my wishes.