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An Interview With Mavis Nye: Mesothelioma

Mavis Nye17th – 23rd June is Breathe Easy Week. Breathe Easy Week is an annual event set up by the British Lung Foundation to raise awareness of lung health, in this case, mesothelioma.

To raise awareness of the event, 3B Training interviewed Mavis Nye of the Mavis Nye Foundation who is a victim of mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. Mavis set up the foundation to share her story and clear some of the myths and fears surrounding lung disease. Take a look at what Mavis had to say below.

What made you start the Mavis Nye Foundation?

I started the Mavis Nye Foundation to say thank you to Royal Marsden Hospital and the NHS, they allowed me to do a clinical trial for a treatment of mesothelioma that has given me extra years of life. It has given me another chance at life to help other sufferers. The money we raise is being put back into research and to help meso’ nurses in the UK. We want to train enough nurses so that every hospital in the UK has a nurse to support those with meso’. In the first year, the Mavis Nye Foundation raised enough money for pilot research into treatment.

Mavis, what are the signs of mesothelioma to look out for?

MesotheliomaSuddenly out of nowhere, you can’t breathe. I noticed when I was on holiday in Benidorm. I walked the same hill regularly every day; one day I struggled to get up it. Normally I wouldn’t struggle but I had to take regular breaks this time. So that’s a big sign.

I got myself checked out and found out I had a mass of fluid on my lung. That’s what mesothelioma does, it fills up your lung. But many people get diagnosed when they go in for other reasons. It gets picked up on x-rays when they go in for pains in the chest for example.

I picked it up from my husband’s clothing, he was an apprentice in the dockyard. I’d shake his clothes off at the end of the day and breathe in the dust. We didn’t have the same awareness of it back then. Youngsters can still get it today and many are quite complacent thinking it’s just an old man’s disease. Schools are still filled with asbestos and tradesmen are still getting it from not using face protection or wearing it properly. Many still don’t get the face fit testing they need; they need to look after their faces and lungs.

What advice would you give to those who are having trouble with their breathing?

Get yourself checked up and keep talking to your GP or oncologist, they can do much more for you these days. Especially if you have a lung condition. If you’ve had the pleurodesis operation and the fluid returns you can have the operation again, people don’t realise that.

Other complications could be that your lung is trapped or that you have a blood clot. So, keep getting yourself checked upon.

Mavis, how can people prevent or lower the risks of mesothelioma and other similar lung diseases?

There is a lot of literature available and regular training. Don’t just attend the training to tick a box; abide by it. Don’t think it’s just an old man’s disease you don’t want it when you’re 40…it’s not impossible.

For more information on The Mavis Nye Foundation, visit their website here. Or visit the Pleural Mesothelioma Center.

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