From a 15-Month Prognosis to 17 Years of Survivorship: Heather Von St. James' Mesothelioma Story

Season 5, Episode 10,  Nov 17, 2022, 05:44 PM

Heather Von. St James isn’t the typical mesothelioma cancer survivor. In 2005, Von St. James was 36 years old and balancing caring for her newborn baby with her work as a hairstylist. She felt constantly fatigued and out of breath, but brushed it off as typical post-pregnancy symptoms. However, after her loved ones expressed concern about her abnormal weight loss, she agreed to see the doctor, who ordered a biopsy. She was then diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer that occurs in the lining of the lungs. Of note, according to The American Cancer Society, the average age upon mesothelioma diagnosis is 72 years old. After the doctor explained to her that the primary cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, Von St. James flashed back to her childhood. Her father was a construction worker who worked with asbestos-containing drywalls and would come home wearing a dust-covered work jacket. Von St. James often wore that jacket when she ran errands, and unkno

A 17-year survivor shares her experience getting diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer, at 36, when people with this cancer are typically diagnosed at a much older age and given months to live.