Sandie Foreman was working as a makeup artist and hairdresser in Australia when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016, despite not having ever worked directly with asbestos-containing materials or in an at-risk industry. At the time of her diagnosis, she was a healthy and vibrant 58-year-old who went on regular runs with her dog.
While Australia banned the use of all forms of asbestos in 2004, it had been previously used in thousands of products and a large amount remains in buildings throughout the country. Most malignant mesothelioma patients had been primarily men exposed to the cancer-causing material in the work place, one-third of Australians were exposed to asbestos fibers in non-work-related situations. Half of those were women who were exposed during major home renovations involving asbestos-containing products.
After enduring six rounds of chemotherapy and major surgery to remove the majority of her organs on the left side of her torso, Foreman has become an advocate for asbestos-related causes, and is preparing to take part in a walk to raise awareness and who support for others living with mesothelioma.
"I was either very unlucky or very lucky that mine got picked up early enough to be treated," Foreman said. “The majority of people don't know they have been exposed until it's too late, until they have symptoms and cannot breathe.
"People can't be complacent about being in environments where there could be asbestos.”
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