BBC News has reported the story of Debbie Brewer, a 49-year-old mother of three from Plymouth in Devon, UK. In November of 2006, Brewer was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. She was given six-to-nine months to live, but two years later, Debbie Brewer will be spending another holiday with her children, and her cancer is in remission after a pioneering mesothelioma treatment she received in Germany.
Brewer was awarded a six-figure compensation after her diagnosis, as her asbestos exposure was attributed to hugging her father after he had worked with asbestos. This non-occupational exposure to asbestos has been well-documented as a cause of mesothelioma in women and children who have not worked with asbestos directly themselves, but were exposed in the home when a spouse returned home with asbestos fibers on their clothes.
On a tip from a doctor and after learning of the 60% success rate for mesothelioma in Germany, Brewer took her compensation and headed to the University Clinic in Frankfurt. The clinic uses a treatment called chemoembolisation. This is a treatment often used to fight liver cancer, as it introduces chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor area. In Brewer’s case, this was a catheter introduced directly to the affected lung.
According to the BBC, mesothelioma specialists have informed Brewer that her tumor has shrunk by more than half and is in remission. Brewer’s elation over having more years to spend with her children cannot easily be described in words. Brewer has launched a campaign to have the treatment brought to the UK for trials and spread her renewed hope.