February 3 2024

Kevin is living with an incurable disease. Australian scientists hope a new test may help others

Kevin Packham is a tall, lean 63-year-old who loves to throw his golf clubs into his car and head to a local course to play a round. It’s one of the few pleasures he has left, after undergoing radical surgery to remove tumours from his abdomen.

“I can’t jog, I can’t run, I can’t play football anymore,” he told SBS News.

But Packham is a survivor and has so far beaten the odds after being diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer in 2020. His type of mesothelioma is rare — so rare that it’s detected in only a few hundred people each year in Australia.

“I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, which means that at some stage I ingested asbestos,” he said.

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the peritoneum, a membrane lining the abdominal cavity and organs, including the liver and intestines. As with other types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is related to prior asbestos exposure.

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