A University of Manitoba professor with a rare form of cancer often linked with exposure to asbestos has a warning. Patricia Martens wants others to be aware and be safe.

Martens, 62, is a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba and is an Order of Canada recipient. She has travelled extensively, researching trends in health and health care.

In February 2013, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Martens was told she had nine to 12 months to live. She tried chemotherapy but stopped after doctors found it wasn’t working. Radiation is not possible because of the way the cancer spreads.

She doesn’t know exactly when she was exposed, but this type of cancer can form as long as 50 years after exposure.

Martens believes the asbestos exposure could have happened while studying or working on the U of M campus, but she can’t say for sure, as the cancer can take up to 50 years to show signs.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers believes at least four cases, including Martens’ one, could possibly be linked to asbestos at the University of Manitoba. The institution has many old buildings that used asbestos, said Brenda Austin Smith from the group.

The university is working to eradicate asbestos, to make the buildings safe and sends out emails to staff about the asbestos abatement project, where crews will be working to remove it and to advise people to steer clear, said Austin Smith.

Martens doesn’t plan to sue the university and isn’t bitter. Instead, she plans to make the most of the time she has left, spending time with family and warning others that asbestos is still out there.

The federal and provincial governments have information on strict rules regarding asbestos and its removal.

Martens would like to see it completely banned in Manitoba.

The University of Manitoba issued a statement Friday afternoon.

“It is very unfortunate that a University of Manitoba professor is ill and we feel for Dr. Martens and her family. It is difficult to trace the exact cause or event in such cases, but the University of Manitoba has and will continue to comply with Manitoba Health and Safety legislation to ensure a healthy and safe work environment,” it said in the statement.