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This year, September 26th marks the 10th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Mesothelioma Awareness Day was created to promote awareness about this rare and deadly disease. Unfortunately, it’s a disease that lacks widespread awareness. In honor of the 10th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day, we want to publish 10 key facts about the disease that can be shared with your family and friends to help educate loved ones about this preventable disease.
1. A definition of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects mesothelium cells. The mesothelium is the protective lining that protects internal organs in the chest, abdominal, and cardiac cavity.
2. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that becomes dangerous when it is broken and fibers are released into the air. When asbestos fibers are airborne, they are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, so a person isn’t aware they are ingesting them.
3. No amount of exposure is safe.
No matter what your exposure level is, asbestos is a harmful substance that could have adverse effects on your health later in life. Mesothelioma is a preventable disease if you minimize any exposure to this terrible toxin.
4. Mesothelioma has a long latency period.
The average length of latency between exposure and diagnosis is between 35 and 40 years. Mesothelioma has the longest latency period of any asbestos-related diseases.
5. Asbestos was used in thousands of products.
Asbestos has been knowingly used in over 3,000 consumer products including building materials and household products. Some of these products could still be lurking in the structure or the inside of your home.
6. Asbestos can still be found in buildings and products today.
If your home was built before the 1970s, there is a great chance there are asbestos-containing products throughout your home. Asbestos can also be found in many public buildings, like schools built prior to the 1970s for example.
7. Asbestos is naturally occurring.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that is mined for use. While asbestos is generally produced through geological processes underground, naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) has also been recently discovered in areas around the country bringing to light the fact that some people may be exposed unwittingly.
8. United States veterans have a high risk of exposure.
While anyone can be diagnosed through direct or secondhand exposure with asbestos, the United States military is one of the most at-risk groups to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Many veterans and shipyard workers were exposed through several areas: ships, shipyards, barracks, and while serving in other countries to name a few.
9. Mesothelioma is a global issue.
While asbestos use is limited in the United States, many countries do not regulate its use. Mesothelioma will continue to be a global health concern until asbestos is no longer used worldwide.
10. There is hope for mesothelioma warriors.
While mesothelioma typically has a dire prognosis, researchers and doctors are coming up with increasingly sophisticated ways to diagnose and treat this disease. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with mesothelioma, be sure to search for a specialist and connect with other mesothelioma survivors for support.
There are many ways you can help spread awareness for mesothelioma: share this post with family and friends, participate in an event to benefit mesothelioma research, and share mesothelioma warrior Heather Von St. James message to “Be a Voice for the Victims.”
Resources for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families
- Request a Free Mesothelioma Treatment Guide
- Connect with Top Mesothelioma Doctors
- Locate the Nearest Comprehensive Cancer Center