September 26, 2020, marks the 17th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about mesothelioma. It also encourages fundraising and showing support for those battling the rare cancer.
Bringing Awareness to Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma cancer accounts for around 3,100 cancer diagnoses in the United States each year. In comparison, there are around 221,000 lung cancer diagnoses each year in the United States.*
*Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As a result, mesothelioma research is limited. Researchers continue to focus their efforts on:
- Finding a mesothelioma cure
- Developing treatments to extend mesothelioma survival
- Improving tools to help diagnose mesothelioma early
Mesothelioma Awareness Day draws attention to these efforts. The event raises funds and brings awareness to the rare cancer. It also encourages communities to show support for those battling mesothelioma.
How Did Mesothelioma Awareness Day Start?
This year marks the 17th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
What Is the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation?
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) is a nonprofit organization. It aims to end mesothelioma and mesothelioma-related suffering through:
- Funding treatment research
- Providing support to mesothelioma patients and their families
- Advocating for federal mesothelioma research funding
MARF recognizes the event “has been the driving force behind the movement to bring more attention and funding to this cancer.”
How Does Mesothelioma Awareness Impact You?
Many people don’t understand mesothelioma, its causes and who may be affected. However, mesothelioma has had an impact on many communities and occupations.
Natural disasters can disturb natural asbestos deposits, damage buildings constructed with asbestos and/or other asbestos products throughout communities.
The attack on the World Trade Center released large plumes of smoke and debris, containing asbestos. First responders and those in the area risked asbestos exposure.
Older homes, especially those built before 1979, often contain products with asbestos. Completing renovations, demolitions and other home repair projects could disturb asbestos.
Asbestos miners and asbestos manufacturers worked with raw asbestos. Before dangers were well-known, asbestos workers risked harmful long-term exposure.
If a household member has been exposed to asbestos, they may also bring fibers into the home. This could result in secondary exposure.
For example, a construction worker may bring home asbestos dust on their clothing. This could then expose household members coming in contact with the contaminated clothing.
Is Asbestos Still Used Today?
Asbestos was largely used prior to 1979. However, older asbestos-containing products are still in use today. Asbestos is also not fully banned in the United States. The mineral is still allowed in small quantities in some products.
Many advocates seek stricter asbestos regulations on consumer goods. Companies may not disclose the possibility of asbestos on their packaging. Their products may also have had insufficient testing to rule out asbestos contamination.
Some health professionals advise consumers to take caution with talc-based products. Talc and asbestos deposits occur naturally together. As a result, talc is often contaminated with asbestos.
How Can I Help Spread Mesothelioma Awareness?
There are many ways to get involved with mesothelioma and asbestos awareness. One way is to take part in Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
- “Painting the world in mesothelioma blue:” MARF encourages friends, family and others to wear blue for mesothelioma.
- Local participation: Individuals can take part in a local fundraiser or start a movement in their community to raise awareness.
MARF provides more tips for getting involved on their Mesothelioma Awareness Day page.