September 26, 2021, 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 3,000 diagnoses in the United States each year. In comparison, there are around 220,000 lung cancer diagnoses each year in the United States.
Due to its rarity, mesothelioma research is limited. However, researchers continue to focus their efforts on:
- Developing treatments to extend mesothelioma survival
- Finding a mesothelioma cure
- Improving tools to help diagnose mesothelioma early
Mesothelioma Awareness Day draws attention to these efforts. Supporting events across the country raise funds and bring awareness to the disease. It also encourages communities to show support for those battling mesothelioma.
How Did Mesothelioma Awareness Day Start?
In 2004, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) celebrated the first Mesothelioma Awareness Day (MAD). In 2010, the United States Congress commemorated September 26th as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
This year marks the 17th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
What Is the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation?
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) is a nonprofit organization. It aims to end mesothelioma and mesothelioma-related suffering by:
- Advocating for federal mesothelioma research funding
- Funding treatment research
- Providing financial grants and support to mesothelioma patients and their families
The Meso Foundation 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 impacted many communities and workers in certain high-risk occupations.
This is largely due to the prevalence of asbestos. Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma cancer.
Many veterans have been exposed to asbestos across all branches of the military. Asbestos was often used on military bases and naval ships.
Natural disasters can disturb natural asbestos deposits. These events can also damage buildings constructed with asbestos products throughout communities.
9/11 World Trade Center Attack
The attack on the World Trade Center released large plumes of smoke and debris, which contained asbestos. First responders and those in the area risked asbestos exposure.
Home Repairs & DIY Projects
Older homes, especially those built before 1979, often contain products with asbestos. Renovations, demolitions and other home repair projects could disturb asbestos.
Various asbestos manufacturers used raw asbestos or asbestos materials. Before dangers were well-known, miners and other employees who worked for these companies risked harmful long-term asbestos exposure.
Other High-Risk Occupations
Teachers, mechanics, construction workers and many others have been exposed. Asbestos may be in old classrooms, car parts, construction materials and more.
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 who come 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.
In the past few years, asbestos has been found in baby powder, children’s toys, cosmetics such as eye shadow and children’s makeup sets.
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:” The Meso Foundation 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.
The Meso Foundation provides more tips for getting involved on their Mesothelioma Awareness Day page.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day | 2021 Events
Every year, individuals and organizations celebrate Mesothelioma Awareness Day with unique events across the nation. The events below are fundraising events that honor remembered victims of mesothelioma. These events raise awareness and money to help current mesothelioma patients and their families.
Bruce A. Waite 5K Walk/Run | Ontario, Ohio
This event celebrates the life and legacy of Bruce A. Waite. Waite was a high school teacher and avid runner. In 2003, he passed away from mesothelioma.
This year’s event will take place on September 19, 2021. Find more event details here.
The Em’ for Emily | Greer, South Carolina
This event is a golf tournament in memory of Emily Brown Cocis. Cocis passed away from malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 2017. All money collected during this fundraising event will be donated to the following charities: the Meso Foundation, Let There Be Mom and the Make a Wish Foundation.
This year’s event will take place on October 9, 2021. Find more event details here.