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Mesothelioma Awareness Day takes place on September 26 every year to teach people about this rare, aggressive, and preventable cancer. Awareness also brings in funding for vital research to diagnose, manage, and treat rare diseases. There are many ways to participate in Mesothelioma Awareness Day for those with the disease or interested in supporting patients.
What Is Mesothelioma Awareness Day?
Mesothelioma Awareness Day was created in 2004 by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) to bring more attention, and ultimately research funding, to this terrible disease.
What Is the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation?
The mission of the Meso Foundation is to fund mesothelioma treatment research, provide education and treatment support for patients and families, and push for federal funding.
The Meso Foundation is the only non-profit dedicated to the overarching goal of eradicating mesothelioma. The group and its members believe that a cure is possible. Awareness is one step in finding the cure.
What Are the Goals of Mesothelioma Awareness Day?
The ultimate goal is to cure mesothelioma and eradicate it as a terminal illness.
What Color Ribbon Is for Mesothelioma?
The official color of Mesothelioma Awareness Day is blue. It includes many local events around the country that people can participate in to support the cause.
What Events Support Mesothelioma Awareness Day?
Some examples of Mesothelioma Awareness Day events include fundraisers, walks, golf tournaments, Oktoberfest celebrations, and many other and gatherings.
The Importance of Bringing Awareness to Mesothelioma
The importance of Mesothelioma Awareness Day cannot be overstated. It is a significant boost for individuals struggling with this disease to see people coming out to support them. More broadly, the day is crucial for bringing greater awareness to this rare type of cancer.
What Triggers Mesothelioma?
Approximately 3,000 people receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma every year. Most of these are victims of asbestos exposure. They were exposed mostly through work and without being warned of the risks.
The vast majority of cases of mesothelioma are preventable, and yet people are still being exposed to asbestos and are still getting sick.
Who Is Affected by Asbestos and Mesothelioma?
Awareness of mesothelioma is low, which is a problem because many people could be affected and not realize it. The biggest exposure risks occurred years ago on job sites. Some of the workers vulnerable to asbestos and mesothelioma included:
- Construction workers, plumbers, roofers, and electricians
- Navy service members
- Shipyard workers
- Industrial and factory workers
- Automotive mechanics
- Boiler workers
Anyone who worked in an industry with asbestos decades ago is still at risk for mesothelioma. It often takes 40 years or longer to develop.
Asbestos is not banned in the U.S. Asbestos can still be found in older homes, ships, and public buildings, including schools. Anyone working or living and doing renovations or repairs in these spaces is at risk.
Is Mesothelioma Cancer Fatal?
Mesothelioma is fatal for most people diagnosed with it. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that spreads rapidly. It is also difficult to treat because the tumors are small and numerous. This makes it challenging to remove all of the cancerous tissue surgically.
Most people don’t realize how serious mesothelioma is. A greater awareness in the form of Mesothelioma Awareness Day helps people understand the severity of the diagnosis.
Awareness Leads to Funding
Although rare, this is a deadly and devastating illness that needs more research funding to get to the bottom of how it develops. Research also determines how to diagnose it better, and how to treat, manage, and even cure the disease. Because it is rare, it often gets less attention and less funding than other types of cancer.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day Achievements
Mesothelioma Awareness Day has been around since 2004, and the Meso Foundation has gotten important results from these days and the events that occur on them. Some of the accomplishments have been big ones, others are smaller, but all are important.
When Did Mesothelioma Awareness Day Officially Begin?
The day became official by a proclamation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2009, declaring September 26th an official and federally recognized awareness day called National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. This was an important step in boosting overall awareness of the disease.
What Has Mesothelioma Awareness Day Raised in Funding?
More importantly, and what awareness like this leads to is additional funding for mesothelioma research. Awareness day events have raised millions of dollars over the last several years.
The money goes almost entirely into the Meso Foundation’s projects researching the disease and helping patients get treatment. On the local level, each Awareness Day brings more proclamations from city and state governments, helping to educate more people about mesothelioma.
How You Can Show Support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Whether you or a loved one is struggling with this disease, it is essential to show support for the community that has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Supporting victims of asbestos exposure helps them feel less alone, but it also helps bring awareness to the issue of asbestos and mesothelioma.
By showing signs of support on Awareness Day, you can educate and inspire others. Here are a few things you can do:
- Donate money to a mesothelioma research initiative or charity that helps those who are ill. Share on social media and encourage friends and family to learn more about the disease and to make their own donations to the cause.
- Wear blue on Mesothelioma Awareness Day and start conversations with people you encounter throughout the day to bring more awareness to the issue.
- Attend an official event in your area, and help to spread awareness of the day and event by contacting local media.
- If there are no events near you, organize and lead your own event. It could be a fundraising fun run, or just a picnic in the park to bring awareness to the community.
- Write to your legislators, at the federal and state level, to encourage greater restrictions or an outright ban on asbestos use. You can also host a letter writing campaign to get more people involved in petitioning their representatives.
- Share facts and information about asbestos and mesothelioma online and through your social media accounts.
- If you have mesothelioma, share your story with others.
- Go to Rockefeller Plaza in New York to join other advocates for mesothelioma and asbestos victims. The free event includes bringing awareness through the audience of the Today Show as well as mesothelioma awareness t-shirts.
Quick Facts to Share on Mesothelioma Awareness Day
So many people know little to nothing about mesothelioma, what it is, how it is related to asbestos, and the struggles people with the disease face.
One of the most important things that an individual can do on Awareness Day, and on any day, is educate others about asbestos and mesothelioma. Here are some quick facts to get you started:
- Over 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S. every year.
- The average age at time of diagnosis is 69.
- The rate of mesothelioma in women is lower than in men.
- Most patients only develop symptoms of mesothelioma twenty or more years after being exposed to asbestos.
- Only about half of patients will live more than a year and a half after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
- Seventy-five percent of mesothelioma diagnoses are in the chest cavity, called pleural mesothelioma.
- Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of occupational cancer.
- Navy veterans have some of the highest risk levels for developing mesothelioma because of the use of asbestos on ships.
- Asbestos is not banned in the U.S.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a great opportunity to spread the message about asbestos and mesothelioma. It is a chance to educate people who don’t know anything about this cancer and to help prevent more people from being exposed to asbestos. Get involved in any way you can to help spread awareness and raise critical funds for research and patient assistance.
Page Written by Mary Ellen Ellis
Mary Ellen Ellis has been the head writer for Mesothelioma.net since 2016. With hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos articles to her credit, she is one of the most experienced writers on these topics. Her degrees and background in science and education help her explain complicated medical topics for a wider audience. Mary Ellen takes pride in providing her readers with the critical information they need following a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Anne Courtney, AOCNP, DNP
Anne Courtney has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has years of oncology experience working with patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer. Dr. Courtney currently works at University of Texas LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes.