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Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26 and is important because awareness for this rare cancer is relatively low. Awareness continues to grow due to grassroots efforts to educate the public about asbestos and mesothelioma. As with all rare or orphan diseases, mesothelioma awareness is important because it increases funding for research and helps prevent illness.
About Mesothelioma and Asbestos
Asbestos exposure is the leading risk factor for mesothelioma. This rare and aggressive cancer affects the mesothelium, a double layer of tissue that surrounds internal organs.
The most common type of this cancer is pleural mesothelioma which affects the tissue around the lungs. Although asbestos use is now restricted, construction, shipbuilding, and other industries used it heavily for decades.
People who spent their careers inhaling asbestos fibers are now at the greatest risk for developing pleural mesothelioma. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers become lodged in tissues and cause damage over time. This tissue damage can lead to illnesses like asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma resulted in regulations on its use. Since then, awareness has grown exponentially.
Now more people know about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos; however, there is more work to be done.
Why Is it Important to Bring Awareness to Mesothelioma?
Awareness for any illness is important because it brings attention to important causes: advocating for victims and patients, supporting and funding research, and helping individuals.
Mesothelioma Is Rare But Deadly
Mesothelioma awareness is particularly important because it is a rare disease that doesn’t get the attention of more common cancers.
Although it is rare, nearly 3,000 people receive a mesothelioma diagnosis every year and are likely to die from it. This combination of rare and deadly means that more attention is needed to support research, prevent further illness, and develop better treatments.
Will Mesothelioma Ever Be Curable?
Right now, mesthelioma is considered incurable, or terminal. Some people achieve remission, but this is rare and recurrence is likely.
There is always hope for finding a cure for any disease, but it requires awareness. Even if a cure is a long way in the future, mesothelioma awareness brings funding and support for research that extends patients’ lives.
What Color Ribbon Is for Mesothelioma?
Designating a color for a cause is a simple but effective way to spread awareness. The mesothelioma ribbon color is blue. Wearing a blue ribbon or blue mesothelioma wristband or t-shirt generates questions. People want to know what the cause is and wearers can then provide answers and spread awareness through word of mouth.
When Is Mesothelioma Awareness Day?
Assigning a day to a disease is one way to raise awareness. Groups and individuals around the country and around the world use these days to educate the public about a particular disease.
Awareness days are an excellent way to provide information about how a disease develops and how to prevent it. Awareness Days also allow groups to raise increased funds for research. In 2004, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation established Mesothelioma Awareness Day to achieve all of these goals.
The organization holds its Mesothelioma Awareness Day on September 26th every year. The color blue helps identify those who support mesothelioma research and awareness. This national research foundation can offer ideas for local groups to use for their own communities.
Events include community fundraisers, online awareness campaigns, and conferences on mesothelioma research. Mesothelioma Awareness Day has been officially recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and numerous local governments and municipalities.
Other Mesothelioma Awareness Groups and Events
In the U.S., Mesothelioma Awareness Day is the primary event designed to educate the public about asbestos and mesothelioma. There are other organizations and events doing their part, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Global Asbestos Awareness Week
The U.S. is not the only country affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) promotes Global Asbestos Awareness Week the first week of April. In 2016, the theme was “Hear Asbestos. Think Prevention.”
The event focused on preventing asbestos exposure and related illnesses. The ADAO is based in the United States but strives to bring awareness of the dangers of asbestos to the entire world.
In 2004, the ADAO used Global Asbestos Awareness Week to get twelve resolutions passed in the U.S. Senate. The ADAO also succeeded in having four official asbestos warnings announced by the U.S. Surgeon General.
These moves helped to spread awareness about asbestos and its dangers. The group also uses the week to spearhead efforts to ban mining, manufacturing, and asbestos use.
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
ADAO is the largest independent non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to asbestos awareness and advocacy. It aims to educate the public and healthcare industry about asbestos diseases, to advocate for asbestos bans, and to unite the community of people affected by asbestos.
Some of ADAO’s events and campaigns include a national conference to discuss treatment and a “Let’s Rock” campaign featuring the music of Warren Zevon. Zevon died of mesothelioma in 2003.
Miles for Meso
Another organization supports mesothelioma awareness with a fun run and walk each year. Miles for Meso events take place in Washington, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.
Organizers of the event hope to spread the event to other locations in the future. A run like the Miles for Meso event is a popular way to raise both money and awareness while also promoting healthy activity.
Runs are especially great for raising local awareness and present an opportunity for local individuals to get involved in a cause they care about.
International Mesothelioma Interest Group
Organizations focused on mesothelioma awareness are not restricted to activists and individuals. Professionals and academics are also involved in these awareness groups and campaigns. The International Mesothelioma Interest Group consists of physicians, medical specialists, and scientists interested in furthering their understanding of this cancer.
This group also seeks to understand how the disease develops and how to prevent and treat it. The group meets every two years to discuss research and raise awareness among medical professionals and researchers.
International Ban Asbestos Sectretariat
The IBAS is an international group that promotes information exchange between smaller groups seeking to ban asbestos in their countries.
These groups use awareness and educational campaigns to recruit people and change or push policy toward a total asbestos ban. Just a few of the countries involved include Canada, France, Japan, India, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia.
IBAS sponsors conferences that help inform the public about the risks of asbestos and advocate for bans and greater protections.
Pacific Mesothelioma Center
The PMC is a research center for mesothelioma led by expert Dr. Robert Cameron. Dr. Cameron is a lead surgeon and advocate for lung-sparing surgeries for mesothelioma patients. The group hosts the annual International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma to bring together researchers and experts to share their work and ideas.
How to Help Create Awareness for Mesothelioma
If you know someone who has been affected by mesothelioma and asbestos, do your part to make others aware of the issue. Every person who participates and educates others makes a difference.
Learn About Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Before you can bring awareness to others, you need to know more about the issue. Read up on abestos, where it can be found today, who is affected by it, and how it causes mesothelioma. Know the signs and symptoms of this rare cancer and how people can protect themselves from it.
A rundown of statistics is a helpful shorthand for quickly educating others about mesothelioma and asbsestos.
Follow and Share Groups on Social Media
Follow groups like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundations. Give them likes and follows and then share their posts with friends and family to spread the word.
Participate in 2022 Mesothelioma Awareness Events
The more people participate in events, the farther awareness spreads. Do your part by finding an event to join, either online or in-person. Here are some ideas for 2022 mesothelioma awareness events:
- 11th Walk for Mesothelioma. Hosted by the Pacific Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute, the walk will take place in Los Angeles on September 25, 2022. Participants can also register and participate virtually to raise money.
- Action Mesothelioma Day. In the UK, mesothelioma awreness is celebrated on July 1 and spearheaded by Mesothelioma UK. Action Mesothelioma Day is a fundraiser and awareness event held in Loughborough. The group also hosts a Patient and Carer Day on October 6.
- Safe + Sound. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hosts a weeklong event (August 15 – 21, 2022) to improve worker safety. The event highlights workplace dangers like asbestos and brings awareness to prevention and safety.[footnte num=”8″]
Create Local Events
If you can’t find any events to participate in, consider creating your own. A local 5k fun run, a booth at a health fair, or an affiliate group to a nationwide organization can help you spread awareness right in your own community.
All of these groups are increasing awareness of asbestos and the diseases it causes. Mesothelioma awareness helps prevent this cancer in people at risk. It also promotes early detection. Awareness groups also influence public policy and fund research and public education campaigns. Awareness is powerful and can be cultivated by large international groups as well as individuals and local organizations.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
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.