Every year, around 3,000 American families experience the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one from the preventable cancer known as mesothelioma. The cancer is fatal — there is no cure — and its cause is a well-known, globally recognized carcinogen: asbestos.
Asbestos is a mineral mined from the earth. For much of the 20th century, asbestos was used in countless commercial products, including a vast assortment of building and construction materials.
Miners were exposed to the mineral through their jobs. Factory workers were exposed to the mineral in the manufacturing of asbestos-containing products. Builders were exposed to the mineral while constructing buildings, ships, vehicles, and other structures. Average consumers were exposed to the mineral when purchasing and using asbestos-containing products at home.
Companies favored the use of asbestos because of its ability to resist high temperatures and its profitability. Though hazardous to human health, asbestos was relatively cheap to mine and widely abundant. Even while knowing the undeniable medical dangers of asbestos, reckless companies continued to use it, endangering the lives of millions.
The word “mesothelioma” may commonly make the airwaves of day-time and late-night TV, but it still remains largely unknown to the general public. A rare but devastating cancer, mesothelioma is important to learn about and recognize. Equally as important is standing up for and supporting the people impacted by this incurable disease.
That is the goal of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and it is very quickly approaching.
Mark Your Calendar: Mesothelioma Awareness Day Is Sept. 26th
On Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, the United States will honor the thousands of individuals and families whose lives have been irreversibly impacted by mesothelioma.
In 2004, Mesothelioma Awareness Day was established by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. The non-profit organization founded the day to “bring more attention and funding to [mesothelioma].” Now, in its 17th year, the day continues to drive donations and create global awareness for mesothelioma.
Each year, awareness continues to grow. Just because mesothelioma is a rare cancer does not mean it is any less deadly.
The goals of Mesothelioma Awareness Day are to:
- Educate the public on this cancer, its causes, and its prevention
- Raise awareness on issues relating to the ban and regulation of asbestos
- Generate funding for non-profit and medical organizations that research, diagnose, manage, and treat the disease
While mesothelioma is caused exclusively by asbestos, it is far from the only illness caused by asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can also lead to lung cancer and asbestosis. As a result of all illnesses caused by asbestos exposure, it is estimated that nearly 40,000 Americans die each year — right around the annual U.S. death toll from influenza and suicide.
Mesothelioma is rare, but it is not a small problem, and the families that are suffering because of it need our help and support.
Getting Involved on Mesothelioma Awareness Day
While the ills of social media seem to be at the forefront of the daily news cycle, these platforms are still capable of doing some good — especially when it comes to raising awareness for certain causes.
When Sept. 26 comes around, do your part by promoting Mesothelioma Awareness Day to friends and family, on social media, and within your local communities.
More directly, you can:
- Register for the Annual Miles for Meso 5K Race and 3K Fun Run/Walk, which participants can join virtually this year (registration remains open until Oct. 2)
- Wear blue clothing and masks, the official color of the awareness campaign
- Share social media posts about Mesothelioma Awareness Day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Follow the social media accounts of non-profit organizations leading the charge against mesothelioma: the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the Meso Foundation
- Attend a virtual fundraiser
- Update your Facebook profile picture with a Mesothelioma Awareness Day frame
- Contact your local newspaper and/or news station to request a story on asbestos and mesothelioma to promote awareness in your community
In addition to the above, you can share your voice and show your support for victims of mesothelioma by signing the petition that would ban asbestos from being imported into and used inside the United States.
Remember: What you do can and does make a difference. Join the Mesothelioma Awareness Day efforts this year to help support those whose lives have been impacted by this deadly disease.