Today, February 4, is an international day set aside to unite the world’s population in the fight against cancer. With the tagline ‘We can. I can.’,” World Cancer Day 2018 is focused on how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. This day is a fitting time to tell your friends, and anyone you meet, about mesothelioma and ways in which they can support the mesothelioma community in the quest to help find a cure.
World Cancer Day’s primary objective is to get as many people as possible around the globe to talk about cancer. Organized by the Union for International Cancer Control, the world’s largest cancer organization headquartered in Switzerland, the day “aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.”
The day is a time to reflect on deaths caused by mesothelioma, a preventable cancer, and renew efforts to eliminate recognized cancer causes. With thousands of families across the globe losing loved ones to mesothelioma, it is the time to raise awareness of the slow-developing asbestos-caused cancer.
Mesothelioma is a serious disease diagnosed in close to 3,000 Americans each year. As with other environmental cancers, mesothelioma is an entirely preventable disease. Currently there is no known cure for the disease, but ongoing research is the key to finding the breakthrough that can mean the difference between life and death.
Today, about 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos, primarily in the workplace or by living near factories that handle asbestos. Microscopic asbestos fibers can accumulate in the lung and cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, a chronic scarring of the lung.
There are nearly 500 events planned for World Cancer Day 2018. Check here for an event near you. In addition, donations can be made to a mesothelioma organization where your dollars will go towards mesothelioma research. Consider making a donation to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation in honor of Don Smitley, who lost his life to mesothelioma. His daughter Jennifer Gelsick, who is a “Faces of Mesothelioma” author, and her family established a fund in Smitley’s name to help raise much-needed money for mesothelioma research. Contributions can be made in Don’s memory at www.curemeso.com/fundraising/smitley.
“World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action. Whatever you choose to do ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference to the fight against cancer.”
For more information visit WorldCancerDay.org.
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lungs, heart or abdomen, caused by past exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma has a long latency period where those exposed to asbestos may not exhibit symptoms for nearly 60 years after exposure. Mesothelioma can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, however, the likelihood of recurrence of the cancer is high. There is no cure for mesothelioma.