Each year, the mesothelioma community across the nation comes together for Mesothelioma Awareness Day, a time devoted to raising public awareness about the life-threatening cancer and its cause ─ exposure to asbestos.
Patients, family members, friends, advocates and health care professionals are encouraged to share their personal stories, struggles and inspiration in order to bring attention to the disease and further the search for a cure.
When Is Mesothelioma Awareness Day?
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is held on Sept. 26. In 2018, September 26 falls on a Wednesday.
In an effort to expand the impact of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, advocates have encouraged patients, caregivers, family and friends to participate in Mesothelioma Awareness Week surrounding Sept. 26, as well as Mesothelioma Awareness Month throughout September.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day History
In 2004, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation organized the original Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Since then, the national nonprofit organization has continued to build momentum by promoting the day as a time for all those touched by the cancer to talk about its impact.
In 2010, Congress joined the effort by establishing Mesothelioma Awareness Day as a time for the nation to recognize that thousands of Americans are diagnosed with the preventable cancer each year. In fact, despite its designation as a known carcinogen, asbestos is still not banned in the United States, and Americans are still at risk of exposure.
The Importance of Awareness Day
The National Mesothelioma Awareness Day resolution asks that the President of the United States issue a proclamation calling for all Americans, federal agencies and departments, state governments, local municipalities, organizations, and news media to properly observe the day.
The Congressional Declaration outlines these key facts about malignant mesothelioma as reasons for promoting awareness of the deadly asbestos cancer:
- Although workers who were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis over a long period of time are most at risk of developing mesothelioma, even short-term exposures can cause the disease. In fact, exposure to asbestos for as little as one month can result in mesothelioma 20 to 50 years later.
- Asbestos materials were used in the construction of virtually all office buildings, public schools, and homes built before 1975. Still today, asbestos is used in more than 3,000 products being sold in the United States.
- The National Institutes of Health reported to Congress in 2006 that mesothelioma is a difficult disease to detect, diagnose and treat.
- For decades, the need to develop treatments for mesothelioma was overlooked. Still today, even the best mesothelioma treatments usually have a very limited effect, with the expected survival time of 8 to 14 months.
- It is believed that many of the firefighters, rescue workers and police officers from Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, may be at increased risk of developing mesothelioma in the future due to asbestos exposure at the site.
Every year, about 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Around the world, an estimated 38,400 people die each year from the devastating asbestos illness.
Unfortunately, those numbers are not dwindling. Mesothelioma statistics indicate an increase in deaths in recent years, with an 8 percent increase in fatalities in the United States for the 10-year period that ended in 2015.
These facts point to the importance of Mesothelioma Awareness Day in educating people about the dangers of asbestos and promoting the need for continued research into more effective treatments.
Paint the World in Mesothelioma Awareness
Just as breast cancer is associated with the color pink, support for mesothelioma awareness is often represented by a colored ribbon. The mesothelioma awareness color is blue or pearl.
Friends and family members of patients typically don pearl or blue ribbons in a show of solidarity with their loved ones who are fighting the life-threatening disease.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation also encourages people to participate in its “Paint the World in Mesothelioma Blue” campaign to raise awareness by wearing blue and sharing photos of themselves on social media.
How You Can Show Support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Since its founding, the nonprofit Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has advocated for patients and families while coordinating fundraising events to support research efforts related to the disease. This national organization is committed to finding a cure for mesothelioma and ending the suffering it causes.
One way to show your support on Mesothelioma Awareness Day is to make a donation to the Meso Foundation. Your contribution will help fund the organization’s efforts to support mesothelioma patients and the ongoing search for a cure.
You may also choose to show your support by wearing (and asking others to wear):
- Mesothelioma awareness ribbons
- Mesothelioma awareness pins
- Mesothelioma awareness bracelets
- Mesothelioma awareness wristbands
- Mesothelioma awareness shirts
At Mesothelioma Help Cancer Organization, we aim to raise awareness year-round, in particular through our Mesothelioma Awareness Scholarship Contest. As part of this contest, students submit essays sharing their own experiences with mesothelioma as well as their efforts for raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos. We encourage the students to share their essays on social media to help spread the word.
Quick Facts to Share on Mesothelioma Awareness Day
- Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. It has also been shown to cause lung cancer.
- Asbestos was commonly used on Navy ships and in shipyards. Veterans account for approximately one-third of mesothelioma diagnoses.
- Industrial workers and construction workers are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.
- Family members of those who worked with asbestos may have faced secondhand exposure through fibers brought home on clothing or skin.
- Although the U.S. government has safety regulations in place, it has not banned the use of asbestos.
- There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
- Renovation projects on older homes and demolition of older buildings can put people at risk of asbestos exposure.
- Never try to remove asbestos materials on your own. Contact an asbestos abatement professional.
- Companies that made asbestos products understood the health risks but failed to warn the public.
- Mesothelioma patients and families may be entitled to compensation for damages due to asbestos exposure.
- Even if an asbestos company has gone out of business, funds may be available in a bankruptcy trust for mesothelioma victims.
- Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
- Make a Donation