As the summer winds down and Fall approaches it is time for new beginnings. For the kids, it is the start of the new school year. For the mesothelioma community, September brings Mesothelioma Awareness Day on September 26. The day has been set aside since 2004 for the mesothelioma community to raise awareness about mesothelioma.
Over the years we have learned from the patients and families we have had the privilege to care for, that most people know two things about mesothelioma. The first is that mesothelioma is caused by asbestos. Most people then go on to say, “but we don’t have asbestos in the U.S. anymore.” The second thing that our patients have said over the years is that they have heard of mesothelioma from the television ads. They know the word, they know it is a serious cancer, but that is about it.
The Awareness day is to help the mesothelioma community enlighten more people to the facts about asbestos exposure, asbestosis and mesothelioma:
- Mesothelioma is a rare cancer. It is less than 1% of all cancers.
- The number of people affected in the United States is approximately 2,800 to 3,000 people a year.
- Asbestos is not banned in the United States, it is still used in many products.
One of the most important things that needs to be emphasized, is that despite the history of malignant mesothelioma, there is hope. Hope that this disease can be cured. Hope that the doctors and researchers and scientists who have dedicated their careers to this disease, are making progress.
Raising awareness starts with all of us. There are planned events for the day including encouraging people to wearing blue, and assembling at Rockefeller Plaza in New York on the set of the Today Show to spread the word.
Awareness helps to put a face to a deadly cancer. Education and research along with hope, can only help further the work of the mesothelioma community.
On September 26, Mesothelioma Awareness Day, plan to make a difference!