This September 26th marks the 13th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day! It’s a day for patients and their loved ones, survivors, advocates, doctors, and organizations to join together in highlighting the disease and the need to ban asbestos.
Around the country, there will be various awareness events going on, like Miles for Meso walks and an #ENDMeso tweetchat hosted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). In honor of the day, the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center will be participating in the tweetchat.
Importance of Awareness
Mesothelioma is a preventable cancer. Millions of Americans are at risk of developing the disease at some point in their lives from past exposure, and as long as asbestos remains legal, more lives are at risk. Today, we’re closer than ever to a ban on the toxin as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underway with their risk evaluations for asbestos and nine other chemicals. Though these evaluations are expected to be ongoing for several years, it’s a huge step in the right direction and advocates hope the EPA will move forward with a full ban.
Until then, however, the risk remains. Even with a ban, these legacy uses of asbestos will still put people at risk of exposure. Asbestos was heavily relied on for construction especially, used in insulation, roofing materials, flooring, and more. For homes and buildings, including schools, built before the 1980s, it’s more than likely that asbestos can be found somewhere. While it’s not an immediate danger as long as the materials are undisturbed and in good shape, as a building ages or undergoes construction the risk for exposure increases.
Occupational exposure remains a huge risk, as well. Certain industries, like shipbuilding and mechanics, used asbestos in various products they worked with regularly, including boilers for ships and brake pads for vehicles. This means countless employees could have been exposed to asbestos through their daily duties at work, and some may still be exposed today. Asbestos is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States.
While these threats of exposure remain, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases need better awareness. Mesothelioma in particular is often surrounded by so many misconceptions or people haven’t even heard of it because it’s so rare. This cancer does not have a cure, and usually comes with a very short life expectancy once it’s diagnosed, which makes awareness and prevention crucial as long as exposure is still a threat.
How to Get Involved
An easy way to get involved and help raise awareness on Mesothelioma Awareness Day is by joining the #ENDMeso tweetchat or sharing about the disease on social media at any point of the day. The chat is hosted by the ADAO and will start at 12pm EST on Tuesday, September 26. The questions will be spread out across an hour and end around 1pm. The chat will even be bilingual, with questions in both English and Spanish.
To participate, you’ll simply need a Twitter account to be able to answer questions and interact with others in the chat. Each tweet should include the #ENDMeso hashtag to ensure it becomes part of the conversation thread. Additionally, participants should include some variation of “A1, A2” to help correspond their answers with the specific questions.
If you want to consider responses ahead of time, or try to schedule tweets because you’re unable to make the chat, the ADAO posted the questions ahead of time:
- Q1: How do you raise asbestos and mesothelioma awareness?
- Q2: What should a newly diagnosed patient know?
- Q3: What was the most helpful resource you’ve found?
- Q4: Where do you find strength?
- Q5: What life lesson have you learned from mesothelioma?
The questions will be posted from Linda Reinstein, the co-founder of ADAO, so it will also be helpful to follow her account (@Linda_ADAO) before the chat begins.
In addition to the chat, there are plenty of ways to join the cause on September 26th and throughout the year! A donation to a cancer research organization or an advocacy organization like the ADAO can make a huge difference in the fight to end mesothelioma. This rare cancer often doesn’t receive as much funding or dedicated research as its more common counterparts.
Events are also held all over the country and internationally throughout the year. Some are specifically for fundraising or simply raising awareness, but there are also many educational conferences and meetings available for those who want to learn more about the disease.
However you get involved and help raise awareness, it can make a big impact in the battle to ban asbestos and find a cure for mesothelioma.