Mesothelioma Awareness Day is today, Monday, September 26th. It is a day
to first and foremost, celebrate the lives of those who have battled and
still are battling mesothelioma, a very rare and aggressive type of cancer.
It’s also a day meant to educate, inform and spread awareness. Mesothelioma
is 100% preventable, so until we can get rid of the cause in the United
States, we must make sure that our population is aware of just how dangerous
it can be!
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber, that is mined and used for it’s
heat resistant and fire resistant properties. When asbestos is disturbed
and airborne, the substance can be breathed in and ingested. From there,
the particles attach themselves to the mesothelial tissue, which can be
found in the lungs, abdomen or heart. The substance sticks there, and
years down the road can cause a series of health complications, one of
which being mesothelioma.
The different types depend on the location of the cancer. There is pleural,
in the lungs, peritoneal, in the lungs, and pericardial, in the heart.
Pleural is the most common, making up about 80% of new mesothelioma cases.
Peritoneal, is more rare, with about 15%-20% of new cases. Pericardial
is the most rare of the three, accounting for only 1% of all cases. In
extremely rare cases, mesothelioma can occur in the testicles. There have
been less than 100 cases of this reported around the world.
Symptoms of mesothelioma can easily be mistaken for common ailments. The
list includes coughing, shortness of breath, hoarseness, fatigue, nausea,
vomiting, and weight loss–just to name a few. Sadly, the latency
period for these symptoms can range from 10-50 years, which makes this
cancer extremely hard to detect. In most cases, it is not diagnosed until
it is in its later stages.
mesothelioma typically comes with a poor prognosis. Although it depends on the age and health of patient, along with the
type and stage of the cancer, mesothelioma patients are usually given
between 12 and 24 months to live. A typical course of treatment would
involve either surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination for
the three. Recently, new immunotherapy treatments are being developed–which
will hopefully lead to a better outcome for mesothelioma patients.
How to Avoid Mesothelioma
Since mesothelioma is extremely difficult to treat due to its long latency
period and aggressive behavior, prevention is crucial. In order to prevent
this cancer, along with other health related complications associated
to asbestos (lung cancer, asbestosis), you should become familiar with
common places and products that asbestos can be found in. It’s not
uncommon for buildings, including homes and schools, to contain asbestos
products if they were built before the 1980’s. The substance is
common in the following products:
- Insulation materials
- Roofing and siding
- Plaster and compounds
- Plastics, paints and adhesives
- Casing and sound proofing materials
- Flooring tiles
For more information on common places to find asbestos, check out the Mesothelioma
+ Asbestos Awareness Center’s blog post
Make a Difference
Educate–Keep yourself up to date on information regarding asbestos in your
area. Also, know the signs of asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma.
If you suspect that there is asbestos in your home, contact a professional
to have it checked, and if removal is necessary have it done by a professional
abatement team. It can be extremely dangerous to remove and expose of
this material without the proper knowledge and protection.
Share–Use your education to help others. Share the information that you
learn about asbestos and mesothelioma with your friends, family and loved
ones! Through word of mouth, and even social media platforms, you can
make a difference in the lives of those around you. You can hashtag #MesoAwarenessDay
on September 26th to help spread the world, and #EndMeso to show your
support in the fight to end mesothelioma once and for all!
Petition–Asbestos is banned in 60+ countries all over the globe. The United
NOT one of them! Our nation is actually one of the only industrialized nations
that has not yet banned asbestos, despite it’s awful, life threatening
health complications. Join the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
(ADAO) in rallying to have asbestos banned, not only in the United States,
but all over the world,
here! Every signature counts. One day hopefully we will live in a world without
asbestos, and the pointless suffering of asbestos related disease like
mesothelioma will end.