Raising awareness of serious but rare illnesses like mesothelioma is crucial for helping people locate resources and focus on finding a cure.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is in September. But parties are creating events, educational materials and celebrations to raise awareness all month long. So, what should you know about mesothelioma?
How prevalent is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma rates may be much higher than the average person realizes:
- In 2018, the World Health Organization estimated that 125 million people worldwide have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace
- Patients with mesothelioma have an average life expectancy of 12-22 months
- There are four different kinds of mesothelioma, as well as other asbestos-related illnesses, including asbestosis
- Most mesothelioma patients undergo chemotherapy
- Surgery and radiation can also be used to treat mesothelioma
Even though mesothelioma is rarer than other cancers, these statistics show that it still affects thousands of families. And patients often go through aggressive treatment programs and trials to extend life expectancy and improve their quality of life.
Raising awareness, finding a cure
Despite numerous advances in mesothelioma treatments, there is no cure for this cancer. By raising awareness of how serious these illnesses are, advocates hope to increase donations and funding for research.
Raising awareness of mesothelioma and related illnesses can also highlight that asbestos exposure (which can cause mesothelioma) is typically preventable.
Asbestos is not commonly used in products today. However, it remains in products including construction materials and brake pads manufactured decades ago. And protecting individuals from exposure is possible with measures including:
- Using trained abatement professionals
- Wearing protective gear
- Following federal regulations regarding testing, removal and disposal of asbestos-containing products
The more people know about this illness and what causes it, the more equipped they can be to prevent exposure and the harmful diseases it can cause.
Any person affected by asbestos exposure should know resources and advocates can make it easier to cope with a devastating diagnosis. And with continued awareness and resources dedicated to mesothelioma, treatments can continue to improve.