September 26th is Mesothelioma Awareness Day in the United States, a day meant to raise awareness for the thousands of people who are affected by this rare form of cancer every year. This annual day of awareness has been used to share information, raise funding, and bring attention to this disease on a day that brings the broader mesothelioma community together.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day was first organized by the Meso Foundation in 2004, and the day has been celebrated each year since. Here are four fast and key facts to know about mesothelioma on Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
1. Asbestos Is Not an Ancient or Forgotten Problem
At this point, it is a well-known fact that exposure to asbestos is the primary known cause of a mesothelioma diagnosis. When asbestos is disturbed or ages, the mineral’s microscopic fibers can be easily ingested or inhaled by victims who are at the exposure site. However, steps were taken in the 1970s to significantly limit the mineral’s use. This is one reason why some mistakenly believe asbestos was banned, but in fact, asbestos continues to be used for some industries to this day (the chlor-alkali industry, most notably).
In reality, asbestos is still a very real and ongoing problem. For one thing, it can take decades for exposure to asbestos to result in a mesothelioma diagnosis, meaning an exposure that took place in the 1970s or 1980s could still result in a mesothelioma diagnosis years a few years from now.
In addition, consider the following:
- The EPA has found that 132,000 primary and secondary schools serving more than 55 million children contain asbestos
- Older homes and factories built with asbestos decades ago can remain an ongoing risk
- Asbestos exposure continues to be the leading cause of occupational cancer
In short, the harms of asbestos exposure are still ongoing, affecting thousands of newly diagnosed patients every year.
2. There Are Different Types of Mesothelioma to Be Aware Of
Most family members of mesothelioma patients are probably most familiar with pleural mesothelioma, which makes up approximately 4 out of every 5 mesothelioma cases. This type of mesothelioma occurs in the lungs, but there are other forms of mesothelioma cancer, including:
- Peritoneal mesothelioma (an abdominal cavity cancer that accounts for the vast majority of the remaining 20 percent or so of mesothelioma patients
- Pericardial mesothelioma (mesothelioma that affects the heart lining and is suffered by approximately 1 percent of mesothelioma patients
- Testicular mesothelioma (affects the lining of the testicles, and fewer than 100 cases of testicular mesothelioma have been discovered
3. Mesothelioma Disproportionately Affects Veterans and Industrial Workers
It is thought that military veterans comprise nearly 1 out of every 3 mesothelioma deaths (30%), while making up less than 10 percent of the population. Occupational asbestos exposure is also common, and occupations that have been shown to be at the greatest risk of asbestos exposure include:
- Construction workers
- Shipyard workers and shipbuilders
- Manufacturing and power generation employees
- Chemical refining employees
4. Mesothelioma Is Often Fatal for Patients
One reason Mesothelioma Awareness Day is essential is based on the fact that survival rates for today’s patients are poor. Although it can take decades for an asbestos exposure to result in a mesothelioma diagnosis, the disease progresses rapidly once the process is completed.
The American Cancer Society has found that just 10 to 16 percent of pleural mesothelioma patients live five years or more after a diagnosis if the cancer is caught in the early stage. For later-stage pleural mesothelioma patients, between 1 to 8 percent are thought to survive five or more years after receiving a diagnosis.
Simply put, the dire survival rates for this rare form of cancer deserve more research and funding, which is precisely what Mesothelioma Awareness Day aims to achieve every year.
The Ledger Law Firm is proud to help bring awareness to this deadly form of cancer on Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and we use our national resources to help mesothelioma victims pursue legal compensation when their diagnosis was caused by a wrongful exposure to asbestos.
Contact us online for a free case evaluation to discuss your mesothelioma claim with a national mesothelioma law firm and Ledger Law mesothelioma lawyer today.