According to an article on Mesothelioma cancer awareness, September 26th is National Meso (mesothelioma) Awareness Day. Begun by the Meso Foundation, this day is dedicated to raise awareness of the problems, symptoms, and need for research into mesothelioma, one of the lesser-known forms of cancer.
A person with mensothelioma may eventually be suffocated so that breathing is painful, or the heart or other organs can be crushed as the cancer grows. Most people who are diagnosed with meso die within 4 to 14 months.
Meso is caused by asbestos exposure. It can take years (30, 40, or even 50 years) to develop. According to the Meso Foundation, the U.S. EPA identified asbestos as," one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings."
The EPA estimates that over 20 million American workers have been exposed to asbestos particles. Every year approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
According to the Meso Foundation, treatments for mesothelioma were largely ignored. While asbestos was known to be a carcinogenic, businesses were allowed to continue using it. Developing treatments for meso were ignored, perhaps because of potential legal minefields.
With a myriad of reasons behind it, the bottom line is that funding for research into treating meso has lagged far behind that of other forms of cancer. The Meso Foundation hopes to change this by drawing awareness to this rare but painful form of cancer.
Actor Steve McQueen died of meso only 11 months after his diagnosis in 1980. In 2003, singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was also diagnosed with meso. He died one year after being diagnosed with it. The treatment of meso has not changed much since 1980.