A Lot Happened on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2015

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2015 was a resounding success, judging by the many mesothelioma-related events that took place around the country on Sept. 26.

As a result of those events, the number of Americans who either never heard of mesothelioma or had never given it much thought shrunk appreciably.

One of the day’s big eye-openers came bright and early as a throng of blue-clad mesothelioma fighters converged on the midtown Manhattan studios of NBC-TV.

They were there to let the cameras of the “Today” show capture them in their blue garb. They wore blue to demonstrate support for mesothelioma research and solidarity with those afflicted by mesothelioma.

The mesothelioma fighters hoped just to be seen in the street crowd as they held up signs calling attention to mesothelioma.

But things went even better than that. “Today” host Dylan Dreyer strolled up to the advocates and asked them some questions about mesothelioma.

The encounter made for lively television and electrified the gathering of mesothelioma research supporters.

Twitter and Facebook lit up afterward with lots of chatter about what had just happened on “Today” and — much more importantly — about that hyper-aggressive cancer, mesothelioma.

National Twitter Conversation About Mesothelioma

Speaking of social media, Mesothelioma Awareness Day organizers put together a national conversation on mesothelioma, conducted via Twitter. They saw this as a highly effective way to raise consciousness.

“In honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, we wanted to start a conversation about the myths surrounding mesothelioma, asbestos exposure, and the struggles many patients and their families and supporters encounter,” the organizers said in a prepared statement.

The Twitter chat attracted many diverse voices. Here is a quick rundown of what was discussed.

  • There is no cure for mesothelioma. You get it and you will at some point in the future die from it, just as happens every year to an estimated 43,000 people across the globe.
  • If you find out you have mesothelioma and do nothing about, you’ll probably be dead within 10 months.
  • If you find out you have mesothelioma and do something about it, you’ve got a shot at living 10, 15 or 20 years more — or longer.
  • The number of people with mesothelioma is increasing from year to year. And the reason is that the cause of mesothelioma — the mineral asbestos — is not banned anywhere.
  • It is a myth that the only people stricken with mesothelioma are men in late middle age and older. The reality is that mesothelioma attacks women and younger adults too.
  • You’re most likely to be exposed to asbestos on the job. Consequently, the number one cause of occupational cancer is asbestos.

Among the Twitter voices expressing their thoughts about mesothelioma were Cancer Treatment Centers of America president of medicine and science Maurie Markman, M.D., and nine-year mesothelioma survivor and journalist Heather Von St. James.

Mesothelioma Research Conference Held in NYC

Other voices opted to be heard in a more traditional forum, namely an auditorium at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

There, mesothelioma researchers, clinicians, patients, caregivers and others shared information on the latest advances in mesothelioma treatment. The event included a lively question-and-answer session.

All-in-all, National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2015 was a success. Mesothelioma advocates say they can’t wait for National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2016.