Awareness. It truly can save lives, especially when that awareness is related to something that is preventable. If everyone knew exactly what poison ivy looked like, do you think the cases of poison ivy would go down? I would say so. What about for something worse… like cancer? If you were aware of how to prevent cancer, would you take the means to do so for yourself? I most certainly would try. And this all brings us back to the title of this post and that one word that might not look so familiar, mesothelioma.
We’ll make this clear, mesothelioma is a very dangerous form of cancer that attacks a similarly named lining of your body cavity. It tries to, usually successfully, hurt a part of the inside of your body… obviously, you don’t want that to happen. What causes it? Exposure to asbestos. What is asbestos? You might know already or at least you’ve heard the word, but asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally on our planet, and it is a known carcinogen.
To put that into perspective, aspartame, which has a very negative public opinion due to its presence as an artificial sweetener in so many processed foods, is declared as a non-carcinogen on www.cancer.org. That was even after studies and lab experiments. (I still don’t consume aspartame because I’m not convinced, yet.) What about arsenic… would you ingest it if you had a choice? You shouldn’t. Asbestos, however, is still used in construction projects throughout the world; developing and developed countries use it in homes, schools, industrial, and commercial buildings. So… how do you know if you’ve been exposed; what are the symptoms?
Here is the scariest part. Mesothelioma sits dormant in your body for 20-50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. Every year, nearly 3,000 new cases are diagnosed. Their average time given to live… 10 months. Although, it’s most common in individuals 50-70 years old, there have been of cases for those in younger generations. The three types that have been identified are in the lining of the lunges (80% of all cases), abdominal lining, and heart lining. All crucial parts of the body and all extremely painful, I’m sure.
So, what’s the point of me writing this post? Why exactly is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th, 2014 the 10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day? Because your awareness can save your life or someone else’s life. Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in most products in 1989, by 1991 the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it and most products containing asbestos are still made today. Try to avoid them and try to avoid buildings that were constructed with asbestos.
My personal input to this is that asbestos is easily a billion (maybe even trillion) dollar industry, and people aren’t willing to let that go. Money has significant control over the government and we know that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Court of Appeals was bought for that decision to overturn the ban because the money in a few pockets is worth so much more to those individuals than the lives of nearly 10,000 Americans a year who die because of asbestos related diseases.
Become knowledgeable, spread awareness, avoid asbestos, fight the use of asbestos, and save lives. It could be someone you never met, it could be someone you love, it could be you. And stay hungry and fit!