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Mesothelioma Awareness Day briefing held for Congress

Many people in California know very little about mesothelioma, its causes and potential treatment. They may be fortunate, because that means they probably have never been touched by the devastating effects of mesothelioma, and that no one in their family has ever suffered the effects of this asbestos-related disease. And while this lack of knowledge may be fortunate circumstance for many people, for others, it is more problematic, especially if they are in Congress.

Last week, September 26, marked Mesothelioma Awareness Day and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation held briefings for members of Congress and their staff on the topic of mesothelioma. 

Educating members of Congress and their staff is important, because of the need for additional funding to help with research in to treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. The need for funding is underscored by the speed with which the disease can progress. As Jessica Barker, the director of government affairs for the Meso Foundation said, "Mesothelioma patients and families don’t have the luxury of time."

Some may believe that mesothelioma is a disease limited to miners and shipyard workers from the 1940s. In reality, up to 3,500 people in the U.S. contract the disease every year. And it is not just limited to old men, as one of those testifying at the briefing was a 42-year-old woman who had developed mesothelioma when she was 38.

A doctor argued that additional funding for mesothelioma research would not only benefit those with the disease, but all cancer patients, as the research would provide generally applicable information that could be used in treating other forms of cancer.

Source:, "Congressional Briefing on Mesothelioma Educates Staffers," October 1, 2013

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