lung graphic

Time and time again, it is critical to alert the American public about the dangers of mesothelioma – an aggressive and malignant form of cancer only caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Once again, that opportunity surfaces in November, which is considered Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Although mesothelioma is not a form of lung cancer, the disease has ties with lung cancer.

Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue – the pleura – that surrounds the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma remains one of the rarest and deadliest forms of cancer with symptoms that include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain.

Focusing on education and fund-raising

Lung Cancer Awareness Month’s origins date to 1997. That year marked the inaugural “Lung Cancer Awareness Day” on Nov. 14. The purpose of Lung Cancer Awareness Month is to raise global awareness of this often-fatal disease. The focus is on educating the public about the causes, diagnoses, and treatment of lung cancer, while emphasizing the needs of the people living with and battling the disease, and raising money for research.

Globally, lung cancer accounts for 1.8 million deaths each year, the most of any type of cancer. It is also the leading form of fatal cancer among U.S. men and women. Several hundred thousand cases of lung cancer each year are caused by asbestos, although lung cancer deaths far outnumber the deaths caused by mesothelioma, it remains crucial to raise public awareness on the latter as well.

Each year, 3,000 die from mesothelioma

Each year, roughly 3,000 people die from mesothelioma in the U.S. A mesothelioma diagnosis is almost always fatal as the people diagnosed with the disease live on average only 12 to 22 months.

What causes the disease? It originates after a person has inhaled or swallowed asbestos fibers. This is why it remains so crucial for the public to understand the dangers of asbestos as well as learn about the common presence of asbestos in homes, buildings, and construction materials.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month remains another opportunity to shift some of that focus toward mesothelioma and how to help victims of this serious disease.