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Cancer Awareness Days and Events in September

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on August 17th, 2017 in

Lack of knowledge has unfortunately taken a heavy toll on the health of many former asbestos workers, who failed to recognize the signs of mesothelioma until cancer was extremely severe.

- By Michael Bartlett

The month of September was chosen as a time to raise awareness of numerous forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, which up to 10% of individuals with a history of asbestos exposure will develop. Considering the low prevalence of this illness, which affects a little over 2,500 Americans every year, it should not come as a surprise that the vast majority of people have never heard of mesothelioma. This is one of the many reasons why we need to strive for increasing awareness with regard to mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, which is the only known cause of this cancer.

While the annual number of new cases may not seem very alarming, it is worthy of note that mesothelioma has actually become four times more common in the U.S. after the 1980s as a consequence of the unprecedented asbestos use which took place throughout the country for the better part of the last century. Another essential aspect to keep in mind is that along with malignant diseases such as thymoma and heart cancer, mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer whose number of victims has always been incomparable to that of more widespread illnesses like lung cancer, which is annually accountable for over 150,000 deaths only in the United States.

As mesothelioma has a very aggressive progress and most people who suffer from it do not experience specific symptoms until cancer has spread considerably, this disease is typically detected in advanced stages, when treatment is no longer effective. For this reason, the prognosis of mesothelioma is extremely unfavorable. The average life expectancy for mesothelioma is less than 12 months, with only 38% of patients achieving a 1-year survival. However, timely diagnosis can improve prognosis to a great extent, as well as prolong survival significantly. Being aware of the early symptoms and constantly keeping your health in check if you were exposed to asbestos in occupational settings is the only feasible way of avoiding a tragic diagnosis.

Nevertheless, the harmful effects of asbestos exposure had been meticulously concealed by U.S. manufacturers from employees until 1971, when stricter workplace regulations became effective by virtue of federal agencies like EPA and OSHA. Lack of knowledge has unfortunately taken a heavy toll on the health of many former asbestos workers, who failed to recognize the signs of mesothelioma until cancer was extremely severe. This is yet another reason why we need a mesothelioma awareness day - so as to educate the general public on the dangers of past asbestos exposure and most importantly, on the terrible diseases which might arise from it over the years.

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

By virtue of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's incessant endeavors to bring awareness to this rare form of cancer and raise funds for mesothelioma research, September 26th was officially deemed National Mesothelioma Awareness Day in 2010 by the U.S. Congress. Since then, 12 states, as well as 34 cities, have been celebrating it every year, encouraging residents to participate by organizing a fundraiser, attending one of the events put together by the foundation, sharing educational resources about mesothelioma on social media or simply talking to another person about it. As for people whose place of residence does not recognize the day, the foundation invites them to determine their city to declare the 26th of September National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, too.

This year, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's awareness campaign starts right on September 1st. Regardless of whether you are suffering from mesothelioma yourself, have a diagnosed family member or would just like to spread the word, here are several ways you can participate:

  • share a photo of you wearing blue - the official color for mesothelioma - on social media, explaining why it is important to raise awareness of this form of cancer
  • join the members of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation on the Rockefeller Plaza in New York on the 26th of September and participate in the audience of the Today Show, which will help raise awareness nationwide
  • share information about mesothelioma with your family and friends, either on social media or in real life, so as to educate other people on this asbestos-related disease

Trusted Source: Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Malignant diseases which affect the blood, the bone marrow or the lymphatic system are collectively known as blood cancer. This umbrella term actually refers to three forms of cancer:

  • Leukemia. This cancer concerns both the blood and the bone marrow. It entails the rapid production of a large number of abnormal white blood cells and it also hinders the bone marrow's ability to create new red blood cells and platelets.
  • Lymphoma. In people suffering from this type of cancer, the lymphatic system, which is responsible with removing excess fluid from the body and producing immune cells, is severely affected.
  • Myeloma. Plasma cells, whose role is to release antibodies, are no longer able to fulfill their role if myeloma occurs, which weakens the immune system tremendously.

A person in the U.S. receives a blood cancer diagnosis every 3 minutes, whereas every 9 minutes, someone loses their life to one of these unmerciful diseases. By the end of 2017, over 170,000 Americans will have developed a form of blood cancer. Despite significant breakthrough in terms of treatment, more than a third of people suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma will not reach a 5-year survival. A form of blood cancer occurs in approximately 10% of the individuals who are currently struggling with a malignant disease in the U.S.

Lymphoma Awareness Day is celebrated annually on September 15th worldwide. In the United States, the entire month of September has been dedicated to raising awareness of blood cancer since 2010 as a result of the tireless efforts of several non-profit organizations such as the Lymphoma Research Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Light It Red for Lymphoma initiative encourages individuals, as well as businesses, to speak up about this type of blood cancer and provide some inspiration to people who are struggling with it. Whether you are a business, a public institution or just a U.S citizen who would like to participate, you can find plenty of awesome ideas you can use to spread the word on the campaign's official page, which you can visit by accessing the source below.

Trusted Sources: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Lymphoma Research Foundation

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

On average, cancer affects 43 people under the age of 21 every day in the United States and over 40,000 children undergo treatment for malignant diseases annually. The median age of diagnosis is 6. Although the survival rate has increased from 10% to nearly 90% over the past five decades, 12% of children who suffer from a form of cancer will not beat it. The most prevalent types of cancer among children include:

  • leukemia
  • neuroblastoma
  • lymphoma
  • bone cancer
  • brain and spinal cord tumors
  • retinoblastoma

September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Accordingly, non-profit cancer organizations will be striving to educate people on key aspects of childhood cancer, as well as to support cancer research through fundraising. The American Childhood Cancer Organization and Children's Cancer Research Fund are only two of the groups whose implication is relentless both during the month of September and throughout the year. If you would like to bring awareness to childhood cancer, you can do so in many ways, depending on the extent to which you are willing to participate. From wearing the gold ribbon and sharing educational resources on childhood cancer on social media to hosting a fundraising event, non-profit organizations offer a lot of effective ideas in this respect.

Trusted Sources: The American Childhood Cancer Organization and Children's Cancer Research Fund

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

As the fifth most common form of cancer in women, 3 out of 4 people who develop thyroid cancer are female. It is also the most rapidly increasing cancer diagnosis in the United States at the moment, which is most likely due to the innovative and reliable screening methods available nowadays. By the end of 2017, approximately 56,870 new cases of thyroid cancer will have been diagnosed in the U.S. Children and teens make up 2% of the Americans who suffer from this disease. Nevertheless, the prognosis of thyroid cancer is surprisingly positive - 98% of the diagnosed individuals will achieve a 5-year survival.

Since 2003, Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month has been celebrated during the month of September worldwide, with 56 countries participating every year. The concept belongs to ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc. As the largest community of thyroid cancer survivors, the organization has been maintaining and developing a network which connects patients with health care professionals for the past 22 years. You can find out how you can partake in Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month by visiting their official website below.

Trusted Source: ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc.

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly malignant diseases affecting women. Accordingly, only 46% of women who suffer from it will reach a 5-year survival. The main reason why ovarian cancer has such a dire prognosis refers to the time of diagnosis. Over 90% of the women whose cancer is detected in one of the incipient stages (1A or 1B) reach the 5-year survival. Thus, early diagnosis is crucial and may even be life-saving, as it improves prognosis substantially. Additionally, younger women tend to have better survival rates. If you are a woman, your risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 75.

Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is found early in less than 15% of cases, hence the poor prognosis of this disease. The absence of specific symptoms, as well as lack of a reliable screening test, is the primary reason why ovarian cancer fails to be timely detected so often. The symptoms of ovarian cancer, which can easily be mistaken for those of more common health issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, include:

  • abdominal or pelvic pain
  • difficulty eating
  • bloating
  • feeling full after eating small amounts of food
  • a frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • indigestion
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • changes in bowel movement

With the occasion of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, numerous non-profit organizations, including the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, will intensify their efforts to bring awareness to this terrible disease. If you wish to get involved, you can find a list of events which are going to take place in the U.S. during September on the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's official website, which appears in the list below.

Trusted Sources: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Coalition and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Every 3 minutes, a man in the U.S. receives a prostate cancer diagnosis. This disease is the third leading cause of cancer death in American men, the forerunners being lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Similarly to ovarian cancer, early diagnosis is the key of a favorable prognosis. When prostate cancer is found in incipient stages, it is 100% treatable. If you are a man, you have a one-in-seven chance of developing prostate cancer during your lifetime. The median age of diagnosis is 66. At the moment, there are nearly 3 million prostate cancer survivors in the U.S.

Starting as National Prostate Health Month in 1989 by virtue of the American Foundation for Urological Disease, September has come to stand specifically for prostate cancer awareness since 2003. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is one of the non-profit organizations which have taken upon themselves to spread awareness of this malignant disease. If you, too, would like to participate in National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we invite you to visit the foundation's website, where you will find plenty of ideas of showing your support.

Trusted Source: The Prostate Cancer Foundation

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