National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Photo of a tablet with the word Mesothelioma and stethoscope
Today marks the fourth National Mesothelioma Awareness Day, a day of remembrance and awareness of the disease that has tragically claimed the lives of so many. National Mesothelioma Awareness Day was first established in 2009 when the United States Senate passed Resolution 288 designating September 26th as a national day of observation and awareness. The following year, the House of Representatives recognized the importance of creating national awareness and passed a similar bill, House Resolution 771. The State of New Jersey has similarly dedicated September 26th of each year as a “Mesothelioma Awareness Day” via Joint Resolution No. 122.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that typically develops in the lining that surrounds the lungs but can also attack the heart, abdomen and testicles. The cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos and can take up to 50 years to develop following exposure. There continues to be approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year. Keefe Law Firm has represented numerous victims of mesothelioma including insulators, pipefitters, boilermakers, construction workers, electricians and plumbers. In addition, we have represented family members who were exposed to asbestos from laundering a family member’s clothing or simply by being around a family member who unknowingly brought asbestos dust home on his or her body and clothing.

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a nationally designated day for advocates and victims to rally around the cause and increase awareness of the disease and the need for a cure. The following excerpt from House Resolution 771 designating September 26th as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day provides some insight into the disease and the need for public awareness:

  • Whereas mesothelioma is a terminal, asbestos-related cancer that affects the linings of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles;
  • Whereas workers exposed on a daily basis over a long period of time are most at risk, but even short-term exposures can cause the disease and an exposure to asbestos for as little as one month can result in mesothelioma 20-50 years later;
  • Whereas asbestos was used in the construction of virtually all office buildings, public schools, and homes built before 1975 and asbestos is still on the United States market in over 3,000 products;
  • Whereas there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos;
  • Whereas millions of workers in the United States have been, and continue to be, exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos;
  • Whereas the National Institutes of Health reported to Congress in 2006 that mesothelioma is a difficult disease to detect, diagnose, and treat;
  • Whereas the National Cancer Institute recognizes a clear need for new agents to improve the outlook for patients with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
  • Whereas for decades, the need to develop treatments for mesothelioma was overlooked and today, even the best available treatments usually have only a very limited effect and the expected survival time of those diagnosed with the disease is between 8 and 14 months;
  • Whereas mesothelioma has claimed the lives of such heroes and public servants as Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., and Congressman Bruce F. Vento, and a high percentage of today’s mesothelioma victims were exposed to asbestos while serving in the United States Navy;
  • Whereas it is believed that many of the firefighters, police officers, and rescue workers from Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, may be at increased risk of contracting mesothelioma in the future;
  • Whereas the establishment of a National Mesothelioma Awareness Day would raise public awareness of the disease and of the need to develop treatments and enhance public awareness for it; and
  • Whereas cities and localities across the country are recognizing September 26 as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

As we honor and remember the countless men and women who have been tragically affected by mesothelioma, we hope that National Mesothelioma Awareness Day continues to raise awareness and brings us one step closer to a cure.