National Recognition Will Save Lives
SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- September 26th marks national Meso Awareness Day. Meso, short for mesothelioma, is a lethal, extremely painful cancer in which membrane cells lining the chest or abdomen become malignant. The resulting tumor thickens and hardens, crushing the lungs and suffocating the patient, invading the chest wall so that even breathing is excruciating, or invading the heart, aorta or other vital organs and causing catastrophic failure. Average prognosis is only 4 - 14 months.
Meso is caused by exposure to asbestos, identified by the EPA as "one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings." For decades, even after its deadly toxicity were well known to medicine, industry and the government, asbestos was used heavily in construction, industry, the Navy, even household products and appliances. It is still present in many homes, schools, and office buildings. Indeed, it is not yet even banned in the U.S. The disease can arise from small exposures, and even as much as 50 years later.
As a result, each year approximately 3,000 Americans and many thousands more worldwide develop mesothelioma. According to the EPA, over 20 million American workers suffered dangerous exposures and are at risk today of developing meso. The recent events of 9/11 and Katrina have exposed countless more, especially the heroic rescue workers and first-responders. During the collapse of the WTC towers, at least 400 tons of asbestos were released into the air in lower Manhattan.
Despite the risk and tragic toll of the disease, for decades the need
for research to develop effective treatments for meso was ignored, obscured
by the legal, economic and political aspects of asbestos. The National
Cancer Institute's annual investment in clinical mesothelioma research has
been, on a per death basis, only a fra
|SOURCE The Meso Foundation|
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