How to Raise Mesothelioma Awareness on World Cancer Day


World Cancer Day, celebrated on February 4, is an opportunity to actively include mesothelioma in the discussion and raise awareness. As a rare cancer, mesothelioma doesn’t receive as much funding, publicity, awareness or attention as other more well-known cancers such as breast or colon cancers. 

Mesothelioma survivors and their caregivers can use World Cancer Day to raise awareness. It’s also an opportunity to shine a light on advocacy for banning all uses of asbestos in the United States to reduce the incidence of mesothelioma. Asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma.

There are demonstrated mental health benefits to taking action to stand up for our rights and or spread the word about our experiences through advocacy. While advocacy is work and takes our energy, many in the mesothelioma community find advocacy rewarding.

Benefits of Mesothelioma Advocacy

People often report feeling empowered when they see they can make a difference, helping eliminate barriers to diagnosis and treatment for others through advocacy. Mesothelioma survivors also report feeling more confident when they advocate for themselves or others. 

Advocacy is broadly defined as an action that supports a cause through expressing your views and wishes, as well as standing up for change or your rights. Our advocacy efforts can be personal, advocating for our own care and opportunities. We can also advocate in our community and to our government, letting them know about our experiences and what changes we’re seeking. 

Mesothelioma advocacy usually leads to better understanding and connectedness with providers, family and the community. Some survivors share that their mesothelioma activism and a commitment to advocating for patient care and rights helps them feel like they’re making a difference for future generations. 

How Can Advocacy During World Cancer Day Benefit Mesothelioma?

The World Cancer Day site suggests a variety of ways that anyone can participate in the initiative’s Take action | World Cancer Day to raise awareness about cancer. Many of these suggestions can also help raise awareness for mesothelioma. 

  • Write your local and national representatives with your story. Ask for increased mesothelioma funding and the passage of a full asbestos ban. 
  • Share your mesothelioma story as a blog or a social media post. 
  • Find a celebration of hope event for World Cancer Day to attend or volunteer at in your community. 
  • Update your social media profile with World Cancer Day images (available via the World Cancer Day link).

Some people are comfortable sharing details of their diagnosis and treatment or their experiences as a mesothelioma caregiver and find it therapeutic to let others know what they’re going through. Advocacy can be fulfilling and empowering for many. Some people are more private and want to preserve their energy for other endeavors. There is no right way to navigate your own mesothelioma journey. 

World Cancer Day began on February 4, 2000 as an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control. Its goals include uniting the cancer community, reducing the burden of cancer, promoting equity of cancer detection and treatment and advocating for cancer survivors at local and global levels.