Celebrating Life, Hope on National Cancer Survivors Day

Since 1988, the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation has promoted National Cancer Survivors Day on the first Sunday in June as a “celebration of life” for anyone with a history of the disease. This can include focusing on hope for those who have been newly diagnosed, ongoing care for those in remission, or support for those who are facing their final battles. Recognizing the more than 18 million American cancer survivors, along with the challenges they and their families face, is a way to focus attention on improving the care, resources, legislation, and research they receive.

Asbestos Causes Rare and Deadly Cancers

Mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer are two forms of aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos lung cancer appears as tumors inside the lung tissue, which restrict the flow of oxygen into the bloodstream, while mesothelioma develops on the lung’s outer lining, rigidly encasing the lung and causing painful, restricted breathing.

It can take anywhere between 15 and 50 years from first exposure to asbestos before symptoms of cancer or mesothelioma occur, and these symptoms can be mistaken for other common ailments. Individuals may initially experience shortness of breath, chest or lower back pain, chronic coughing, difficulty swallowing, and fluid around the lungs.

Unfortunately, there are few treatment options for these types of cancers, and most people diagnosed with mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer do not survive. These cancers, along with asbestosis, which is the scarring of the lung tissue and chronic shortness of breath, are a direct result of asbestos.

What is Asbestos and How are People Exposed?

Asbestos is an odorless, tasteless mineral fiber that occurs naturally in rock and soil and has been mined by hand for centuries. Workers chip away at minerals such as talc, vermiculite, or serpentine rock to extract deposits of asbestos found inside. The quarried asbestos is then spun and molded into usable forms.

Between the 1950s and the 1980s, nearly every home, school, and workplace across every state contained some sort of asbestos material. Because asbestos fibers are flexible, lightweight, strong, and naturally heat resistant, it was commonly used as insulation or to strengthen other materials. Asbestos has also been used widely in building materials such as pipes, boilers, plaster, paint, flooring, roofing, and many more products.

When products made with asbestos are disturbed, whether from installation, cleaning, repair, or removal, millions of undetectable asbestos fibers can be released into the air. This happened frequently when pipes were cut and fitted, or simply from the everyday use of heat shielding gloves or aprons.

The tiny, airborne asbestos fibers can then be inhaled or swallowed. Once lodged inside the lungs, soft tissues, or other organs, asbestos causes lasting and often fatal damage. Unfortunately, the risks of asbestos-related injury and disease are often spread to a worker’s family when asbestos fibers travel home on a worker’s clothes, skin, hair, and belongings. Second-hand asbestos exposure can also happen to anyone working or passing through a site where asbestos was present.

How You Can Participate in National Cancer Survivors Day

“National Cancer Survivors Day is a celebration for those who have survived, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.”

You can participate in the day in many ways, no matter how you are related to cancer or a survivor.

Check out to learn more about how you can host an event or find an event to attend in your community. There will be parades, rallies, festivals, carnivals, exhibits, and other gatherings in many parts of the country.

In addition to events, you can:

Download the NCSD social media toolkit.

Follow @cancersurvivorsday

Become an NCSD speaker

Order your NCSD merchandise

Along with the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, it’s incumbent on us all to advocate for survivors’ resources and research. Among the ones offered on the NCSD Foundation website:

As SWMW Law, we’ll continue our daily advocacy for asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma survivors, as well as their families and caregivers. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, at any time, our legal team can help you review your rights and options. Contact us here.