February is National Cancer Prevention Month, which is a time to choose healthy habits to reduce your risk of mesothelioma and other cancers and spread awareness about cancer-causing substances.

Cancer prevention efforts have helped reduce cancer deaths in the U.S. by 33%, according to the American Cancer Society.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testicles. Its only cause is exposure to asbestos, a toxic mineral used heavily throughout the 20th century.

Learn how you can join the efforts this month to help prevent mesothelioma.

1. Avoid Asbestos Exposure

Because even one fiber can cause serious damage to the body, the American Cancer Society says the best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid asbestos exposure altogether.

If your home or workplace was built before the early 1980s, it likely contains asbestos-containing materials. To be safe, you should take precautions and report any damage if you see it.

You can protect yourself from asbestos exposure by:

  • Consulting with professionals to identify and remove asbestos-based materials
  • Not touching or disturbing asbestos-containing products
  • Wearing masks or respirators if your job requires you to work around asbestos products

Learn more about the products that commonly contained asbestos and what steps you can take to protect yourself in our Free Asbestos Products Guide.

2. Be Proactive About Your Health

Unfortunately, not everyone knew they were being exposed to asbestos or that the products they worked with would cause irreversible damage decades later.

For this reason, it’s important to be proactive about your health if you worked in a high-risk occupation like construction, firefighting, or plumbing. Veterans should also be mindful of their health since asbestos was heavily used in the U.S. military prior to the early 1980s.

Tips on how to prevent mesothelioma after asbestos exposure:
  • Be open with your doctor: Let them know you may have been exposed to asbestos so they can monitor you for symptoms of mesothelioma.
  • Get routine cancer screenings: Regular physical exams and imaging scans can detect changes in your health so you can diagnose mesothelioma early. An early diagnosis can help you get more effective treatment.
  • Stop smoking: While cigarette smoking is not a cause of mesothelioma, it can worsen the damage caused by asbestos and put you at risk of other conditions like lung cancer.

There is no way to remove asbestos fibers from the body after exposure. However, these tips can help you catch the cancer before it spreads and improve your odds of becoming a mesothelioma survivor.

3. Advocate for a Ban on Asbestos

Despite over 70 countries around the world banning asbestos use, the U.S. still uses asbestos in some industries. As a result, asbestos is still imported into the country, putting transporters and workers at risk of mesothelioma.

For this reason, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is partnering with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) this month to push for a complete ban on asbestos in all its uses.

You can join the ADAO and IAFF efforts by:

These small actions can make real change and prevent mesothelioma and other asbestos cancers in future generations.

Get Help After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you do not have to take this journey alone.

The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma Hope are dedicated to helping those affected by this cancer get the medical guidance, financial assistance, and supportive care they need and deserve.

Call us at (866) 608-8933 or fill out our contact form to see how we can assist you today.


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Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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  1. American Association for Cancer Research. (n.d.). FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL CANCER PREVENTION MONTH. Retrieved February 5, 2024, from https://www.aacr.org/patients-caregivers/awareness-months/national-cancer-prevention-month/
  2. American Cancer Society. (November 2018). Can Malignant Mesothelioma Be Prevented? Retrieved February 5, 2024, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/prevention.html
  3. Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. (January 2024). Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization & International Association of Fire Fighters United for Change: The Fight Against Asbestos Continues in New York City. Retrieved February 5, 2024, from https://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/newsroom/blogs/asbestos-disease-awareness-organization-international-association-of-fire-fighters-united-for-change-the-fight-against-asbestos-continues-in-new-york-city/
  4. Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. (February 2024). Press Release: Times Square Billboard Shines Light on Asbestos Crisis: ADAO and IAFF Call on Congress to Act. Retrieved February 5, 2024, from https://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/newsroom/blogs/press-release-times-square-billboard-shines-light-on-asbestos-crisis-adao-and-iaff-call-on-congress-to-act/
  5. National Library of Medicine. (January 2023). US cancer death rate falls 33% since 1991, partly due to advances in treatment, early detection and less smoking, report says | CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/search/research-news/17988/

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