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VICTORIA, British Columbia, Sept 23 - It's long past time to shed some light on Canada’s silent killer. On September 26, Canadians have a chance to do just that. The Canadian Society of Asbestos Victims (CanSAV) encourages Canadians to contact their local, provincial and federal government officials and urge them to recognize Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

Despite the widespread decline of asbestos being used in construction, Statistics Canada reports rates of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, continue to rise. In the past ten years, asbestos-related diseases have increased by 32 per cent, including a rise of 69 per cent in British Columbia alone. The World Health Organization says asbestos kills 90,000 people every year – and Canada remains one of the world’s biggest producers and exporters of asbestos.

Raising public awareness is crucial. Experts speculate rates of asbestos-related diseases may actually be higher than the record indicates, in part due to the common conception that asbestos exposure is no longer a problem. Even worse, many victims didn't know they were at risk or even exposed to asbestos. In too many cases, diagnosis happens far too late, and the prognosis is fatal.

To help reverse this trend, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), a US-based nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma, started a campaign to make September 26 Mesothelioma Awareness Day. MARF has succeeded in achieving national recognition in the United States. In the United Kingdom, several Mesothelioma Days are recognized. Yet in Canada, a nation that does far more to contribute to rising mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease rates than either of these countries, has nothing. CanSAV wholeheartedly supports and endorses efforts to achieve recognition and compensation for victims of any asbestos-related disease.

For more information, or advice on how to get your municipality, region, province or the federal government to recognize Mesothelioma Awareness Day, visit the MARF’s Mesothelioma Awareness Day or contact the Canadian Society of Asbestos Victims.

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