I gotta be honest and say that I've never heard of this before. I was approached by Chris who runs this website to raise more awareness to an important issue that so few know about. As a cancer survivor, I think it's crucial to expand your knowledge, and so here is another piece for your library...complete with video!
Mesothelioma Cancer & Causes
Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that affects the lining, also
known as the mesothelium, of the body’s internal organs. The purpose and job
of this lining is to surround, cushion, and protect the organs from harm.
Mesothelioma is considered a rare disease with 2,000-3,000 cases diagnosed
per year in the US alone. There are four types of this cancer of the
mesothelium, with the most common being pleural mesothelioma accounting
for 75% of all mesothelioma diagnoses. The more rare forms of mesothelioma
What causes Mesothelioma?
The main risk of developing mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is
made up of a group of six minerals: amosite, actinolite, tremosite, crocidolite,
chrysolite, and anthrophyllite.
Asbestos fibers are very resistant to various chemicals, fires, or heat. They
tend to penetrate inside of the human body and human clothes as well,
leading to a chronic inflammation of the affected tissue. Usually, lungs are the
one affected as asbestos fibers are inhaled during exposure to asbestos.
Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers is very hazardous to human health.
Once the asbestos fibers are inhaled, the human body can’t eliminate them,
leading to a buildup in the lungs and abdomen over time.
The main problem is the prolonged period of disease development after
exposure to asbestos. It takes years and mostly decades for the disease to
develop. Usually, it takes about 20 to 50 years for mesothelioma, or lung
cancer, to develop after asbestos exposure. Once it occurs, in the early stages,
the warning signs and the mesothelioma symptoms look a lot alike many
other diseases of the respiratory system. This leads to a misdiagnosis or
diagnosis when the disease has already developed into its terminal stages.
Regardless of the diagnosis, the prognosis is not good. In general, there is no
cure for mesothelioma and treatment is only focused in relieving the signs and
symptoms of the disease.
An exposure over a long period of time, especially to higher doses of asbestos,
increases the risk of developing mesothelioma as mesothelioma has a dose –
response relationship to asbestos.
Certain people are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma than others.
These usually are asbestos miners, factory workers, railroad workers,
shipbuilding workers, and construction workers. As asbestos was commonly
used in the construction industry, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, and
electricians are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma than others. Even
their partners and families are exposed to asbestos, as asbestos fibers are
transmitted on clothing.
Even though asbestos minerals are no longer used in the construction
industry, many houses and public buildings built before the year 2000 have
been constructed with asbestos products.
The best way to prevent mesothelioma is by protecting yourself. This is
especially important for people working in the construction industry as well
as all those who have a possibility of being exposed to asbestos.