Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Dangers of Asbestos and Its Link To Mesothelioma


The Dangers of Asbestos and Its Link to Mesothelioma

Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is a shock to patients and their families. Treatment, recovery and lifelong battles are now part of their daily lives. One ailment that's relatively common is mesothelioma. It's a type of lung disease that's often associated with asbestos. To understand this ailment and patients' risk levels, take a close look at mesothelioma and asbestos as their link becomes clear.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Dangers of Mesothelioma Cancer


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that’s most often caused by asbestos exposure. It usually forms in the lungs of those who have been exposed to this deadly toxin, but sometimes occurs in the abdominal area or the area around the heart. There are a number of therapies available that can help prolong survival and minimize symptoms and discomfort, but in most cases the cancer is too aggressive and too advanced at the time of diagnosis to be cured.


This disease specifically impacts a thin membrane that protects the lungs, heart and organs within the abdominal cavity and enables them to function properly. This is called the mesothelium and the majority of cases of this type of cancer affect the pleura, the mesothelium that lines the lungs.

Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma of all types in the United States every year. In most cases, these victims’ exposure took place on the job and the cause of the illness can be traced to an unsafe workplace.

For example, in the past, an overwhelming amount of job sites across the nation used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in buildings, equipment, products, machinery, insulation, electrical wiring, and more.

Workers were exposed to ACMs each time they went to work, inhaling tiny, odorless asbestos fibers. Once the fibers become lodged in the body, it’s literally impossible to expel all of. Over time, the workers began developing asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

With changing regulations and mitigation, exposure to asbestos is on the decline, but people continue to be diagnosed. This is because the disease has what is known as a long latency period. This means that the amount of time that can pass between the time of exposure to asbestos and the time that symptoms begin to appear can be as long as fifty years.

It is an unfortunate reality, but medical science has made great strides in understanding how this deadly disease progresses and various ways to prolong and improve the lives of those who have been diagnosed with the condition. Currently, however, there is still no cure for asbestos illnesses.

What’s the Link Between Asbestos and Cancer?
Asbestos is a natural mineral that is mined out of the ground. It has a unique set of properties that has made it useful for a number of applications. It resists heat and fire, electricity, and most chemicals, and so it has been used for millennia to insulate buildings and pipes, in fireproof materials, in caulk and joint compound, in filters, and even in dental casts. Exposure to asbestos is known to be a leading risk factor for mesothelioma, and those at the greatest risk are people who have been working around the mineral for years.

Mesothelioma has traditionally impacted a wide variety of workers in different occupational settings, including industrial environments, school yards, auto repair shops, shipyards and municipal or public buildings. In most cases it takes an extended exposure to the toxin for cancer to form, but there have been notable instances in which people have been diagnosed after single instances of exposure, as well as short-term exposures.

Asbestos gets into the body through microscopic fibers that are either inhaled or ingested. Because these particles are so tiny and become embedded in cells so easily, they tend to remain in place for many years.

Over time, the asbestos fibers cause mutations to occur within the cells in which they are embedding. These mutations cause inflammation and other damage, and their impact tends to be greatest in the delicate, thin lining that forms around the lungs. Eventually all this damage and inflammation can lead to a number of illnesses, potentially including mesothelioma.

This lining of the lungs is called the pleura. The lining of the abdominal cavity known as the peritoneum is similarly vulnerable to the damaging effects of asbestos, and is also a common location for the cancer to form.

Once the scarring and inflammation process begins it goes on for several decades, continuing until it has formed into malignant tumors. Many people exposed to asbestos do not realize they have developed cancer until decades later.

What Are The Types of Mesothelioma?
The most common form of asbestos-related cancer is pleural mesothelioma, which forms in the lining of the lungs and makes up approximately 75 percent of all diagnosed cases. The second most common form is peritoneal, which accounts for between ten and twenty percent of cases, while another one percent of cases form in the pericardium. Even fewer are known to form in the testicles.

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