It has been found that there are more causes to mesothelioma, but the main cause is almost always asbestos exposure. Getting yourself diagnosed for mesothelioma if you have been exposed to asbestos could help contain the cancer and even prolong your life.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the membrane (mesothelium) that lines the lungs, abdomen or heart.
Even though mesothelioma is a not so common cancer, it is however common among those who have constantly been exposed to asbestos because it is the only known and established cause of mesothelioma.
Asbestos inhalation accounts for over 80% of all diagnosed mesothelioma. There have been instances when there was no clear link between asbestos and mesothelioma, leading to the conclusion that the cause was something else.
Tests in certain cases of mesothelioma where there was no relation with asbestos has revealed that the culprit could possibly be radiation from certain x-rays given in the 1950s that contained the chemical thorium dioxide.
Tests in those suffering from mesothelioma in Turkey pointed to exposure to the chemical zeolite.
These two cases are very rare with diagnosis almost always confirming the cause as asbestos exposure.
Asbestos was discovered as a cause of mesothelioma because almost all the people first diagnosed with this disease were either asbestos miners, construction workers, building renovators, ship builders, ship breakers, or those working with automobile clutch and brake assemblies. All those involved in these professions had one thing in common – Asbestos Exposure.
Mesothelioma is a latent disease that can take anything between 30 to 40 years to surface after the initial exposure. This is one of the prime reasons that it is almost always diagnosed very late when a total cure is impossible.
Individuals at Maximum Risk of Mesothelioma
People at a greater risk of mesothelioma are those who have been constantly exposed to asbestos. Many of those suffering from mesothelioma today do not even know it, since the signs and symptoms of the disease surface three to four decades after the initial exposure.
Following individuals are at a maximum risk of mesothelioma.
— Workers in asbestos mines
— People living in proximity to asbestos mines
— Workers in the construction industry who handle material containing asbestos
— Workers of asbestos removal companies who were in direct contact with asbestos dust
— Workers responsible for house/building renovations
— Workers involved in ship building
— Workers involved in ship renovation
— Workers involved in ship breaking
— People who come into direct contact with any of the above mentioned workers, especially their friends and family members. Fine asbestos particles that are not seen with the naked eye get lodged in their hair and clothing and can be inhaled by individuals coming in contact with them.
If you have been working in any of the above mentioned categories, or suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos inhalation or ingestion in the 60s or later, please visit a physician/surgeon who specializes in mesothelioma. You could be feeling absolutely healthy today, but the deadly mesothelioma could slowly be building up to incurable proportions.
There are many out there who know for sure that they have been exposed to asbestos for prolonged periods, but avoid going to the physician because of the feeling that its 10, 20, or even 30 years since exposure, and nothing could possibly happen now. Asbestos exposure can take up to 40 (sometimes even 50) years after exposure, to surface.
There are tests that the physician/surgeon will perform to diagnose the presence of asbestos and the impending mesothelioma. If diagnosed early (which happens very rarely) the surgeon may be able to stop the spread of the cancer, ensuring you live a longer, healthier life.