What causes mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma. After these fibers are breathed in, they travel to the ends of small air passages and reach the pleura where they cause physical damage to mesothelial cells that may result in cancer. In addition, they also cause injury to lung cells that can result in lung cancer and/or asbestosis (replacement of lung tissue by scar tissue). If swallowed, these fibers can reach the abdominal cavity where they have a role in causing peritoneal
mesothelioma. Beginning 15 years after the onset of exposure, about 6% of asbestos workers die of mesothelioma. In one study of asbestos insulation workers, the death rate from mesothelioma was 344 times higher than in the general population. People exposed in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma because of the long latency period of asbestos diseases. The people most likely to have been exposed to asbestos include construction workers, plumbers, electricians, boilermakers, shipbuilders and demolition workers. People who lived near to asbestos factories, or worked in buildings where asbestos was present have developed mesothelioma. Family members of people who worked with asbestos and brought the dust home on their clothes have also sometimes been affected.
Exposure to asbestos, though mostly occupational, can also be environmental, or familial by household contamination, through the work clothes of an asbestos worker for instance. The chances of suffering from mesothelioma rise with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos; however, numerous cases of mesothelioma occurred among people with very little occupational exposure or household exposure. Cases exist of people getting mesothelioma 30 or 40 years after a summer job working construction, and housewives or children being exposed from work clothing. Prior to the mid-1970's, most insulation materials contained asbestos. Many other construction materials also contained asbestos, including, pipe insulation, boiler insulation, fireproofing spray, firebrick and gunnite (used for internal insulation of furnaces and boilers), roof, floor and ceiling tiles, transite siding, and brakes and clutches. Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung. If asbestos fibers are breathed in, they travel to the ends of the small air passages and reach the lining of the lungs. There they can damage the mesothelial cells or the lining of the lung cells. If swallowed, these fibers can also reach the lining of the abdominal cavity where they play a part in causing a cancer called peritoneal mesothelioma.
More information on mesothelioma cancer
What is mesothelioma cancer? - Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order.
What types of mesothelioma are there? - Mesotheliomas consist of two general types-benign and malignant. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor of the pleura.
What is pleural mesothelioma? - Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the pleura or lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs.
What is peritoneal mesothelioma? - Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the abdominal lining, or peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor of this membrane.
What is malignant mesothelioma? - Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum).
What causes mesothelioma? - Asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma. The chances of suffering from mesothelioma rise with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos.
What're the risk factors for mesothelioma? - The main risk factors for malignant mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Other risk factors include radiation, zeolite, tobacco, and SV40 Virus.
Who's at increased risk for developing mesothelioma? - Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.
Asbestos and mesothelioma - Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer are the three most frequent causes of death and disease among people with heavy asbestos exposure.
Where is asbestos found? - Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products. Exposure to asbestos can occur in home improvement and construction projects.
When is asbestos dangerous? - Asbestos is hazardous when it is friable. The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing.
How to reduce asbestos exposure? - Reducing exposure to asbestos by repairing damaged material will involve covering the material or sealing asbestos material.
What's the mesothelioma survival rate? - Mesothelioma is a serious disease. The average age at diagnosis is 50 to 70 years old. The average survival time is about one year.
What're the symptoms of mesothelioma? - Symptoms of mesothelioma include pain in the lower back or at the side of the chest, cough, fever, sweating, fatigue, and weight loss.
How is mesothelioma diagnosed? - Diagnosis of mesothelioma begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure.
How is mesothelioma staged? - Staging of mesothelioma is based on imaging studies such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. Malignant mesothelioma moves through four stages.
What's the treatment for mesothelioma? - Treatment for mesothelioma cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma.
Treatment of malignant mesothelioma by stage - Most patients with stage I mesothelioma have their cancer surgically removed by pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy.
Surgery for mesothelioma - Surgery for malignant mesothelioma can be aimed at long-term control of the cancer (aggressive surgery) or relief of symptoms (palliative procedures).
Chemotherapy for mesothelioma - Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be put directly into the chest.
Radiation therapy for mesothelioma - Radiation is useful because mesothelioma is made up of rapid growing cells and radiation is most effective on cells that divide rapidly.
How to prevent malignant mesothelioma? - The risk of malignant mesothelioma can be reduced by avoiding getting exposed to asbestos.
What's the prognosis of malignant mesothelioma? - The survival time after diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is about one year. Prognosis for malignant mesothelioma depends on how early it is diagnosed.
What about the mesothelioma lawsuits? - Mesothelioma lawsuits are classified into two groups: personal injury, and wrongful death. Mesothelioma lawsuits usually seek compensation for medical costs.
Who is mesothelioma attorney (lawyer)? - The benefits of hiring a mesothelioma attorney are numerous. A mesothelioma lawyer is able to provide both advice and assistance.