What is Mesothelioma
What is Malignant Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the outer lining of 3 major areas of the human body. The cancer affects cells that are found in the sac lining of the chest, abdominal cavity and the lining around the heart.” When this cancer occurs in the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall it is known as Pleura. Though not as common, mesothelioma can occur in the lining of the abdominal cavity ( Peritoneum ) , the heart, or the sac that surrounds the heart ( Pericardium )
Malignant Peural mesothelioma is the form of the cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs and chest. Malignant Pleural mesothelioma. If Mesothelioma is found in the abdominal cavity it is known as Peritoneum Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma which is found in the lining of the heart is known as pericardium mesothelioma.
When mesothelioma cancer spreads, the cells of the mesothelium mutate and spread at a quick rate. The cancerous cells start to quickly affect normal healthy cells and aggressively begins to spread throughout the entire body starting with the tissue closes to the affected area.
The membrane that is affected by asbestos that leads to mesothelium is knowns as the mesothelium. Its main purpose is to produce lubricating fluids that offers a slipery protective surface that helps with movement. The mesolthelium surrounds and protects most of the body’s serious cavities and internal organs. These areas come into great danger once affected by mesothelium and should be treated immediately.
Mesothelioma affects mostly people who have worked in the automotive brake pads industry and construction industry. These people were exposed to inhaling asbestos dust and particles, which is the direct cause of mesothelioma. It may take victims decades to see any symptoms or to be diagnosed with mesothelioma from the period that they were exposed to asbestos till the time they become ill.
Mesothelioma & Asbestos
The risk of malignant mesothelioma increases with age and time from period to being exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma is diagnosed mostly in men and more often than in women. This stems from the fact that men have worked in industry where they were exposed more often than women to asbestos. Still, this cancer has been found in women and is by no means exclusive. Mesothelioma has also been found in individuals that were exposed to asbestos in other settings, such as the home. This may be due in part to the widespread use of asbestos in the past. Family members of workers in high risk industries of mesothelioma have also have a higher risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma..
It does not take a long exposure of asbestos to result in mesothelioma , in fact Mesothelioma Doctors have been able to determine that exposure to asbestos for as little as one to two months can result in mesothelioma appearing decades later. Because mesothelioma can take such a long time to develop, doctors are treating patients today who were exposed as far back as the 1950′s and even 1940′s. Current statistics put the number of new mesothelioma cases at about 3,000 a year in the United States. This is why mesothelioma is considered relatively rare as far as cancer is concerned. Rates have increased in the past 20 years and more are expected to be diagnosed as many military personnel were exposed to asbestos and are only now showing signs and symptoms. Asbestos exposure also is the cause of asbestosis, a chronic lung ailment that can produce shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage.
As noted, the National Institute of Cancer cites working with asbestos as the major risk factor for mesothelioma. While almost 80 percent of those that have mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos, there are still reported cases where there is no known asbestos exposure. Smoking alone has not been shown to increase the risk of mesothelioma but smoking in conjunction with exposure to asbestos does increase risk. The heavier the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of mesothelioma, although not everyone exposed is afflicted with the cancer.
MESOTHELIOMA & ASBESTOS EXPOSURE
The National Institute of Cancer states that people who have been subjected to asbestos exposure is at major risk for mesothelioma cancer. Nearly 80% of those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos for as little as one to two months can result in mesothelioma appearing decades later. But, what exactly is asbestos?
What is asbestos?
“Asbestos” is a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. These mineral fibers were used in the United States since the 1800′s in many different products and industry because they are not affect by chemical, fire, and do not conduct electricity. The building and construction industry uses asbestos for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, fireproofing, and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes. The automotive industry uses asbestos in vehicle brakes and clutch pads. More than 5,000 products contain or have contained asbestos.
These fibers though can easily break up into tiny dust particles that can be deeply inhaled into the lungs and are nearly impossible to dislodge once settled into the lungs. These fibers also stick to clothing and the body and can easily be inhaled or swallowed by other members of a family and is highly recommended that anyone working in an industry that is exposed to asbestos to wash their body and clothing before leaving work. Exposure to asbestos has been shown to cause serious health problems including pleural mesothelioma.
How was asbestos used?
Asbestos has been mined and used commercially in North America since the late 1800s, but its use increased greatly during World War II. Since then, asbestos has been used in many industries.
There are four major types of asbestos that were commonly used:
- Chrysotile Asbestos, aka white asbestos, occurs in about 99 percent of all uses of asbestos in the United States;
- Crocidolite Asbestos, blue asbestos;
- Amosite Asbestos, which has brown fibers; and
- Anthophyllite Asbestos, which has gray fibers.
Chrysotile asbestos, with its curly fibers, is in the serpentine family of minerals. The other types of asbestos, which all have rod-like fibers, are known as amphiboles. Asbestos fiber masses tend to break easily into a dust composed of tiny particles that can float in the air and stick to clothes. The fibers may be easily inhaled or swallowed and can cause serious health problems including asbestosis
ASBESTOS & ASBESTOSIS:
What are the health hazards of asbestos exposure?
Exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of several serious diseases:
- Asbestosis-a chronic lung ailment that can produce shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage Asbestosis
- Lung cancer;
- Mesothelioma – a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that lines the chest and abdomen Mesothelioma pleural mesothelioma
- Cancer of the larynx, oropharynx, gastrointestinal tract, and kidney. Asbestos Cancer
Products containing Asbestos:
- cement sheet and pipe products used for water supply and sewage piping
- roofing and siding
- casings for electrical wires
- fire protection material
- electrical switchboards and components
- clutch facings
- brake linings for automobiles
- heat-protective mats
- heat and electrical wire insulation
- industrial filters for beverages
- material for sheet flooring;
- roofing materials
- heat- and fire-resistant fabrics (including blankets and curtains)
- ceiling and floor tile
In the late 1970s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces because these products released excessive amounts of asbestos fibers into the environment. Additionally, asbestos was voluntarily withdrawn by manufacturers of electric hair dryers. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new uses of asbestos; uses established prior to 1989 are still allowed. The EPA has established regulations that require school systems to inspect for damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce the exposure by removing the asbestos or by covering it up.