Understanding Mesothelioma Cancer

We have already discussed how exposure to asbestos at home and/or at work can lead to different types of cancers. One of the types of cancers that has been observed in persons exposed to asbestos is mesothelioma. In this article we look at some more information related to this type of cancer.

The tissue that lines our lungs and other internal organs like stomach and the heart is known as mesothelium. A tumor that develops in this layer is known mesothelioma. This tumor can be malignant or benign. When malignant the word cancer is used for the tumor.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer it is more commonly observed in people who are exposed to asbestos at work and/or at home. It is different from lung cancer. The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma that have observed in most cases are trouble in breathing, pain in the rib cage or in the abdomen which may or may not be accompanied with swelling and loss of weight for no justified reason. Imaging tests are resorted to for differentiating between lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma Cancer

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

There is a close relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma. Asbestos is a term that is used for describing a group of naturally occurring minerals. Occurring in the form of fibers that are resistant to chemicals, heat and fire it is a quite popular material that is used in a variety of industries like construction and building, shipbuilding, automobiles, paint, adhesives and plastics.  It was extensively used in the 20th century and asbestos manufacturing companies continued to use it even after it was realized that it proves hazardous at the end of the day. Exposure to asbestos has been identified as a primary cause of mesothelioma. Inhaled or ingested asbestos can lead to inflammation in the in the internal organs.

How serious is Mesothelioma?

 What makes the situation grim with this type of cancer is that the symptoms do not begin to appear until many years after the exposure and just as in the case of other cancers early diagnosis, the prognosis gets better. Life expectatncy in case of mesothelioma is dependent on multiple factors like age, general health and condition of the heart. The survival rates with respect to this form of cancer and improving. New tests and clinical trials are underway to improve treatments available for the disease. Exposure to asbestos can also be reduced by taking some necessary precautions while handling the mineral.

Risk Factors for developing Mesothelioma

The phrase risk factor describes the chances of getting a disease. Specific factors can increase the chances of developing Mesothelioma. These factors are:

  • Occupation

For people who are exposed to asbestos at their workplace, the chances of getting the disease are higher. In 70 to 80 percent cases of mesothelioma occupational exposure has been found to be a leading cause of the disease. Occupational environments where people are at a high risk are:

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– Factories

– Mines

– Construction sites

– Insulation manufacturing industries

– Ship building industry

– Military Services

  •  Secondhand Exposure

Asbestos that gets trapped in the hair and the clothes can be transferred to other people. Meaning a person working with asbestos may put his family to risk even after taking precautions.

  • Proximity

People living in or near places where asbestos is mined or is processed are at high risk

  • Age

Older people are more diagnosed with mesothelioma. One of the reasons for this could be that it takes years before the symptoms are felt

  • Gender

For no apparent reasons mesothelioma cases have been reported more in men than in women.

  • Other Factors

 In addition to the above factors like genetics also play an important role in making people vulnerable to the disease.

The fact that most of mesothelioma cases are the result of occupational exposure have led to a number of issues arising regarding liability of employers and insurance companies. Generally speaking, an employer is considered liable for mesothelioma cases reported amongst his employees if the employees were exposed to the mineral during course of their employment.

Author
  • dr-rajesh-tekchandani-photo
  • Dr Rajesh Tekchandani
  • My goal is that all people specially poor and needy people should get health facility free of cost and they must show faith in system. there must be awareness to control population . Safe birth and proper care of mother and child, total security. Specialties: can convince people at mass level, educate people for health in simple language and can present government health plan anywhere