Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs within the lining of the lungs and abdomen, a thin layer of cells known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that was used for many years as an industrial insulation compound.
What is the Relationship Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma?
Asbestos fibers are microscopic, but extremely durable and resistant to breakdown. Because they are so small, they are easily inhaled. Unfortunately, the body is often unable to expel these fibers, as they cling to the lung and abdominal tissue surface, irritating the mesothelial cells. With the body unable to break down these fibers, they continue to cause inflammation and harmful plaques upon the tissue surface. The plaques then lay the foundations for the development of malignant cells and mesothelioma.
There is a great deal of latency between one’s exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma. Often, respiratory effects of asbestos exposure will not occur for 30-50 years following an exposure to asbestos. Diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms of mesothelioma can closely mimic those of less serious respiratory disorders, including a chronic cough.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and prognosis is typically poor. However, if symptoms are recognized early enough and a conclusive diagnosis can be made in the early stages, mesothelioma is a treatable and manageable, though not curable, disease. Treatment technologies and research have improved in recent years. Patients using experimental therapies and treatments have survival rates far surpassing those of mesothelioma patients in the past. Tri-modal therapies are now combining surgical, radiotherapy, and chemotherapeutic techniques to create specialized treatment regimens for each patient.
Asbestos is now banned in most commercial capacities. Unfortunately, it was not regulated until many had become sick because of exposure. Documents now prove that many were exposed to asbestos after those manufacturing the products had become aware of the hazard it posed. If you believe you were wrongfully exposed to asbestos, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for asbestos-related injuries. Fill out the brief contact form on this page to receive a free mesothelioma and asbestos exposure information packet delivered to your door. Help is available. Contact us today.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.