Mesothelioma Risk Factors
Mesothelioma is a malignant form of cancer. This incurable type of cancer affects a person’s tissues that surround his or her vital organs. Mesothelioma cancer cells have historically been found in a person’s lungs, but they have also been found in other parts of the body such as the stomach, heart, and lungs. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is produced from an overexposure to asbestos fibers. When a person has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it typically means that he or she has either inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers for a long period of time.
Because of its cancer-causing nature, asbestos is frequently mistaken for a man-made or produced material. Quite the contrary however, asbestos is produced naturally. Asbestos is a mineral, naturally present in the environment. Asbestos consists of groups of heat-resistant and malleable fibers. The collection of these fibers in a person’s lungs causes the person’s lung tissue to be scarred. This scarring condition is also known as asbestosis. When the asbestos exposure causes harm to the structure of the DNA in the lungs, this causes the cancer known as mesothelioma. Once a person has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, they generally are not given much longer to live. Unfortunately, mesothelioma could take years to be identified. Due to the prolonged identification, once it has become detected, it is usually too far advanced and the damage has been made. Generally, once detected, the cancer is too advanced for any form of reparation. There are treatment options to help with painful symptoms, but no cure.
Risk Factors Concerning Mesothelioma
People get mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos, which happens in many ways. If any of the following apply to you or a loved one, consider getting checked for mesothelioma or asbestosis. Remember: it takes several years, possibly decades, for the symptoms to appear.
Asbestos Exposure in Work-Related Industries
Generally, it will take many years of constant exposure for a person to obtain mesothelioma from asbestos. Many people who come in contact with asbestos have done so through their workplace. This is why mesothelioma is known as an occupational cancer.
Some of the most common industries that are prone to asbestos include, but are not limited to:
- Auto industries
- Construction sites
- Shipyards (mesothelioma rates are high among Navy vets)
- Manufacturing companies
- Contracting companies
These companies have been shown to produce the greatest risk for people, since most of the materials used contain asbestos.
Before accepting a job at any of the mentioned industries, it is recommended that would-be employees research the facility to ensure that they regularly check and clear the asbestos.
Another proactive approach to avoid mesothelioma is to ask your employer to purchase safety gear such as breathing masks.
Asbestosis and Mesothelioma
Asbestosis is a breathing illness that can cause the swelling of a person’s lungs. When a person has accrued asbestosis, the scar tissue that has developed will prevent oxygen exchange and the exchange of other bodily gases.
The scarring tissue that is produced by asbestosis can also produce large amounts of liquid in the lungs. This can easily block airway passages. If this liquid is not drained, the person runs the risk of many more complications.
Asbestosis can develop into mesothelioma. Seek medical treatment for this disease immediately.
Asbestosis will usually require a person to obtain prescription medications, surgeries, or other breathing apparatuses in order to be able to carry on a normal life.
Additionally, smoking could increase the risk of mesothelioma. While asbestos is not necessarily in the cigarettes a person smokes, the daily activity does impair and weaken the lungs. Therefore, a smoker will have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma.
Living in Older Homes
If a building or residence was built prior to 1980, it is likely that the residence has asbestos or at least traces of it. The following are some of the most common elements in a home that could contain asbestos due to their need of thermal resistance:
- House walls and ceilings
- Floor tiles
Older homes could be made more secure by having them inspected by professionals.
A Living Partner Who Works With Asbestos
Unfortunately, secondary contact to asbestos is possible.
In order to prevent the spreading of asbestos as much as possible, the person working with asbestos should safely remove his or her clothing particles that came in contact with the asbestos in a safe location and away from the home.
He or she should also take the precautionary steps to wear protective gear when around the material.
After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis: What to Do
By understanding where mesothelioma can develop, you can ensure that you are taking the right steps to protect yourself and your family. There are times, however, when a person is exposed to asbestos without his or her knowledge. When this happens, a qualified mesothelioma attorney can help. A qualified attorney can provide you with the resources you need in order to file a successful claim. The compensation received for such suits can pay the high costs of treatment for the mesothelioma, as well as other necessary medical necessities.