Malignant Mesothelioma: What are the Risk Factors?

For years, people have suffered from Mesothelioma without knowing exactly what caused it or how to treat it. Only recently, we have started to understand how this disease was able to impact so many workers for so many years. As a result, we have a better understanding than ever before about the risk factors behind malignant Mesothelioma.

Asbestos

Mesothelioma and asbestos are heavily linked, and the relationship between them is well-documented. The minerals in asbestos release anytime the material is handled, and as the tiny fibrous threads enter our lungs, they can build up at the end of the pleura, located in the walls of our lungs. Over time, this damage can turn into cancer, and Mesothelioma. As the lungs continue to deteriorate, they can harden, and become useless.

While asbestos is a naturally occurring compound in nature, the concentrated amounts found in asbestos insulation have proven to be harmful to people. Even those who wear protective gear can still be at risk, as the fibers can make their way through clothing and masks, and over time can pose a significant threat.

The link between Mesothelioma and asbestos is so strong that the material has been outlawed for use in many parts of the world, and numerous class action lawsuits are currently ongoing against manufacturers of asbestos that knowingly let their workers get infected.

Gender and Age

Anyone can be infected with Mesothelioma, however the longer you are exposed, the more likely you are to develop Mesothelioma. Signs of infection and cancer can appear anywhere from 20 to 50 years after exposure, and once you have been contaminated, there is really no way to reverse it.

Many people that have Mesothelioma seem to be older, but this does not mean it is a disease that targets the elderly. It’s just that the older population grew up and worked around asbestos far more than the current generation.

Also, gender doesn’t matter with Mesothelioma. While men were primarily infected due to the large number of them in the workforce, their wives were often infected just by being around their clothing when the men came home.

Asbestos fibers have even been proven to be found on shoes, which means all someone had to do to infect a home was walk on the carpet, and the fibers were transmitted.

Radiation

Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer, and as a result, cancer treatments are typically used to combat it. The biggest and most time-tested is chemotherapy, but this doesn’t always work. Chemo removes blood and cells from the body and irradiates them, killing any harmful cancers therein. However, this process also kills healthy cells, so it becomes a contest to see who can hold out longer, you or the cancer.

Many people who go in for chemotherapy tend to deteriorate faster than they would through other treatments, but it is also the treatment that is most often covered by insurance, so it is still the most popular.

Ironically, it is believed that exposure to radiation can also have the same effect as asbestos. It has been shown that long-term exposure to radiation can have debilitating effects on cells to the point that they respond in harmful ways, and studies do see a connection between radiation and Mesothelioma.

SV40

SV40 is a virus that scientists have noticed has a strong link to cancer. It has been documented numerous times in lung cancer patients, and lab tests have shown that it is capable of causing Mesothelioma, among other problems within the body.

While this is considered a cause for Mesothelioma, it is not considered the leading cause of the problem.

Zeolites

Zeolites are minerals that are naturally occurring, and have been discovered in regions where Mesothelioma is a common problem. It is strongly believed that zeolites have the same general effect as asbestos particles on the lungs.

While scientists are still struggling with the problem of Mesothelioma, the more we learn about this deadly disease, the closer we are to finding a cure. While we continue to fight for those that have been stricken with this horrible cancer, each day we are one step closer to finding a cause, and with that, a cure.

By | 2015-09-22T20:48:56+00:00 September 22nd, 2015|Mesothelioma|Comments Off on Malignant Mesothelioma: What are the Risk Factors?