Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that most often develops in the lungs, but may also affect the abdomen and the heart [1, 2]. Exposure to asbestos, which is a group of minerals made up of microscopic fibers, is the primary cause of this type of cancer. The microscopic asbestos fibers do not conduct electricity and are fire, chemical, and heat-resistant. Due to these properties, asbestos was widely used in automotive and construction industries prior to the 1970s.
The use of products containing asbestos causes the fibers to be released into the air. Fibers that are breathed in can become trapped in the lungs for several years and continuous exposure to asbestos leads to the accumulation of fibers, and health problems such as mesothelioma.
The fibers can also be swallowed, especially if asbestos has been released during the construction or destruction of buildings. Once asbestos fibers are ingested or inhaled, it is hard for the body to remove or destroy them and as time progresses, the fibers begin to cause scarring, inflammation and tissue damage. The protective lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen are the most susceptible to damage and the gradual destruction of bodily tissue leads to the development of mesothelioma [1, 2].
It can take up to 20, 40, or even 50 years for the effects of asbestos exposure to begin to occur and indicate the presence of cancer in the body . As a result, although asbestos is now rarely used in the United States, there has been an increase in the incidence of mesothelioma cases.
Doctors annually diagnose approximately 3,000 mesothelioma cases and most can be linked to asbestos exposure at the workplace . Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma and patients with this form of cancer are usually given a poor prognosis. However, recent developments in treatment methods and alternative approaches are beginning to improve treatment results.
Individuals who are suffering from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure may be able to receive financial compensation and if you believe you have been exposed to asbestos or you or someone you know has asbestos-induced mesothelioma, contact us for legal advice regarding possible financial compensation.
- United States: Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2014). Asbestos in the home. Bethesda, MD. Retrieved from https://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/Asbestos-In-The-Home/
- Reid A, de Klerk NH, Magnani C, Ferrante D, Berry G, Musk AW, Merler E. (2014).
Mesothelioma risk after 40 years since first exposure to asbestos: a pooled analysis. Thorax, in press. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24842786