Definition of Mesothelioma: Who Is At Risk From This Deadly Cancer?

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that is quite rare although in the last few decades the number of people who have died from it has increased dramatically. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos without adequate protection. When someone is exposed to asbestos, he inhales small asbestos fibers that hang in the air. These fibers enter the respiratory system and eventually get caught in the lungs. Accumulation of asbestos fibers in the lining of the lungs like this can cause nearby cells to damage and eventually lead to what is known as pleural mesothelioma. Accumulation of asbestos fibers in the peritoneum (lining of the stomach) can cause peritoneal mesothelioma and build fibers around the heart tissue can cause pericardial mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers reach these places from time to time or because they have been transported there by the lymphatic system.

Mesothelioma has a very large latency period (the time between getting cancer and feeling the symptoms). This period is usually between 30-50 years and so people who give birth to mesothelioma may not know that they have got it. This is why mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose at an early stage because it shows no symptoms and some symptoms that indicate such as wheezing and shortness of breath are typical of a much more common disease such as pneumonia. The chances of recovery are very dependent on how early and how aggressive the cancer is treated. If it is treated when it is fully developed and cooked it is very difficult to cure.

In this way, those who are at risk are those who have worked between asbestos. Construction workers, asbestos producers or those who have lived within a mile of asbestos factories are the people who have the greatest contact with asbestos. Those who deal with these people are also at risk because asbestos fibers can stick to clothes and hair. The majority of people who find that they have mesothelioma are elderly men around 60-70. This is a generation that works with asbestos a lot without adequate protection. Many of these people are now filing millions of dollars in lawsuits against companies that expose them to the dangers of asbestos.

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