Diseases Cancer

Does Asbestos Exposure Cause Mesothelioma Cancer?

Introduction

Asbestos has been identified as a material that can cause cancer (carcinogen) by the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Human Services department, U.S. Health department and also by the International Agency for the Research on Cancer. According to the studies and research work done, asbestos exposure highly enhances the risks of lung cancer and mesothelioma. Even though asbestos cancer mesothelioma is mostly caused because of the occupational exposure to asbestos, it might not be the case always. There are certain cases in which mesothelioma has been found in the people who even wash the work clothes of people who get exposed to asbestos. Apart from this, even certain cases of environmental asbestos exposure have lead to diseases like asbestos cancer mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Asbestos

It has been evident that Asbestos exposure is the most prevalent cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is one of the six minerals, which occur in nature as groups of fibrous crystals. Asbestos is quite popular for its strength, chemical and heat resistance, low conductivity to electricity and flexibility, because of which it has been widely used in various residential and commercial projects like roofing, for insulation of the ships, pipes and even acoustic ceiling tiles. The shape and strength of asbestos’s fibers define the type of asbestos and hence it has been categorized in three forms. An easy fragmentation of asbestos indicates it to remain airborne for a longer time which eventually increases the chances of others to inhale its fibers and get mesothelioma. The two asbestos forms - blue asbestos (cocidiolite) and brown asbestos (amosite) have quite limited usage and are usually used in the applications that require precise and needle like formations. Such usage increases the chances of getting exposed to fragmented and powdered asbestos more. White asbestos or Chrysotile is the most widely used one for many purposes because of its tendency to fragment less.

Features

How does Asbestos Cancer Mesothelioma occur:

When an individual inhales asbestos, around two-third amount of asbestos fibers are coughed out of the body or swallowed in. The remaining one third fibers travel across the airway and might reach the little air sacs in the lungs (alveoli). The whole process takes years to build the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Usually it takes around 20-40 years and even more for the mesothelioma to build through constant asbestos exposure. The major forms of asbestos exposure mesothelioma are pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. However, testicular and pericardial mesothelioma are quite rare in occurrences, hence their link with asbestos exposure hasn't been quite clear yet.

Other diseases related to Asbestos Exposure:

Apart from lung cancer and mesothelioma, asbestos is also responsible for some other thoracic diseases like pleural plaques, benign pleural effusions and asbestosis. Pleural plaques are the most common asbestos-exposure ailments, and are basically the patches of scar tissue on the pleural membrane's surface. There are no evident symptoms of pleural plaques and they don't require any particular treatment as well, as they aren't considered malefic to the body so far. Benign pleural effusion is caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in the pleural lining of the lungs. It takes around 10-20 years to build and might even don't need treatment and disappear on its own. However, it needs to be monitored, since it may lead to the development of asbestos cancer Mesothelioma.

Tips and comments

Asbestosis is a malignant disease that causes the scarring of the lung tissue and most seriously affects the health of the people.

By Sia Attavar, published at 02/14/2012
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