Mesothelioma is defined as cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the protective membrane that covers many of the body’s internal organs.
The pleura is surrounding the lungs and lines the chest cavity wall, and the peritoneum is the membrane that covers most of the abdominal cavity organs.
Prior exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Symptoms may take as long as thirty to fifty years after exposure to appear.
If the cells of the mesothelium divide out of control or without any order, tissue and organs nearby can become invaded and damaged. The cancer cells can then spread to other parts of the body. This cancer can appear in either women or men of any age.
What is asbestos and how does it damage the body in relation to mesothelioma?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that exist as strong fibers that can separated into thin threads and then woven. These fibers are also flexible, lasting and resistant to fire. These desirable properties resulted in asbestos being widely used, especially in the 1940’s and after.
Asbestos consists of fibers that can break and become airborne. These very tiny floating particles can be inhaled or swallowed, resulting in serious health conditions.
Once inside the lungs, the body attempts to break these irritating particles down, but cannot do so. Swallowed fibers move from the stomach and lodge in the intestinal tract. From there, they can move into the peritoneum lining of the abdomen.
These asbestos fibers cause irritation and inflammation, like one would get with a splinter or other foreign object that remained in the body.
Not only does asbestos exposure increase the risk of mesothelioma, it causes higher risks of lung cancer, asbestosis and other cancers including cancers of the kidneys and larynx.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
According to the National Cancer Institute, symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may be pain in the chest and shortness of breath due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include pain and swelling in the abdomen due to fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity. Weight loss can be another symptom. Still other symptoms can include blood clotting abnormalities, bowel obstruction, anemia and fever.
Of course, the above symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions or other less serious reasons. Seeing your doctor is important if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.
Hasn’t the use of asbestos been banned in the U.S.?
While the use of asbestos has been banned for products MADE in the United States, many imported products are still being brought in, sold and used in the U.S. The majority of these products are imported from Canada and Mexico.
In addition, according to a report released by EPA in 2003, 20% of the existing buildings surveyed in a 1986 study contained asbestos! Not only had it been used extensively in buildings, it also has been used in industrial facilities and ships.
What kind of products can contain asbestos and who’s at risk for asbestos exposure?
Products such as cement, roof shingles and roofing felt, vinyl-asbestos floor tile, roof coatings, insulation, textiles, fireproofing, ceiling tile, insulated electrical wire, brake and clutch pads and gaskets are products that can contain asbestos.
Working in the manufacture of these products can expose one to asbestos. Working in and around the sale, delivery, installation, maintenance or inspection of buildings, facilities and objects containing these products could also cause exposure.
Common occupations at risk for asbestos exposure include the construction trades, facilities maintenance personnel, asbestos mining and manufacturing personnel, shipyard workers, automotive mechanics, facilities inspectors, merchant marine and U.S. Navy veterans.
If you or someone you know has worked in any of these types of occupations and may have been exposed to asbestos, learn as much as you can about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
Be sure to inform your doctor. Go to your favorite library to read more. And of course, use online resources to educate yourself about the latest information that exists on asbestos and mesothelioma.
What’s the fastest way to find asbestos legal advice mesothelioma related?
The quickest way to find asbestos legal advice mesothelioma related is by searching online. Many of the top law firms and mesothelioma related websites contain information on seeking legal remedies and compensation that you may be entitled to receive. Good luck in your search!
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