Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can cause a number of diseases - primarily mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other cancers. Asbestos fibers are more accurately described as the fibers of several minerals:
Asbestos Fibers Inhaled
Surgical specimens from mesothelioma cancer patients have shown asbestos fibers still trapped in the tissues of the lungs, pleura, and/or mesothelium. Once inhaled, the asbestos fibers tend to accumulate:
- in the thoracic cavity
- near the bottom lobes of the lungs, and
- on the surface of the diaphragm
In some patients, biopsy tissue shows that the asbestos fibers reach the intrapleural space or the mesothelial lining of the intrapleural space. Although this state is known as “clearing of the lungs,” it is still a life-threatening condition.
Clearing of the Asbestos Fibers from the Lungs
The finding that asbestos fibers could be “cleared” from the lungs where they first became lodged led to two theories about how asbestos fibers cause disease:
- asbestos fibers pierce the tissue of the pleural space, damaging the tissue and resulting in an inflammatory immune response
- asbestos fibers are so tiny that they can act at the molecular level, e.g., damaging cells' DNA and interrupting cell replication
These are still theories; the true process of asbestos disease development is not yet known.
Find Out More about Asbestos Fibers' Damage
If mesothelioma cancer is the diagnosis for you or your family member, it's a good idea to learn all that you can about your medical and legal alternatives. Contact mesothelioma treatment centers today to arrange a private consultation.