Mesothelioma Cancer Information
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Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly cancer that kills approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people each year in the U.S. Mesothelioma cancer has been diagnosed at an alarming rate, based in part on two factors:
- Since the latency period for mesothelioma cancer to show symptoms is often up to 50 years after asbestos exposure, many WWII veterans and others who were exposed to asbestos in the 1940s and 50s are now being diagnosed with having a type of asbestos cancer.
- Mesothelioma used to be misdiagnosed as other types of cancer or respiratory diseases. Nowadays, the tests for mesothelioma are better, physicians are more aware of the existence of mesothelioma, and the disease is being “caught” more often.
What Is Mesothelioma Cancer?
The mesothelium is a tissue lining inside the chest cavity of the body. Although there are several specific types of mesothelioma cancer, such as pleural mesothelioma and malignant mesothelioma, the cancer most often attacks the pleura. The pleura is the tissue sac that holds the lungs. A diagnosis of mesothelioma is usually fatal. The average life expectancy after a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis is about 18 months.
How Does Someone Get Mesothelioma Cancer?
The only confirmed cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is composed of millions of fibers that are too small to see with the naked eye. When a product that contains asbestos is manipulated — that is, when it is installed or removed or repaired or just in poor condition — it is likely to shed or release some of these fibers, which are so light that they float in the air for hours or even days. People in the vicinity can breathe in the asbestos fibers without even knowing they are doing so.
The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs and/or other internal organs, where they can cause the development of mesothelioma. This cancer is common among people who work in asbestos mines or work with asbestos products (which are very common in the construction of buildings and ships), but people who are simply exposed to an asbestos product can also develop mesothelioma cancer.Although a curable mesothelioma treatment has not yet been found, researchers are constantly working to cure the illness. Mesothelioma treatment centers have also been opened throughout the country to help support those who are living with the illness.
Who Is Vulnerable to Mesothelioma Cancer?
Mesothelioma is more common compared to the general population, among the following occupations:
- Shipyard workers
- Elementary school teachers (perhaps because of time spent in classrooms with asbestos-containing ceilings)
Asbestos Products Are Everywhere
However, since asbestos-containing products are estimated to have been installed in hundreds of millions of homes, schools, office buildings, factories, and other structures in the U.S. in the 1940s through the 1970s, it is possible for virtually anyone to be exposed to a toxic level of asbestos.
Is there a Mesothelioma Treatment?
If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, learn all that you can about this disease and about your rights and options — contact mesothelioma treatment center today.