Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer which is caused merely by the exposure of asbestos. The cancer targets and develops in the lining around the lungs, heart and abdominal cavities. These protective tissues or cells in which surround our internal lining are called mesothelium.
The mesothelium help to protect your vital organs by creating an inside layer which creates a cover for most of the internal organs. When this mesothelium is affected, it may cause pain and other problems leading to the dangerous cancer, mesothelioma.
A majority of people with mesothelioma are the ones who have had exposure to asbestos particles directly or indirectly. However contracted, mesothelioma has one of the lengthiest latency periods of all diseases, as it takes more than 20-50 years for its symptoms to appear! You or a loved one may unknowingly have this cancerous disease growing inside of you if you have been working directly hands-on around asbestos, or indirectly doing things such as washing clothes that bear asbestos dust and fiber.Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is caused simply by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that can cause mesothelioma if its fibers or dust particles are inhaled. In most of the cases of mesothelioma, the patient has either inhaled asbestos particles where they lived previously or when the patient worked at an asbestos industry. There is also situations in which mesothelioma can occur in people who have had no previous exposure to asbestos.
People who contracted mesothelioma without direct contact are often family members who may have inhaled asbestos fibers or dust particles from clothing, shoes or hair while washing or dusting them. Also, people living in the neighborhood where asbestos was processed can develop mesothelioma, as well. The particles of asbestos dust settle into the lining of the lungs, chest or abdomen and cause cancerous growth of cells.
Pennsylvania is known to be one of the most affected areas in the United States, and continues to rank highly due to many people still working in industries that used asbestos in the past. People having worked certain jobs in steel mills, shipyards, as an electrician, as a plumber, or as a carpenter may be greatly affected.Mesothelioma Symptoms
Some common mesothelioma symptoms are:
- Weight loss, wasting of muscle, loss of appetite and general debility
- Abdominal swelling
- Pain due to buildup of fluid in abdominal cavity, lungs or heart
- Bowel obstruction
- Blood clotting abnormalities
- Trouble swallowing
Please make your doctor aware that you have worked with asbestos in the past so that if you do experience any of these symptoms, an accurate diagnosis can be made. Mesothelioma is a rare but serious cancer, and due to the lengthy latency period for the symptoms to appear, it may be overlooked or misdiagnosed.