Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States. So how come it isn’t as commonly known as other diseases such as breast cancer or lung cancer? It is one of the most aggressive cancers a person can get, with the average life expectancy ranging around 12 months. And just about anyone is prone to getting mesothelioma, as it can be caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.
To know how to prevent, treat, or manage mesthelioma, it is important to have a thorough understanding of it. Below are some facts that can help you better understand this life-altering disease.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer which affects the mesothelium cells. The mesothelium is a protective layer which lines and protects internal organs in the chest, cardiac, and abdominal cavity. This cancer can be deadly, and though there is still no cure, there are treatments available which improve quality of life and extend it.
About 80% of people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos, which is the main cause of this cancer. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that becomes threatening if its fibers are released into the air and inhaled. The airborne fibers are microscopic, making them invisible to the human eye, so people are not even aware if they are ingesting them. Once breathed in, the fibers travel to the end of small air passages and can cause scarring and inflammation; these damaged cells cause changes which can result in uncontrolled cell growth and lead to the cancer.
Most common mesothelioma symptoms may include a dry cough or wheezing, respiratory complications such as shortness of breath, fatigues, pain in the chest or abdomen, fever or night sweats, muscle weakness, or fluid around the lungs.
Please note that not everyone will display these symptoms and that the cancer may present itself in a number of other ways. If you feel that you are at risk, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that anywhere from 35 to 40 years could pass between the point of exposure to the time you are diagnosed.
Asbestos was a popular ingredient in over 3,000 products before and around the 1970s. It was used in cement, adhesives, insulation, and even talcum powder and other cosmetics.
Certain applications of asbestos and products are now prohibited and there has been a push to cease use of it completely. That being said, if your office or home was built before the 1970s, there is a possibility there are asbestos-containing products there.
We can’t stress enough how harmful of a substance asbestos could be if you are exposed to it. It could have adverse effects on your life later. Take steps to minimize your exposure to this terrible toxin so you can save yourself from preventable diseases like mesothelioma.
While asbestos use is controlled in the United States, there are many countries around the world that do not govern its use. Mesothelioma is a global issue and will continue to be a health concern to people until asbestos is no longer actively used around the world.
If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, know that even though there is no cure at the moment, you should not lose hope. Doctors and researchers are constantly looking for newer and more sophisticated ways to not only limit people’s exposure to asbestos, but to also find a cure for those who have already been exposed.
https://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/staff/10-facts-you-should-know-about-mesothelioma-cancer.htm, https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/statistics, https://www.mesotheliomahelp.org/mesothelioma/statistics/