Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that occurs due to asbestos exposure. Once a popular building and manufacturing material, we know now how dangerous asbestos can be.
Most people would not willingly live or work in a space that contains asbestos, but due to “economic concerns” the stuff is not technically banned in the United States. The history of asbestos use is a shameful one involving many years of cover-ups, and people who have developed mesothelioma after asbestos exposure have a difficult time getting recompense.
The reason mesothelioma is so dangerous is that it may not develop for up to 20 years after asbestos exposure, and it is often asymptomatic in the early, treatable stages.
Once it has been diagnosed, the prognosis for the patient is typically not good. If you have ever worked directly with asbestos or think you may have lived or worked in a building that contained it, read on to learn the clues that point to this virulent form of cancer.
Many people who have been exposed to asbestos never develop the disease. Researchers aren’t sure exactly what triggers it to develop, as the length and intensity of exposure doesn’t seem to matter very much.
Some people with barely any exposure will get sick, whereas others who have worked around it for years are okay. Therefore, doctors suspect there is a genetic component to it. The main risk factors are:
• Personal history of asbestos exposure, whether at work or at home.
• Cohabiting with someone who is exposed to asbestos. Asbestos fibers can cling to skin
and clothing, making it likely that a person who works with it will bring it home and bring risk to everyone who lives there.
• A family history of mesothelioma. There appears to be a genetic component, so if anyone in your immediate family has had it, your risk is elevated.
The most likely workers to have been exposed to asbestos are miners, insulation manufacturers, factory workers, construction workers, ship builders, and auto mechanics.
Asbestos abatement teams are often called in to remove asbestos products from structures. These workers wear head-to-toe protective gear and breathe through a ventilator while on the job.