Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the linings of the chest (the pleura) abdomen (the peritoneum) or heart (pericardium). This cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous incombustible mineral used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters. When this chemical is inhaled, it can be extremely toxic and cause this type of cancer.
Asbestos was widely used especially before mid-1970s in industrial products such as cement, brake and clutches, roof, floor and ceiling tiles, textiles, and insulation.
The people that are most likely to suffer from mesothelioma are those who were exposed to asbestos fibers at work. Since mesothelioma usually has a latency period of 20-50 years where the illness is not apparent, most people with this cancer did not know about it until it was too late. The disease usually appeared many years after having been exposed to asbestos, even if it was only during a short summer job. The jobs that are believed to have been exposed to considerable amounts of asbestos are: workers in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, insulators, who are also known as asbestos workers, boilermakers, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, plasterers who worked with fireproofing spray, shipyard and Navy workers, electricians, mechanics, bricklayers, millwrights, carpenters, steel workers, refinery and other industrial workers, maintenance workers, and many others.
There are also other people who have been exposed to asbestos in their homes without even being aware of the danger. There were those people who were family and friends of those who worked with asbestos products. These workers would bring asbestos particles stuck to their clothes, shoes, hair and skin. This is known as household exposure.
However, mesothelioma is still considered as a cancer with a relative small reach. Not everyone who was once exposed to asbestos developed this cancer later on. The figures are still low compared to other types of cancer: about 3,000 new cases are diagnosed in the US every year. Although it seems to affect mostly men, increasing the risks with age, it can appear on anyone at any point in their lives. The asbestos found in finished products in the houses like walls, tiles, and pipes do not pose a threat unless they are damaged or disturbed. It is only this way that the asbestos fibers are released into the air and inhaled or digested which may cause the cancer.
Since Mesothelioma is primarily a personal injury occurring from the work place, those injured should be able to take action against irresponsible businesses that exposed its employees to this cancer-causing material. This disease can actually be completely prevented, since the only known cause is asbestos exposure. This disease not should continue killing people. The horrific effects of asbestos were well-known by companies making good use and big profits out of this material. Many companies even tried to hide the awful truth about the deadly effects of asbestos to its workers and their families. Of course, this was easy because for most cases it took 20 years to be diagnosed.
There are many treatments to combat this cancer such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. However, this is one of the deadliest cancers because the time between it is diagnosed and the person dies, averages to less than 6 months. Because of this rapid nature of Mesothelioma, it is imperative to take action against those companies that lied to its workers before it may be too late.