Mesothelioma Risk Factors

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What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a malignant, incurable cancer that affects the external tissues surrounding vital organs of the body. Cancer cells typically grow in the lungs, but they have also been detected in the abdomen and other cavities of the body. Mesothelioma is caused by prolonged inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a mineral that is naturally present in the environment. It is comprised of bundles of heat resistant, flexible fibers, either as needle-like structures or rings. Once the fibers become highly concentrated in the lungs, they cause the tissues to become scarred, a condition referred to as asbestosis. If left untreated, mesothelioma can develop. Prognosis of this disease is grim, as most do not live longer than two years after the initial diagnosis. Moreover, the disease can take years to detect, but once symptoms come to the surface, too much damage has been done. Typically, the cancer has already manifested itself beyond repair by this time.

What Risk Factors Are Associated With Mesothelioma?

Asbestos exposure in Industries- It typically takes years of continuous exposure to asbestos to trigger the disease. Contact with asbestos usually occurs at the workplace, which is why is has been dubbed an occupational cancer. Automobile industries, shipyards, construction, contracting, and manufacturing companies pose the highest risks to employees, as all use asbestos in products or in insulation materials. Prior to accepting a job in one of the above mentioned industries, research the establishment to determine if inspections are conducted regularly and if asbestos has been removed from all structures. Also, ask your employer about safety gear that is used during the workday.

Asbestosis- Asbestosis is a respiratory ailment that causes swelling of the lungs. Scar tissue develops inside the lungs, preventing the exchange of oxygen and other gases. Scar tissue may also produce heavy amounts of fluid, which block air passages. If not drained, mucous can pose additional complications. Asbestosis can cause mesothelioma in the long-term, so seeking treatment for the disorder is critical. Medicines, surgical procedures, and breathing techniques can help you function normally during daily activities.

Smoking- Mesothelioma negatively affects the lungs. Tumors halt the exchange of gases and force the heart to work harder. Smoking further impairs the lungs, and heart failure is not an uncommon complication associated with this disease. Eliminating this habit can provide you with a higher quality of life.

Residing in Older Houses- If a house was built in 1980 or earlier, chances are, it contains traces of asbestos. Walls, tiles, and textured paints may be comprised of the substance. Old appliances, such as toasters, dish washers, and ovens may even contain asbestos fibers, as they all require thermal resistance to reduce the risk of electrical fires. To decrease your chances of exposure to this deadly mineral, have your house inspected by licensed professionals. If they detect abnormal levels of the substance, they can remove it for you or seal off dangerous areas. Bring older appliances to recycling centers, so they can be disposed of properly.

Spouse Working with Asbestos- Secondary exposure to asbestos can occur when loved ones come into contact with family members handling the substance. In order to avoid this, be sure to take proper precautions to protect your family members from the toxin. Remove hazardous clothing prior to entering your home. Use cleaners to rid your body of all dust particles, and always wear proper gear and masks when working with asbestos, as fibers can easily get into the hair.

By adhering to these rules and taking appropriate measures to protect yourself, you can ensure that your safety and the safety of your loved ones remains in tact. If a situation arises where you have unknowingly been in contact with asbestos due to employer negligence, contact an attorney for guidance. He or she can provide you with the resources and solutions you need.


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