Albeit the use of asbestos in building and other industries has long stopped, the harmful effects of the materials are still felt in conditions like asbestos malignant mesothelioma. Approximately 3000 cases of this condition are diagnosed annually. Causes are usually identified as exposure to the material in the workplaces and especially old and dilapidated public buildings.
The relation between asbestos and mesothelioma cancer
Mesothelioma is a cancer that tends to affect the protective membranes surrounding the lungs, abdominal cavity and the heart. To this end, it primarily tends to affect the body's breathing system as well as the circulation system.
Asbestos malignant mesothelioma develops in the body after exposure to asbestos fibers. The fibers may be inhaled or swallowed, getting trapped in the lungs' lining and/or the abdominal cavity. The composition of the materials making up the fibers makes it hard for the body to destroy them as necessary. The toxicity in the fibers further also goes on to affect the body negatively, affecting the genetic composition of the surrounding cells and tissues and causing other conditions like inflammation and scarring.
Over the years, the negative changes introduced into the body by the asbestos fibers develop to mesothelioma cancer. Full development of the condition may take a period of 20 to 50 years after initial exposure to the material.
Types of Mesothelioma cancers caused by asbestos
Depending on where the asbestos fibers settle after being inhaled or swallowed, mesothelioma affects different areas and is consequently categorized according to the area it affects.
The different types of mesothelioma caused by asbestos include:
However, seeing as it is most people suffering from the condition are exposed to the asbestos fibers through inhalation, pleural mesothelioma tends to be more common among patients.
Symptoms of asbestos malignant mesothelioma
After initial exposure to the asbestos fibers, mesothelioma tends to take quite a long period of time to be fully developed. While in some people it has been shown to take 20 years, it has also been shown to take up to 50 years in others.
Furthermore, the symptoms of asbestos are so mild such that most people diagnosed with the condition do not even realize that they are suffering from it yet. However, when fully developed, symptoms may include:
There are different measures put in place to slow down the harmful effects of mesothelioma and treat it. They include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
Surgery is especially administered for patients in who the condition is diagnosed early. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy on the other hand are treatments administered to kill the cancerous cells causing the condition.
Since it was first identified as a common condition, doctors and other experts have been making progress in researching the condition and trying to find a cure and more and better treatment options are available for patients nowadays.