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What is Mesothelioma?

June 7th, 2007

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that attacks the mesothelial cells of the body. The exterior portion that covers and protects our internal organs are where these types of cells are located. Hence, the name for this cancer originates from the “mesothelial” protective lining.

This type of cancer is difficult to diagnose because of its later appearance in a victim’s life. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos material. Over thirty years ago, the dangerous effects of asbestos were unknown. A person came in contact with asbestos in the workforce, in their homes, and in hospitals.

Asbestos was especially favored by industries such as construction sites, shipyards, mines, factories, and other blue collared type jobs. Their extensive contact with the material is what makes their chance of developing mesothelioma so dangerous. Those who inhaled fibers of asbestos through the nose and mouth are more likely to develop lung cancer, mesothelioma, or any other types of malignant cancer. Those who are exposed to large amount of this toxic material at a young age for many years are more likely to develop the disease than those with short, less direct exposure.

Second hand contact to asbestos material is most prevalent in the people whose family members brought home asbestos fibers on their body and clothes. Just as dangerous as second hand smoke, those indirectly exposed to asbestos are also at risk for developing this deadly disease at some point in their lifetime.Mesothelioma is not the only disease caused by asbestos contact. Others include different types of lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural disease. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is the most severe. This specific cancer is not easily treated because of its negative response to rehabilitation. Those who are diagnosed and treated in early stages of the disease often live over two years. Mesothelioma statistics show that 20% of patients diagnosed are fortunate enough to achieve a five year survival rate.There is a surplus amount of research being done to learn more about asbestos, find out where it is located and different strategies of how to treat it. Doctors are beginning to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of different types of lung related cancer. With new advances in medicine and research methods of this disease, patients who suffer from mesothelioma cancer can be hopeful that survival rates will begin to increase so they can live long, fulfilling lives.

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