The American Lung Association has been raising awareness about Mesothelioma for years, but, unfortunately, many people each year still develop this form of cancer from exposure to asbestos. In many cases, older homes, schools, and workplaces contain asbestos and in some cases, this carcinogenic material can result in serious illness. Being aware of the risks can help everyone stay safer, according to The American Lung Association.
It is important to understand what asbestos and Mesothelioma are in order to reduce risks of exposure. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the cells that line various organs. Mesothelioma is rare and usually attacks the mesothelium, or the cells that line the lungs, although it can also affect the lining of the heart or abdominal organs. The most common form of this cancer is known as Pleural Mesothelioma. In Pleural Mesothelioma, malignant tumours grow on the sac that protects and lines the lungs.
Whichever organs Mesothelioma attacks, the cancer is usually caused by exposure to a substance known as asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once very popular as a building material, as the substance is resistant to frame. Builders and those manufacturing the product saw asbestos as a way to make buildings safer from fire, but subsequent research revealed that the material is highly carcinogenic. Even exposure to just a small amount of asbestos or exposure for just a few weeks greatly increases the risk for Mesothelioma.
According to The American Lung Association:
* Mesothelioma does not develop quickly after asbestos exposure. In many cases, 35, 40 or even more years pass by from the time of exposure to the appearance of tumours.
*Anyone who believes that they have been exposed to asbestos should look for the most common symptoms of Mesothelioma. These include chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, and a persistent cough. However, anyone who has been exposed to asbestos should be tested for Mesothelioma periodically, as some patients have few or no symptoms.
*It is important to seek treatment right away for Mesothelioma. Many patients live 4 to 12 months after symptoms develop. However, treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery can extend expected life span.