Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day and a great opportunity to learn more about this deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and other asbestos-related minerals.
Mesothelioma is a “relatively rare cancer of the mesothilium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body.” Wikipedia It is caused by exposure to asbestos and can take years or even decades to become symptomatic.
Most people who contract Mesothelioma have worked with asbestos, most often before precautions were being taken against inhalation of the tiny fibers which compose this mineral. There is some evidence that family members of these workers can become sick because of asbestos on the workers’ clothes or hair as well, but this evidence is disputed by some courts. Many jobs run a high risk of being exposed to asbestos, including:
Although Mesothelioma is different from the lung cancer caused by tobacco use, smoking vastly increases the incidence of Mesothelioma in people exposed to asbestos.
What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Early symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Reduced respiratory function
Since these symptoms can also occur with less serious diseases–and come so many years after exposure–often people have delayed diagnoses which severely limit their treatment options.
I’ve never worked with Asbestos. How could I be exposed?
Asbestos has been used in many common building materials including pipe insulation, flooring and roofing, as well as automobile brake pads. It is very important to inform yourself about these materials before you tackle that DIY renovation project. Read more here.
I was exposed to asbestos, but only once in my life. Am I at risk of developing Mesothelioma?
Unfortunately, yes. Read this article about a British man who died of Mesothelioma from one day of exposure during a home renovation project.
Is Mesothelioma curable?
The short answer is no. The only cure for Mesothelioma is prevention.
Where can I find out more about Mesothelioma?
Here are some fantastic resources about Mesothelioma:
Although the US imported more asbestos last year than in any previous year, we hope that the use of this mineral will decrease with the heightened awareness of what havoc it can wreak in the health of people around the world.