Asbestos exposure is a known risk factor for the development of malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. This cancer arises from the mesothelium, a thin layer that lines the chest wall. It is most commonly caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in many building materials and other products. When disturbed, asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs. This inhalation can cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs, and when inhaled over a period of time, can cause serious health problems.
Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers that become lodged in the mesothelium. Over time, these fibers can cause the cells of the mesothelium to become abnormal and eventually develop into cancer cells.
The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with the amount of exposure to asbestos. People who have worked with asbestos or lived in an environment with asbestos-containing materials have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma can also be caused by exposure to other substances, such as erionite, a naturally occurring mineral found in certain locations in the United States. It is important to note that mesothelioma can take years, even decades, to develop, so it is important for people who have been exposed to asbestos to be aware of the risks.
People who have been exposed to asbestos should speak with their doctor about their risk of developing mesothelioma and consider being tested for the disease. Treatment options for mesothelioma are limited, so early detection is key to improving a patient’s prognosis.
If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of developing mesothelioma. This includes avoiding contact with asbestos-containing materials, wearing protective gear when working with asbestos, and being aware of the potential health risks associated with exposure to asbestos.