Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the thin membrane surrounding the lungs and chest cavity. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, but in some cases, other possible causes may be a factor. This article will discuss the possibility of other causes of pleural mesothelioma and how they can be investigated.
The most common cause of pleural mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, which often occurs in people who have worked in construction or other industries where asbestos is used. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used extensively in building materials for centuries. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to serious health conditions, including pleural mesothelioma.
Although asbestos is the most common cause of pleural mesothelioma, there are other possible causes that should be investigated. Some other possible causes of pleural mesothelioma include exposure to radon gas, certain viruses, and certain genetic abnormalities.
Exposure to radon gas is another potential cause of pleural mesothelioma. Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is released from the ground. It can enter homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation or walls, and can accumulate in enclosed spaces such as basements and attics. Long-term exposure to radon gas increases the risk of developing pleural mesothelioma.
Infectious viruses can also contribute to the development of pleural mesothelioma. Certain types of viruses, such as the SV40 virus, have been linked to an increased risk of developing pleural mesothelioma. The SV40 virus is a type of virus found in some kinds of polio vaccines and is currently being investigated for its potential role in causing pleural mesothelioma.
Finally, certain genetic abnormalities can increase the risk of developing pleural mesothelioma. People with certain genetic mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, have an increased risk of developing this type of cancer. Additionally, people with a history of genetic disorders, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, are at an increased risk of developing pleural mesothelioma.
When investigating possible causes of pleural mesothelioma, it is important to consider all potential factors. If asbestos exposure is suspected, it is important to identify the source of the exposure and determine how long and how often a person was exposed. It is also important to consider other possible causes, such as radon gas, certain viruses, and genetic abnormalities.
In some cases, further testing may be necessary to determine the cause of pleural mesothelioma. Blood tests, CT scans, and MRI scans can help to identify any underlying causes of the cancer. Additionally, genetic testing can help to identify any genetic abnormalities that may be associated with an increased risk of developing pleural mesothelioma.
Ultimately, it is important to investigate all possible causes of pleural mesothelioma in order to determine the best course of treatment. Identifying the cause of the cancer is a crucial step in developing an effective treatment plan.