Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that is linked to exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and other industries until its dangers became known in the 1970s.
Mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium, which is a thin layer of tissue that lines the lungs, heart, and abdomen. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, either through inhalation or ingestion. Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the mesothelium and cause inflammation, which can eventually lead to cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, and the number of cases has been declining since the 1970s as the use of asbestos has been largely discontinued in the United States. However, the latency period of mesothelioma can be long, so it is still possible to develop the disease decades after the initial exposure.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and weight loss. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses and the diagnosis of mesothelioma is often delayed.
Treatment for mesothelioma usually involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Unfortunately, the prognosis for mesothelioma is usually poor, and the average life expectancy is only about one year.
Mesothelioma is a devastating illness, and it is important for those who may have been exposed to asbestos to be aware of the potential risks. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms that may be related to mesothelioma. Additionally, it is important for those who are exposed to asbestos to take steps to limit their exposure in order to reduce their risk of developing the disease.