Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue covering the lungs, heart, and abdomen. It’s caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral used in insulation and other products. The grim reality of mesothelioma is that it’s often fatal, with most victims dying within a year of diagnosis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 2,500 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the United States. It’s most common in people who worked in industries where asbestos was used or who were exposed to asbestos in their homes. The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with age and men are more likely to get it than women.
The most effective way to protect yourself from mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified more than 300 products that may contain asbestos, including insulation, cement, brake pads, and roofing materials. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
If you work in an industry that uses asbestos, it’s important to follow safety protocols to reduce your risk of exposure. Wear protective gear, such as respirators and protective clothing, to avoid inhaling asbestos fibers. If you’re unsure if asbestos is present, have a professional contractor inspect your workplace.
In addition to avoiding exposure, it’s also important to be aware of the early signs of mesothelioma. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever. If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
The grim reality of mesothelioma is that it’s often fatal. However, with early detection and proper treatment, some patients have been able to extend their lives. If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from this deadly disease.