Asbestos lung mesothelioma is a form of malignant cancer
It can develop after exposure to the mineral asbestos.
At this time mesothelioma is incurable and fatal.
Approximately 70% to 80% of mesothelioma cancers are associated with a history of asbestos exposure (U. S. National Cancer Institute, 2002).
People inhale asbestos particles in the home, at work, or other locations.
These mineral particles travel to the lungs and to the mesothelium, a thin membrane that covers organs inside the body.
Our bodies cannot eliminate asbestos naturally nor can the asbestos be removed by medical science.
It becomes a time bomb, slowly damaging healthy tissue and creating malignant cancer.
Microscopic asbestos dust particles
The microscopic dust particles floating in the air travel through the lungs, to the alveolar sacs, then migrate to the mesothelium lining the outside of each lung. Mesothelial tissue forms a lubricating sac around each lung, promoting free breathing.
But once it becomes cancerous, people develop severe difficulty breathing, as well as metastases to other organs.
The dust particles remain in the body for decades, destroying healthy cells and causing the development of cancer.
This cancer can also metastasize rapidly to other parts of the body.
This condition is also called malignant pleural mesothelioma and is the most common form of this cancer. Asbestos lung mesothelioma refers to the association of asbestos with the development of cancer in the lubricating sac around the lungs, even though the lung tissue itself is not always cancerous.
Less common forms of this type of cancer includes malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. This occurs when the asbestos travels to the peritoneal mesothelial cells covering the digestive organs and abdominal cavity and form cancer cell there. More rare forms include pericardial mesothelioma cancer around the heart.
Asbestos exposure is common
Asbestos use increased dramatically throughout the world in the last century until it was discovered to be carcinogenic and is now regulated.
During the decades when it was presumed safe for any purpose, it was widely used in the military, in construction, for insulation, and in many consumer products including appliances and vinyls.
People have been exposed to asbestos through their communities, occupations, homes, schools, and even gardening (here are some asbestos lung mesothelioma related occupations).
New exposures occur even today as older buildings are renovated. One tragic case of exposure from older buildings is the World Trade Center collapse in New York City on 9-11, when hundreds of tons of asbestos were released into the air (National Cancer Institute, 2007).
Even though many people throughout the world have been exposed to asbestos, the development of asbestos lung mesothelioma is still considered rare for a simple reason. This cancer can take several decades to develop and most people will die of other causes before this cancer will kill them.
Cancer treatment and medical health research
Treatment includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, but patients rarely live more than one to two years after diagnosis.
Research into a mesothelioma cure has concentrated on slowing or interrupting basic cancer pathways of initiation, progression, and proliferation, especially with regard to cellular responses to asbestos.
Most research approaches examine a chemical intervention into cancer pathways using patented pharmaceuticals and/or natural substances like green tea.
There has been a great deal of green tea cancer research over the last decade.
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This page last updated by Sharon Jones.
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