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What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer caused by exposure to the naturally occurring mineral fiber asbestos. Although the risks of asbestos were known in the United States as early as the 1920s, the fiber was widely used to manufacture everything from navy ships to home insulation. Over the next 25 years, experts estimate that asbestos lung cancer will cause 100,000 deaths. As of 2004, there were 43,000 documented cases of Americans dying due to asbestos exposure. As many as 10,000 people die from mesothelioma and related asbestos related conditions every year.

Occupational Exposure to Asbestos

Experts estimate that anywhere from five to seven percent of lung cancer cases can be attributed to occupational exposure, particularly in occupations such as:

Some statistics set the figure of asbestos exposure at the workplace at 20-40% for adult males. Although guidelines for asbestos exposure at the workplace are stricter than they have ever been before, many people were exposed prior to these regulations and may develop mesothelioma at some point during their lifetime.

About Mesothelioma Lung Cancer

Mesothelioma is named such because it is cancer that affects the mesothelial tissue, which is the tissue that surrounds the lungs as well as other organs such as the heart or abdominal cavity. The latency period for mesothelioma cancer is much longer than other cancers. In other words, people who inhale or ingest asbestos fibers may not be diagnosed with mesothelioma for another 20 or 30 years.

Mesothelioma is caused when an individual breathes in or swallows asbestos fibers. Before strict regulations were in place, people who worked with asbestos (or around equipment comprised of asbestos) were not equipped with breathing masks or other types of protective gear to prevent ingestion. Many workers, without protective clothing, would come home with asbestos dust on their clothes and ingest it while undressing, even spreading the fibers around their home and family.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are three types of mesothelioma, although pleural malignant is the most common type comprising about 75 percent of all diagnoses.

If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, we understand your struggle and want to do whatever it takes to ensure that you get the treatment you deserve. 

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