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Asbestosis Mesothelioma Facts

Updated on May 27, 2018

Asbestos exposure has been found to result in a wide variety of conditions, including asbestosis mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that attacks the lungs, heart or abdomen. This cancer is almost entirely caused by exposure to the fire retardant asbestos.

Ubiquitous Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used widely in a variety of applications by many industries for the majority of the 20th century. When left alone asbestos is harmless. If damaged or disturbed, however, microscopic fibers release into the air where they are inhaled or ingested and then lodge in the tissue linings of organs.

If you live in a house built before 1980, chances are asbestos was used. So, if you ever do any renovating, be sure to consult an inspector first to find out if there is any asbestos present. If there is, don't try to remove it yourself. Hire an abatement company to remove it for you, because they will be prepared to remove and dispose of it properly.

A Long Latency Period

The biggest obstacle in mesothelioma treatment is being able to detect it early. Asbestosis mesothelioma has a long latency period and symptoms don't usually begin for 25-50 years after exposure. Since this form of cancer is usually diagnosed in later stages, treatment options are usually limited and therefore inadequate. As a result, electricians, military personnel (especially those who had been in the U.S. Navy), firefighters, auto mechanics and people in other occupations who contracted mesothelioma look to law firms to help them receive compensation. Many feel it's their only course of action, because they know their efforts to affect cures may be fruitless and they want to leave their families with something. The reason these lawsuits are such big business is because many of the corporations and industries that incorporated asbestos into products knew of the dangers and kept using it. That makes them responsible for the resulting health effects in their unsuspecting employees.

Magnification of lung asbestosis
Magnification of lung asbestosis
Chest x-ray showing an early case of asbestosis mesothelioma
Chest x-ray showing an early case of asbestosis mesothelioma

Asbestosis Mesothelioma Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Coughing up blood
  • A persistent, dry cough that's sometimes accompanied by chest pain
  • Shortness of breath that first occurs when you exert yourself, and as the disease progresses, when you rest
  • Difficulty when swallowing
  • Fever or night sweats
  • X-rays show opaque areas that first appear at the bottom areas of the lungs and may slowly extend into the upper areas over time
  • Restriction of lung functioning, either before or after any lung changes show on x-rays
  • Unexplained loss of more than 10 percent of body weight

Images by Nephron and Clinical Cases made available through the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License.

Surprising Uses of Asbestos

Asbestos has been used in numerous industrial and military applications over the years, but you may be surprised to learn that it was also used in a wide variety of common items. The following are just a sampling:

 
 
 
Adhesives
Gloves
Rope
Canvas
Cigarette filters
Fertilizer
Curtains
Duct tape
Hair dryers
Felt
Crock pots
Packing materials
Popcorn poppers
Vinyl wallpaper
Cork boards

Where Asbestos Can Be Found in Your Home

The History of Asbestos

If you weren't afraid of asbestos before watching the video above, you will be after. It's very dangerous if you're involved in removing it from old buildings.

Interestingly, it took the United States until the second decade of the 21st Century to completely ban it. I'm guessing lobbyists had something to do with the delay, but don't quote me on that.

Have You or Someone You Know Had Asbestos-Related Physical Troubles?

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    • profile image

      indianist 

      6 years ago

      No exact medication has been known yet how to treat mesothelioma. Hope to get a treatment option soon..

    • profile image

      Mesothelioma Cancer 

      7 years ago

      This is a great article on the risks of asbestos. Many people are unaware of the dangers associated with the material, or the sheer amount of products it was used in. Hopefully this informational post will help prevent some unintended exposure! Regards, MC

    • WordPlay profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla Chadwick 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Acquilles.

    • Acquilles profile image

      Acquilles 

      8 years ago from Lucknow

      useful info...

    • WordPlay profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla Chadwick 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm so sorry you're going through that, Paul. Just make sure whoever you hire to deal with it is an expert in asbestos removal. That can make a world of difference.

    • Paul Marshall profile image

      Paul Marshall 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Very interesting artical. It relates to me as I live in a very old rented house That has problems with the roof. On inspection of the roof for repairs to be carried out, it was discovered that it is constucted from the stuff, not to mention the ceilings as well. Life is about to become very interesting for me & my boy.

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