Causes of Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure is one of the most common causes of mesothelioma. Over 50 percent of mesothelioma patients have a history of asbestos exposure. This exposure could occur while directly handling the fibrous material, or it could occur through just environmental exposure.
There are numerous documented cases where patients contracted the disease due to living close to the asbestos mines or by coming in contact with asbestos when some of the fibers became airborne. Persons most commonly afflicted include shipyard workers, construction workers, automobile mechanics (particularly those working on brake linings), insulation workers, pipe and heater installation and flooring workers and roofers.
Also, for those who have had asbestos exposure and who smoke, the risk becomes exaggerated. Studies show that asbestos workers who also smoke are 55 times more likely to die of mesothelioma than nonsmokers without asbestos exposure.
Erionite is a mineral that has a long, thin rod-like amphiboles structure. Exposure to this mineral has been associated with increased incidence of mesothelioma. Many cases of mesothelioma due to erionite exposure have been diagnosed in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey.
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause for malignant mesothelioma in most patients. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, then you are at risk. There is no minimum level of exposure that is deemed safe. Insure that during your routine health care, you advise your doctor of previous asbestos exposure, particularly if you experience any chest pressure, shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing. While these symptoms do not indicate the presence of the disease, they are the most common symptoms and should be further investigated if you have had asbestos exposure.
[Page updated February 2005]
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