Exposure to Asbestos Containing Products Can Cause Mesothelioma Cancer
Asbestos fibers are strong, durable, and resist heat, acids, and friction. Asbestos is virtually indestructible. It is because of these physical properties, asbestos fibers were often combined with other materials for use in thousands of industrial, maritime, automotive and building products for the past 100 years.
Asbestos Containing Products:
Insulation (asbestos pipe insulation, asbestos boiler insulation, corrugated air–cell, breaching, and block insulation; HVAC duct insulation; sprayed–in asbestos insulation; blown–in asbestos insulation; asebstos thermal paper products; electrical wiring insulation)
Fireproofing/Acoustical Texture Products (includes acoustical plaster, decorative plasterwith asbestos, textured paint or coatings conatin asbestos, asbestos fire blankets, asbestos panels, asbestos fire curtains, fire doors containg asbestos)
Textile and Asbestos Cloth Products (includes blankets, protective cloth coverings, garments, asbestos gloves, asbestos threads, cords, yarns, braids)
Spackling, Patching & Taping Compounds (includes caulking, putties, joint compounds, adhesives, tapes, thermal taping compounds)
Gaskets and Packings (includes high temperature gaskets, packings for industrial products, high pressure packing, asbestos packing reinforced with steel or copper wire)
Asbestos–cement Pipe and Sheet Material
Tiles, Wallboard, Siding and Roofing (includes roofing shingles, roofing felt, base flashing, cement wallboard, cement siding, ceiling tiles and lay–in panels, asphalt floor tile, vinyl floor tile, vinyl sheet flooring, flooring backing, vinyl wall coverings)
Friction Materials (Automotive brakes, brake pad, brake shoes and railroad brakes and clutches)
Mesothelioma from Asbestos Products
In mesothelioma, the cells of the mesothelium become cancerous and grow out of control. The mesothelium is a protective, two-layered membrane that covers the internal organs of the body including the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. Between these layers, the cells produce fluid, which allows easy movement of the heart and lungs within the chest cavity. The layer that covers the lungs is called the pleura, and the layer that covers the heart is called the pericardium. The peritoneum lines the abdominal cavity. Mesothelium also lines the male and female reproductive organs. Mesothelioma can affect any of these cells, but is usually seen in the pleural or peritoneal mesothelium. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural.
Mesothelioma Cancer Risk from Asbestos Exposure
The primary risk factor for developing mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Between 70-80% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos, usually in the workplace. Although it is possible to develop mesothelioma without any exposure to asbestos, it is very rare. While one person for every million people in the US will be diagnosed with mesothelioma, about 7-13 men who have been exposed to asbestos will be diagnosed with the disease. Symptoms frequently take 20 years to develop, but can take as long as 50 years to occur.
When cancerous cells invade the mesothelium, it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe. In the pleural form of mesothelioma, tumors growing in the mesothelium cause pleural effusions, which prevent the smooth movement of the lungs and other organs in the chest. Peritoneal mesothelioma invades the abdominal cavity and can cause loss of appetite weight loss, nausea and vomiting. Most patients seek medical care after having symptoms only 4-6 months.
Aggressive Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer. Because it takes so long for symptoms to appear it can spread to the other organs in the chest, the chest wall and into the lymph nodes. The cancerous cells spread, or metastasize from the mesothelium into other parts of the body and damage internal tissues and organs. Treatment is more effective when the disease is detected early.
Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment
Treatment is aimed at reducing the size of tumors, and relieving symptoms. Chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery are some of the traditional treatment strategies used to help patients live longer, with fewer symptoms. New advances in photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy give hope for prolonging the lives of patients with mesothelioma. On average, however, the life expectancy after being diagnosed with mesothelioma is less than one year.