Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been used by a lot of companies to produce all kinds of things. It’s useful because asbestos is naturally fire retardant, and will not be easily damaged by electricity and chemical products. As Asbestos displays these unique properties, and is rugged, flexible, and relatively easy to work with, a huge number of building materials, from ceiling tiles to insulation were manufactured using asbestos for many years.
The problem? It turns out that if people are exposed to asbestos either very frequently (as with someone manufacturing or working with asbestos products every day) or over a long time (as with someone living in a house built with asbestos containing materials), it is not good for the health.
What is Mesothelioma?Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused from prolonged exposure to asbestos. It is naturally very rare, but the proliferation of asbestos mining and use, it has become quite common. Since manufacturing processes and manufactured products are the source of this cancer-causing asbestos, many sufferers sue the mining companies and manufacturing companies for failing to protect them from asbestos exposure.
The most common symptoms of mesothelioma are a constant cough, general respiratory discomfort, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are the same as those of asbestosis (which is another form of illness caused by exposure to asbestos) but these two illnesses are actually not the same. With mesothelioma, cancer cells have already produced at a rapid and abnormal pace and are beginning to wreak havoc inside the body. Asbestosis can lead to mesothelioma if it is not treated immediately.
How is it diagnosed?Mesothelioma is diagnosed through X-ray, physical check up, and biopsy. The initial step is to have a chest X-ray before you go to the doctor so that you will have something for him to look at aside from the initial check-up. If the X-ray seems to indicate significant scarring or possible cancer, a biopsy is performed.
The biopsy is usually performed in the hospital, using a special needle to remove some of the questionable tissue for testing and examination. These test results will either rule out or confirm the presence of cancer. Make sure you have an annual check-up and exam, especially if you have been exposed to asbestos earlier in life.
PreventionPrevention is always better than cure which is why it is important to know how to prevent mesothelioma. First, avoid purchasing products with asbestos. Nowadays it’s very rare to be able to purchase products containing the mineral, but particularly if you’re considering older of antique items, take care. Industry does still use asbestos with some frequency.
If you are working in facilities that use asbestos, make sure that you wear your protective gear such as a well-fitting face mask and gloves. Also make sure to cover any wounds that you may have so that asbestos will not penetrate your skin. As asbestos and Mesothelioma Cancer are linked, avoiding exposure to asbestos is a must for Mesothelioma prevention.