Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, asbestos-related cancer that forms on the thin protective tissues that cover the lungs and abdomen. A combined approach to treatment is helping people improve their survival and ease symptoms.
Did you know that doctors diagnose an estimated 3,000 cases of mesothelioma annually in the U.S.? The majority of those are traced to job-related exposures to asbestos. Most people have the pleural type, which forms on the lining of the lungs, but the cancer can also form around the lining of the abdomen or heart.
Although asbestos use in this country has dropped in recent decades, a steady number of people are still getting mesothelioma. That’s because this cancer can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure before symptoms appear, and an oncologist can make a definitive diagnosis.
While there’s no cure for mesothelioma and the outlook is generally poor, researchers have made significant progress in understanding the cancer and developing new treatment options and alternative therapies.
Factors that Increase the Risk of Mesothelioma:
These factors are courtesy of Asbestos.com.
Working at an asbestos mine or asbestos processing plant
Working in a high-risk occupational setting, such as the construction or automotive industries
Disturbing asbestos products during a home renovation without proper safety measures
Aside from risk factors associated with asbestos, exposure to minerals with similar properties to asbestos, a person’s age, gender, other elements may increase the likelihood of developing the disease.