You may have seen ads on TV talking about mesothelioma. Most of the time people just glazer over and dont pay attention because it doesnt really apply to them. However, there are some important things to pay attention to, especially if you are at risk of developing this rare, but deadly, form of cancer. Keep in mind that there are different types of mesothelioma, and those different types affect the body different.
Who is at Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?
The only way that someone can develop mesothelioma is with frequent exposure to asbestos. Without asbestos exposure the chances are so rare that you will develop this form of cancer that the risk is essentially zero. But how frequent is frequent?
Frequent exposure is defined as daily exposure for years on end. This is not caused by the week you spent in your attic tearing out the old insulation (although if you didnt take proper precautions, then you are still at risk, but that risk is rather low). This is caused by working for an employer that subjected you to this dangerous mineral day after day after day.
Chances are that if youre under the age of 50, you have not been exposed to asbestos on the job. Asbestos was banned from construction uses in 1973, and although it is still found in many old buildings, it is becoming rarer and rarer. However, if you worked in one of the trade industries (oil refineries, smelting/metal plants, chemical factories, automobile factories, naval shipyards, and more) at any point during the 20th century, there is a chance you were exposed.
What are the Different Types of Mesothelioma?
Since asbestos exposure occurs when the fibers break apart and become airborne, most of the mesothelioma starts developing in the lungs. But that does not mean it cant develop elsewhere. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelial cells; these cells line the organs of the body.
Pleural Mesothelioma Mesothelioma that affects the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma. This form affects the mesothelial cells that line the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include a dry persistent cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Many people mistake these symptoms for bronchitis or the flu.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Mesothelial cells that line the majority of the organs in the body are called peritoneal cells. The cancer can spread to those areas quickly, and cause lumps in the abdomen, abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements, and nausea.
Pericardial Mesothelioma The cells that line the heart are called pericardial cells. This is the rarest form of mesothelioma, but it is just as deadly as the others. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart arrhythmia.
Know the Risks and Symptoms
If you worked in a manual labor position during the 20th century, you may be at risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer due to asbestos exposure. Knowing if you are at risk is the first step, the second is to know the symptoms. If you experience any of the symptoms of mesothelioma, it is a good idea to get checked out. The silver lining is that there are trusts established for those who have developed mesothelioma, and you can be compensated for your medical expenses and other damages.