When a doctor delivers the difficult news of a serious health problem, it’s natural to have many questions. Often, people ask “Why?” and “How?” This can be especially true for those diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer that is both aggressive and preventable. Here, learn more about some of the major risk factors for mesothelioma.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the soft tissue of the lungs, abdomen, or lining of the heart cavity. It can cause pain, weight loss, unusual lumps, difficulty breathing, and more. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma, and many who are diagnosed face a poor prognosis. Treatment options can attempt to alleviate some symptoms and include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Mesothelioma Is Caused by Exposure to Asbestos
The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral that was once widely used in a variety of manufacturing processes. Today, its use is strictly regulated, but for many years, it could be found everywhere from factories to schools to our own homes. Some of the most common risks for asbestos exposure include:
- Military work. For nearly 70 years, asbestos was used in nearly every branch of the military, especially on ships and aircraft.
- Occupation. Certain jobs are heavily related to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Workers in nearly every trade, the military, and many factories were exposed over the last 70 years. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both now regulate and monitor on-the-job exposure.
- Household products. Asbestos could be found in common household products for many years. Paint, curtains, hair dryers, insulations, ceiling tiles, floors, and more could contain asbestos fibers that, when disturbed, can enter the lungs.
- Environment. Asbestos has been released into the air through mining and other industrial processes. Natural disasters can also cause asbestos to be released from damaged homes or other buildings.
Additionally, it is possible to experience secondary exposure if you live with someone who has been exposed to asbestos. The asbestos fibers can cling to clothing, skin, and hair and be shed at home in the air, on furniture, in the laundry, or by contact. In one study, asbestos dust was found in the homes of factory workers for as long as 20 years after the business had closed.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma—even if you aren’t certain where you were exposed to asbestos—you may be eligible to file a legal claim. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and you’ll receive a prompt response from a member of the legal team at Shannon Law Group, P.C. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.