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Mesothelioma is a very dangerous disease. It has some mesothelioma causes.
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a combination of several minerals held together by silky strands of fibers. These fireproof fibers do not burn, and do not conduct heat or electricity. Because asbestos does not conduct heat well and is resistant to melting or burning, asbestos was used widely in all types of construction products up to the mid-1970s. Other products made with asbestos, such as insulation materials and automotive clutches and brakes, were designed principally to contain heat and sound.
Researchers know that there can be an incredibly long time lag between exposure to asbestos and developing mesothelioma. It can be 40 years or more. This probably meant that it took longer to spot the connection between asbestos and cancer than it otherwise would. But we know now, and the use of asbestos in many countries is now illegal.
There has been talk for the past few years about a link between a virus called the simian virus (SV40) and developing mesothelioma. Some polio vaccine preparations were contaminated with SV40 between 1955 and 1963 and doctors were concerned that people who'd had them may be at increased risk. One large study has indicated that these people are not at an increased risk of mesothelioma or other types of cancers. The study was published in 2003 and found that mesothelioma rates were actually falling in this group of people. The link between SV40 and mesothelioma (if there is one) is likely to be much less important that the link with asbestos.
This could explain why some people are exposed to asbestos and do not develop mesothelioma, while others who are exposed do. There is a lot more research to be done before we will know if there are specific gene changes that can increase your risk of mesothelioma. It will be some years after this has been completed before there will be any chance of testing for such a gene.
Although malignant mesothelioma causes have thus far only been linked with asbestos exposure, medical researchers have not yet discounted the possibility that the disease could be caused by a number of factors. As it is, all the evidence that has been compiled relating to all known mesothelioma cases has pointed towards asbestos as the only causative factor. Any discussion of mesothelioma causes has therefore been limited to asbestos exposure.
Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. But smoking along with asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer. An increased risk of developing mesothelioma was found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other trades people.
Because inhalation and ingestion of asbestos are the primary causes of mesothelioma, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set permissible exposure limits on the amount of asbestos that an employee can be exposed to in the workplace. Employee exposure to asbestos cannot exceed 0.1 fiber per cubic meter of space averaged over an eight hour work day or 1 fiber per cubic meter in any thirty minute period.
Some work environments are required to conduct daily monitoring of asbestos levels to prevent the causes of mesothelioma. Protective gear, adequate ventilation, and respiratory equipment must also be supplied by employers to prevent the causes of mesothelioma from harming workers. Even with these precautions, as many as 1.3 million construction workers alone are exposed to the causes of mesothelioma every year.
Mesothelioma kills ten thousand people every year. At least two to three thousand people are diagnosed with mesothelioma annually. Mesothelioma can remain dormant in the body for up to forty years. Once diagnosed, the prognosis for mesothelioma victims is bleak. The average survival time following diagnosis is ten months to a little over a year.
When a victim does exhibit the symptoms of mesothelioma, these symtoms can develop rapidly. The symptoms of asbestos inhalation causes of mesothelioma attack the plural lining in the chest cavity and can include: chest pain, chronic cough, difficulty breathing because of fluid accumulation, fever, and weight loss. The symptoms of asbestos ingestion causes of mesothelioma bombard the organs of the stomach and can include: stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and bowel problems, weight loss, swelling of the feet, anemia, fever, and fluid build up in the abdominal region.
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