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Home > Mesothelioma cancer > Risk factors of mesothelioma

Risk factors of mesothelioma

Main risk factors for mesothelioma cancer are tobacco smoking and asbestos.

Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest diseases known to man; the average life span of an inflicted person from the time of diagnosis until death is less than 24 months. Itís a disease that strikes approximately 3,000 United States citizens each and every year.

The most common way in which people are exposed to asbestos is through their work. There are a number of jobs in which exposure to asbestos may have occurred. Asbestos has been extensively used in industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation as well as shipbuilding and other forms of construction.

The risk of developing Mesothelioma increases according to the length and level of exposure to asbestos. Numerous cases of malignant mesothelioma occurred among people with very little occupational or household exposure. There are cases of people getting malignant mesothelioma 30 or 40 years after a summer job working construction, and housewives or children being exposed from work clothing.

Prior to the mid-1970's, most insulation materials contained asbestos. Many other construction materials also contained asbestos, including pipe insulation; boiler insulation; fireproofing spray; firebrick and gunnite (used for internal insulation of furnaces and boilers); roof, floor and ceiling tiles; transite siding; and automotive brakes and clutches.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. For example, exposure to sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer and a high-fat, low-fiber diet is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Several risk factors make a person more likely to develop Mesothelioma.

Tobacco Smoking: By far the most important risk factor is tobacco smoking. More than 80% of Mesotheliomas are thought to result from smoking. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs per day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before a cancer develops, the damaged lung tissue starts to gradually return to normal. Even after ten years, the ex-smoker's risk still does not equal the lower risk of a person who never smoked. However, an ex-smoker's risk is about half the risk of people who continue to smoke.

Asbestos: Death from Mesothelioma is about seven times more likely to occur among asbestos workers than among the general population. Exposure to asbestos fibers is an important risk factor for Mesothelioma. Asbestos workers who smoke have a very high Mesothelioma risk: 50 to 90 times greater than that of people in general. This cancer is called mesothelioma.

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