Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly type of cancer that is primarily brought on by asbestos fiber exposure. The long latency period as well as the frequently fatal outcome of this severe disease make prevention essential to lowering its rate. In this post, we’ll examine mesothelioma, its causes, and ways to avoid developing this dangerous health condition. The knowledge of how to prevent mesothelioma will go a very long way in reducing the number of people contracting this disease from time to time.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that primarily affects the lining of the lungs, although it can also affect the lining of the abdomen, heart, or testicles. It is brought on by asbestos exposure, a mineral fiber that is frequently found in building supplies, insulation, and other industrial goods.
Asbestos fibers can lodge in the lining of organs after being inhaled or consumed, producing inflammation and genetic damage that may later result in the development of mesothelioma years or even decades later.
Types of Mesothelioma
Here are some of the main types of mesothelioma:
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, accounting for approximately 75% of all cases. The pleura, or lining of the lungs, is where it grows. Chest pain, a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and weight loss are symptoms. Pleural mesothelioma can spread to neighboring organs and lymph nodes since it is so close to the lungs.
The peritoneum, also known as the lining of the abdomen, is affected by peritoneal mesothelioma. About 20% of cases of mesothelioma are caused by it. Abdominal pain, swelling, nausea, weight loss, and changes in bowel habits are typical symptoms. Due to existing therapies, including cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), peritoneal mesothelioma has a better prognosis than other kinds.
Less than 1% of occurrences of mesothelioma occur in the pericardial cavity, making it the most uncommon type. It forms in the pericardium, the lining that surrounds the heart. Chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, tiredness, breathing difficulties, and a cough are possible symptoms. The fragile structure of the heart makes pericardial mesothelioma diagnosis difficult, and treatment choices are limited.
Testicular mesothelioma is extremely rare and accounts for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases. It affects the lining of the testicles. Common symptoms include testicular lumps or swelling, pain, and hydrocele (an accumulation of fluid around the testicle). Surgical removal of the affected testicle is the most common treatment option for testicular mesothelioma.
Causes of Mesothelioma
When asbestos fibers are breathed in or consumed, they can get stuck in the lining of the heart, abdomen, or lungs. This causes tissue damage, persistent inflammation, and the onset of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma’s main causes include:
A higher risk of asbestos exposure and, hence, a higher risk of developing mesothelioma exists for workers in certain areas, including construction, shipbuilding, asbestos mining and production, insulation installation, and automotive repair.
Exposure to the Environment
People who live close to asbestos mines or industries, as well as those who are exposed to asbestos-containing materials during earthquakes, hurricanes, or repairs of existing structures, may also be at risk.
Asbestos fibers carried on work clothing, skin, or hair can expose family members of asbestos-exposed employees unknowingly. Mesothelioma can develop as a result of this, even in people who have never worked directly with asbestos.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
The kind and stage of the disease can affect the symptoms of mesothelioma, an uncommon form of cancer. Common symptoms may include shortness of breath.
- Persistent cough
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Fatigue or weakness
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling or lumps in the abdomen
- Night sweats
- Muscle weakness
How to Prevent Mesothelioma
Let’s take a look at some key strategies on how to prevent mesothelioma and protect your well-being:
Recognize Asbestos and Avoid it
Older structures, insulating materials, and some industrial items often contain asbestos. To prevent exposure, it is important to identify potential asbestos-containing items. For proper testing and removal of asbestos in your home or place of employment, consult professionals. Asbestos-containing items should never be handled or disturbed on your own since this might cause dangerous fibers to be released into the air.
Follow Occupational Safety Guidelines
Follow strict safety procedures if you operate in a field where asbestos exposure concerns exist, such as building or manufacturing. Employers should offer thorough training on handling asbestos, supply suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), and routinely check the workplace for asbestos exposure. The danger of asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, can be reduced by following safety regulations and procedures.
Promote Awareness and Education
To prevent asbestos exposure, it is essential to raise awareness of the risks. Learn about the dangers of asbestos exposure, such as the connection to mesothelioma, for both yourself and others. You may aid in the prevention of the use of this hazardous chemical in a variety of industries by spreading information and advocating for tougher limits on asbestos use.
Continue to Live Healthily
A healthy lifestyle can significantly lower your risk of developing cancer, including mesothelioma. Concentrate on the following elements:
Smoking impairs lung health and may worsen the negative effects of asbestos exposure. Quitting smoking is essential if you want to reduce your risk of getting mesothelioma.
Consume a Healthy Diet
Your immune system will be strengthened and your body will be better able to fend off potential carcinogens if you eat a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, complete grains, and lean proteins. To improve your general health, include meals high in antioxidants like berries, leafy greens, and almonds.
Participate in Regular Exercise
Maintaining a healthy weight and strengthening your immune system through regular exercise lowers your risk of developing various cancers. Aim for 75 minutes of strenuous activity or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.
Put Personal Protective Equipment First
Wear the proper PPE, such as masks, gloves, and protective clothes, whenever working in an occupation where exposure to asbestos or other hazardous materials could occur. This will help reduce your risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Mesothelioma Be Treated?
Although mesothelioma cannot be cured, it can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted medicines. The stage and location of the cancer, among other things, affect the therapy option.
Can Mesothelioma Be Prevented?
Avoiding asbestos exposure is the main preventative approach. It is critical to follow safety procedures and wear protective gear in workplaces where asbestos may be present.
How Soon After Asbestos Exposure Does Mesothelioma Start to Develop?
Mesothelioma has a 20–50-year latency period, which means that symptoms may not appear for decades after asbestos exposure.
Asbestos exposure is the main cause of the uncommon and aggressive cancer known as mesothelioma. Its symptoms can appear decades after exposure, and it damages the lining of the heart, abdomen, or lungs. Due to its late discovery and restricted treatment choices, mesothelioma poses substantial problems in terms of diagnosis and treatment.
Despite improvements in research and medical treatment, mesothelioma still has a dismal prognosis and a relatively low survival rate. In order to manage this disease, prevention and early detection are essential. To address the continued effects of mesothelioma on public health, efforts must be made to increase awareness, advance safety standards, and assist those who have been affected.
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